From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 22, more than 100 local and indie vendors will crowd Last Chance Craft Fair, selling handmade crafts amid seasonal festivities at the Croatian Cultural Center. Last-minute buyers can browse seemingly endless rows of vendors showcasing jewelry, housewares, children’s items, and clothing.
To FlyBC Paragliding’s founder, Jim Reich, paragliding represents freedom. Not only does it free riders from the restrictions of gravity, it liberates them from the typical inconveniences of flight, such as expensive airplane fuel and restrictive air traffic regulations. Through Reich’s school, he now teaches newbies the sport, as well as other aerial arts such as hang gliding, paramotoring, and flapping your arms until you sort of levitate.
Reich and his instructors, all trained and certified by the Hanggliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, base their training and recreational flights out of a 25-acre training facility. Dubbed Eagle Ranch, the facility features an on-site hill and is nestled between two rivers. Beyond training, the school can outfit students in gear from brands such as Ozone, SkyCountry, and Gin, or lead them on paragliding trips that journey to scenic locales in Mexico.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating and tumbling down a total of nine rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
Born in Victoria, John Chau grew up fishing for salmon in the Sooke area. Thirty years since he hooked his first fish, Chau now shares his expertise with fellow anglers through guided charters on his 25-foot Pursuit Cuddy boat. During the spring and summer, Chau’s clients hook chinook salmon anywhere between 15 and 50 pounds. Autumn brings coho salmon, and in the winter, feisty feeder chinook weighing between 4 and 12 pounds roam waters just minutes from the dock.
The Sooke area is typically calm year-round due to the lack of ground swell, and its teeming waters attract wildlife such as bald eagles, sea lions, and killer whales eager to gain a better reputation among fishermen.
In the perfect world, Aron Delucry would start his day with snowboarding in the morning, followed by an afternoon of wakeboarding and wakesurfing. At Rider Watersports, he and a team of veteran instructors can at least emulate this dream afternoon, towing water-sport enthusiasts across Green Lake behind a Super Air Nautique 210, a boat outfitted with more than 1,000 pounds of water ballast and a GPS. For newbie wakeboarders and wakesurfers, the team also offers introductory sessions, which cover the basics of boat safety, stance, board control, and how to politely ask seagulls to go fetch your sunglasses.
Great West Fitness & Tennis Club helps its members get or stay in shape with cardio and weight training equipment, a slate of group classes, and both indoor and outdoor tennis facilities. Divided into ladies-only and coed sections, the gym provides options both for the solo exerciser and for those who prefer to bond over mutual sweatiness. The former can build or tone muscles using the club's weightlifting machines and free weights or gaze at mountain vistas through extralarge windows while they trot in place on a bank of treadmills. Classes, led by Great West's certified trainers and instructors, include yoga, boot-camp, Latin-flavoured Zumba, and cycle classes designed to strengthen midsections and enhance apple-slicing skills. You can receive a free fitness assessment administered by a personal trainer or relax in an infrared sauna with complimentary towel service.