For a brotherhood of Utah daredevils, soaring 5,500 feet above breathtaking mountains, defying death to hang off the skids of a helicopter before jumping back to Earth, is just another day at the office.
Four friends -- Neil Amonson, JT Holmes, Marshall Miller and Jesse Hall -- are known together as the "GoPro Bomb Squad."
Since 2008, they have made a living from using GoPro cameras to capture their stomach-dropping jumps and stunts, free-falling from thousands of feet above the ground -- what they consider sheer bliss.
|"We would be daydreaming about this if we weren't doing it and there's something that feels really good to take that idea and then make it into a reality."|
"Sometimes, just up in the helicopter, you want to pinch yourself," Hall said. "We're actually doing this again, this is happening again, this is regular. This is what we do, it's crazy."
What these guys get to do started off as a longshot dream.
They saved money to travel, went sky-diving and Base-jumping off cliffs along the way, when Miller decided they should all approach popular mini-camera maker GoPro to pay them to be career daredevils.
"We were really capturing some incredible images of human flight and people falling off cliffs, and that was something they had never seen at the time," Miller said.
Miller's pitch to GoPro worked, and now the group has an office set up in Morgan, Utah, where they train for jumps.
Before going up, the guys, dress in wind suits, test their gear and make sure the cameras are in place. They use a wind meter and a smoke grenade to help them see the direction of the wind -- goggles are a must.
"We're going to be going pretty fast, over 100 miles an hour, so you need some eye protection so your eyes aren't watering," Hall said.
The four won't say how much GoPro pays them to turn their wild adventures into video gold, but now they trek the globe Base-jumping from Eiger ridge in the Swiss Alps, speed-flying through Alaska, performing at the X-Games in Brazil and wowing crowds with their amazing feats and unbelievable precision -- such as landing on the 50-yard at a Raiders game.
"[It's] pretty exciting," Hall said. "We started gradually and just talked about building the team and kind of just going for it. You know, we had to just leave our other jobs behind and take the plunge."
Before they were able to write their own destiny, the band of buddies were on completely different career paths. Hall used to work in the catering business and drive cabs to make ends meet.
"I'm a lot happier," he said.
Amonson is a former U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11.
"When you go to the military when you're young you miss out on your youth a little bit because you have to grow up so quick," he said. "So wanted to take a couple steps backward and do something where I had a little more free time to explore my own life and see where those adventures went."
Holmes is a professional skiing superstar, having hit the slopes since he was a teenager.
"For me, life experience, investing in life experience tends to be investing in a career, so I would dip into savings in the slow years," he said.
And finally, there's Miller, a father of two -- Parker and Karmen -- and a former real estate developer.
"I wasn't passionate about [my old job]," he said. "Passion is the big word. I did it because that's what you did. You go to college, you get a job, whatever, and so now its ... yeah I'm excited to go to work."
Miller's wife, Nicole Miller, said that it had taken time for her to adjust to her husband's new job, and that she had been worried about it at first.
"He used to golf," Nicole said. "So this is a little different for sure."
With their kids getting older, Nicole said her husband's career change had made him a better father.
"Before it was harder to find that balance of 'I want to work, but I need time by myself, but I have a family, but I have this,' so it's a little bit easier, him doing what he loves, and being present when he's home," she said.
Even with thousands of jumps among the GoPro Bomb Squad men under their belts, the thrill never gets old.
"We would be daydreaming about this if we weren't doing it and there's something that feels really good to take that idea and then make it into a reality," Miller said.
And while they look like a group of adrenaline junkies, they say the real rush comes when they can connect with the crowds.
"We don't want to just put on a show. We want to inspire people not just to go skydive ? to do that thing that they're scared of," Miller said.
"Chase what you don't know," he said. "Do what excites you. You're definitely going to find success in things that you're truly passionate about."