To create Peak Experiences, the dedicated staff sets more than 125 top-rope routes, lead climbs, and bouldering problems for climbers of all skill levels. Five levels of classes and safety training spanning basic problems such as climbing a bunk bed to lead climbing a 50-foot wall prepare climbers to conquer any of these problems, and the gym also outfits its members with an onsite gear shop that stocks harnesses, footwear, and belay devices such as grigris or ATCs. Kids can also learn climbing skills during youth programs that invite children aged 5–18 and young rocks aged 3,000,000–4,500,000 to climb together with camps, teams, and trips.
Spreading the game of golf since 1904, the Virginia State Golf Association’s VIP card program grants duffers access to more than 200 courses for the duration of 2011. At each participating club, VIP-card bearers simply pay the cart-rental fee (up to $26 per round) to traverse emerald alleyways on a cross-state quest for hard-won birdies, elusive holes in one, and the secret flagstick leading to Space Jam’s space-time continuum. Along with access to an array of golf-friendly grassy monoliths, VIPs also receive a VSGA eClub membership, with which they can post scores to track their Handicap Index, participate in remaining 2011 VSGA One-Day events, and receive the Nov/Dec issue of Virginia Golfer magazine while charting their mercurial rise to the rarefied status of scratch golfer. Like your prized collection of artisan cheeses, the VIP card expires at the end of the year.
Standup paddle boarding instructor Sutton Knight brings to the upper James River decades of wave riding experience gathered on beaches all over the world, from Oahu to the Outer Banks. His company, East Coast Board Sports, is stationed at Robious Landing, where he introduces novices to the sport and sends them skimming across the river—ideal for beginners due to its calm, flat waters and lack of shark fins to trip over. Sutton's passion and his squad of certified and licensed instructors make each lesson exciting. They teach the basics of the sport, covering maneuvers such as launching and turning. If the group should desire, lessons can incorporate a guided tour of the James River and a race to the 288 bridge, or leave time for leisurely paddling.
Ultimate Karate Academy equips its students with the tools to overcome mental and physical challenges, whether those challenges arise inside the classroom or outside the academy’s walls. With classes and programs for groups as young as preschool age, the academy teaches American freestyle karate and aims to instill confidence and discipline in each of its pupils. As a diversion from standard martial arts, the academy also offers a cardio kickboxing class at least once per week.
Since 1988, Midlothian Athletic Club has dedicated its 70,000 square feet to myriad forms of achieving healthy living. Whether members want to hone tennis and racquetball skills, break a sweat in group exercise classes such as spinning and BodyPump, or relax in a sauna, they can do it at the MAC. The staff troll a stock of cardio and strength-training equipment, including FreeMotion Elite weight machines, Life Fitness treadmills and ellipticals, and Precor machines, ready to dole out technique pointers. At the indoor pool, swimmers can get a workout on the lap lanes, slip down water slides, or pretend to be toddlers in the kiddie pool. The club also has six indoor lanes, where instructors lead water-aerobics classes that are gentler on joints than moon aerobics.
To help guests recover after a hard workout, the Midlothian Athletic Club hosts many means of relaxation. The massage therapists calibrate their fingers to several styles of kneading, including deep-tissue, Swedish, and myofascial release massage. At the MAC Cafe, chefs sear turkey burgers, bake lime-chili parmesan fries, and blend protein shakes to order for nutritious refueling.
After a knee injury made traditional workouts impossible for her, Sandi Cauley revisited her childhood dance training. As a kid, she danced ballet folklorico, but as an adult she tapped into a more modern tradition—street dance. Cauley now helms Dance Trance Richmond, based out of Rigby’s Jig studio. In classes designed for participants of all skill levels, Cauley and a team of five instructors teach students hip new moves in a program based on the Dance Trance concept.
Originated by Jay Handline, Dance Trance centers on modern, calorie-burning dance workouts. In advanced classes, students mimic their instructors’ movements, picking up dynamic choreography by doing it themselves instead of relying on verbal direction. Beginners, meanwhile, can opt for classes that use spoken instruction and a slower pace, such as Dance Trance Breakdown sessions, which introduce new routines methodically.