Tucked away in a grove of towering red and white pine trees, the Character Challenge Course pits teams of patrons against a series of obstacles, fostering confidence, teamwork, and communication skills. A collection of low-ropes activities challenges teams with trust falls, games, and role-playing exercises while remaining a short distance from the ground. High-ropes challenges, meanwhile, soar to heights of up to 35 feet, and include cloud-scraping ladders, wobbly bridges, and the Leap of Faith, in which patrons must scale a 25-foot pole and then leap to a trapeze bar five feet away before lowering themselves earthward. To further facilitate team unity, groups gather after completing each obstacle to discuss how the course's mental and physical trials can be applied to daily struggles in cooperating with others at work or while opening a pickle jar.
Boasting a Gold Standard certification from the American Sailing Association, Northern Breezes Sailing School welcomes tender-footed sailors aboard a fleet of US Coast Guard?inspected boats for safe, exciting lessons. With a host of courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced dread pirates, Northern Breezes acclimates students of all levels with both the practical and nuanced aspects of the art of wind harnessing.
Helmed by ASA instructor-evaluator Captain Thom Burns, the school has awarded more than 5,000 ASA certifications since its inception. Northern Breezes also offers camps for adventurous whippersnappers as well as boat charters and onshore courses on how to read the wind rippling across the water.
Gander Mountain Academy updates its lessons in gun safety, handling, and marksmanship with virtual shooting technology that was once only available to military and law-enforcement agencies. The ladies-only basic fundamentals class gives women a foundation in the mechanics of handguns and how to use them safely. Students start by winnowing down the right type of gun for their needs, be they self-defense, hunting, or reclaiming the garage from infestations of gremlins. Next, instructors with callused trigger fingers explain the safety rules of handguns, compare ammunition options, and demonstrate proper grip, stance, and trigger control.
The culinary maestros at The Cattails Bar & Grill banish hunger cries loitering in bellies throughout the lunch and dinner hours. Midday munchers can wrap mitts around a portable delight such as a Reuben ($7) or jalapeño burger ($8), both served with kettle chips, or can enter the chunky chicken salad to get lost in a garden of golden tenders, fresh veggies, and shredded cheese ($7). Kick off sundown festivities with creamy spinach and artichoke dip ($7), or wistfully pluck away at delicate onion petals to determine if your dining partner loves you or ranch-dressing dipping sauce more ($6). The tender meat of Cattails’ famous barbecue ribs falls off of the bone and into hollow legs ($16 for a half-rack), while bacon-wrapped scallops simultaneously sate lovers of land, sea, and dressing in responsible layers ($18).
Although many of Glacier National Park's roads and campsites are closed during the winter, it’s a fine time to explore the sublime natural scenery without the burden of crowds. The Apgar Visitor Center, located at the park's western entrance, hosts free, ranger-led snowshoe walks on Saturdays and Sundays through March. Dozens of other ski and snowshoe trails are accessible along Going-to-the-Sun Road, a stretch of which remains plowed throughout the winter. To thaw out, travelers can get a hot meal or solicit group hugs from strangers along the main streets of nearby towns Whitefish and Columbia Falls, which are lined with breweries and restaurants.