AT ONLY 12 years old, Katie Hansen wanted
to sky-dive. But she had to wait six years to
fulfill the minimum-age requirement before
she could put her calling to the test. All it took
was that first jump before graduating high
school to kick off a professional career that has
since expanded to wingsuit BASE jumping
(parachuting from a fixed structure) and
swooping (an advanced discipline of sky div-
ing wherein divers lightly skim the ground
with their feet for a distance before landing).
Hansen, a Costco member, has also become a
well-respected instructor in both sports.
“There is something very innate within
some people that you can take fear and set it
aside. [Fear is] good in the sense that it
keeps you grounded in reality, but it’s not a
productive emotion,” says Hansen, now 30.
Because the communities for these
sports are so small, Hansen reports, it
didn’t take long to catch the attention of
sponsors. “I was just out charging with
friends, and people started to notice,
especially being a female,” she tells The
Connection, noting that very few pros in
these sports are women.
Hansen, who lives in Concord,
California, has sky-dived and BASE
118 ;e Costco Connection MAY 2015
In our digital editions
Click here to watch highlights
of Katie Hansen’s career.
(See page 13 for details.)
COSTCO MEMBER Chris Lubkemann is considered
one of the top authorities on whittling in the world.
With a whittling career spanning nearly half a century, Lubkemann has authored four books on the
subject (a fifth is in the works) and operates a part-time woodshop. His carvings inspire awe among
those who see them.
Woodland creatures and roosters make up the
majority of his work, but this master carver’s projects are diverse. Lubkemann has carved flowers
from toothpicks and has even
gotten his pocketknife involved in
the construction of his tree house.
No project is too big or too small.
The son of two American mis-
sionaries, the whittler spent his
childhood growing up in South
America. “My dad had to build a
lot of stuff, so I inherited all kinds
of little chips of wood and projects
from things he had to build out in the jungles of Peru
and Brazil,” Lubkemann tells The Connection from his
home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “I just was around
tools a lot, so I started messing around with a little
knife and wood when I was probably 6 or 7.”
But it wasn’t until his junior year of college that
he began honing the craft for which he is so well
known. In 1966, a minister taught him how to make
animals from tree branches, and he began carving
and selling them to support himself through college.
“The first rooster I made looked like it got in a horrible
fight and lost, but it was a start,“ he laughs.
These days, Lubkemann annually hosts three
workshops in his home, travels around the country
teaching whittling to people of all ages and spends
seven months of the year in his workshop at the
nearby historical Amish Farm and House in Lancaster
County. There, he talks with tourists about his whit-
tling, answers questions about the Amish (although
he is not Amish) and tends to the farm’s pygmy
goats. To learn more about Lubkemann, visit whit
Carving out a career
and some of his
Katie Hansen (center)
plans to free-fall upside
down with 174 other
people this summer.
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