John Gustafson began skating at 5 years old, rolling along on squeaky wheels that would carry him toward a lifetime of high-speed competition. At 25, he became a professional skater, winning national championships in both speed skating and figure skating before settling down as the owner of Auburn Skate Connection. His love of skating hasn’t dimmed, though; even with his 69th birthday approaching, John continues to lace up his skates each day to gain an extra 2 inches of height and guide students in the sport he knows so well.
Alongside instructors that he himself recruited, John teaches the art of effortless rolling during private lessons on the rink’s solid-wood skating surface. The team imbues students with the intricacies of quad and inline skating while also focusing on the fundamentals of racing. Their dedication has borne some notable fruit. Olympic gold-medalist Apolo Ohno took his first glides at Auburn, working with John for three years before moving on to his life of ice-based glory.
Rebecca Duty, Tahoma Athletic Club's gym designer, drew from her 15-year career in the fitness industry to engineer the ideal gym. She brought in TechnoGym cardio equipment—including treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, and steppers—then filled the cycle studios with Star Trac stationary bikes. She picked out Paramount plate-loaded equipment, Hammer Strength training machines, and Iron Grip free weights. Duty calibrated everything with convenience in mind, down to the video-monitored childcare area. Since a TV perches on every piece of cardio equipment, parents can readily tune in and watch their tots between episodes of Suddenly Susan.
In addition to leading personal-training sessions, Tahoma Athletic Club's instructors lead group exercise classes such as TRX Suspension Training and yoga. Guests can also bronze in the Maple Valley location's SunMaster tanning beds or Lakeland's Montego Bay standup units.
Vision Quest Sport and Fitness promotes a five-pronged approach to fitness, covering cardiovascular, progressive resistance, proper diet, supplementation, and personal training. Like any decent clock factory, the clubs are open 24 hours a day, and each keeps its own schedule primed with group classes such as boxing, yoga, spinning, and hip-hop fitness. Body Sculpt sessions fashion forms with weights and bands, and Total Body Conditioning uses lighter weights and higher repetitions to create lean, mean muscle mass.
Members take part in complimentary wellness seminars from fitness experts to fine-tune their bodies, and teams of affiliated massage therapists, chiropractors, and nutrition gurus save skeletons and muscles from harmful injury.
At Iron Horse Casino, chips clack down on the green felt tables as joyful tension builds over big poker hands and the adrenaline-infused table games unfolding throughout the casino. The onsite restaurant keeps bellies fed with a hearty menu of American fare, serving up breakfast meals all day long. Patrons can cure parched throats hoarse from cheering over a big win with cocktails, beer, and wine, and live entertainers may or may not infuse their routines with subliminal messages on how to always win at roulette.
At the age of 9, Bonnie Morris began a lifelong relationship with horses. By age 10, she was the proud guardian of her own colt and at 22, she set the wheels in motion to open her own training center. Today at Morris's Shadow Mountain Stables, she and her staff continue to bond riders and steeds within a five-acre haven that's beyond the reaches of the outside world and its persistent chorus of honking bikes. They foster interspecies rapport through various types of instruction, including lessons and summer camps that teach showmanship and horse care. Trail rides mosey through nearby woods, meadows, and grasslands overlooking Mount Rainier. Birthday parties include horseback rides or visits to the petting farm. The petting farm facilitates up-close encounters with fuzzy ferrets, giant bunnies, mini horses, and baby goats as well as the stable's fleet of horses and resident cow, Henry, who also answers to, "Look! A cow!"