In the 1700s, a hot air balloon was a strange and potentially worrisome sight, especially because pilots often landed in unsuspecting civilians’ backyards. To build goodwill with anyone they scared, balloon pilots carried a bottle of champagne on every flight. This tradition of the convivial champagne toast still lives on at Adventure Balloon Sports, where, after each landing, the company’s FAA-certified pilots pour a celebratory glass of bubbly for each passenger.
But before the toast, the adventure begins as flights soar skyward, showcasing Colorado’s rugged terrain and the majestic sprawl of the Rocky Mountains. No two flights are the same—after departing, pilots can only fully control the balloon’s vertical motion, meaning balloons often safely land in neighboring towns, rather than in the local hot air balloon parking lot.
On the shores of the Boulder Reservoir, Rocky Mountain Paddleboard's staff outfits visitors with all the stuff they need to explore placid and picturesque waters. Promising to get clients out on the water within just five minutes of their arrival, a quick rundown of safety and proper technique prepares paddlers of all ages and experience levels for paddling on easy-to-balance boards. Classes are also available for those seeking a more immersive experience, or those who'd like to take their yoga practice to the next level.
Sisters Rachel and Amy Taylor have done a lot of things together. They both fell in love with ballet at a young age and both achieved impressive hallmarks in their careers as dancers—Rachel danced for the David Taylor Dance Theatre and taught at the Alvin Ailey School, and Amy studied at Juilliard and danced for the Garden State Ballet. Eventually, they both wound up studying Pilates at the original Pilates Studio, taught by Joseph Pilates' heir Romana Kryzanowska. Now, they engage on another co-sisterly journey with The Pilates Center, where they impart the exercises they learned to new generations of Pilates practitioners.
Instructors utilize both classic mat work and reformer machines to introduce beginners to the art of Pilates. The studio encourages as many of it students as possible to strive for instructor certification, as that often sets people on a lifelong quest for health and empowers them to speak in a haughty German accent.
Dance-fitness sessions at Boulder Zumba take place on a 2,700-square-foot dance floor with wall-to-wall mirrors and two instructors, ensuring that all participants have a clear view of the dance steps. Classes include the signature high-energy Zumba dance workout, as well as Zumba Toning and Zumba Gold, a lower-impact class designed for older, active adults. No matter the class, a soundtrack of Latin rhythms propels workouts, as energetic instructors try to prove that exercise can be a party rather than a routine.
Ricky Montanari keeps his workout goals posted on his website, a reminder to his clients that a teacher should also strive for improvement. Among other personal missions, he hopes to back-squat more than 505 pounds, dunk a basketball, and read 40 books. Obviously, his students' goals might be different—maybe they want to lose weight, or simply learn how to properly deadlift a barbell. Regardless, Ricky eagerly adjusts the intensity of his program to suit their needs. As a certified personal trainer and CrossFit coach, he utilizes weightlifting, interval training, and gymnastics techniques during his classes. Guests can expect to heft kettlebells and perform bodyweight exercises as they sweat through his routines, which are meant to safely challenge and reset their individual limits.
It's an old maxim that the best way to become a good skier or snowboarder is to start early in life, and go often. Shredder Ski & Snowboard Gym takes it one step further: practice even when there isn't snow on the ground. The gym's ski instructors invite youngsters to strap on their ski or snowboard boots and plow down the carpeted indoor slope, available even when the resorts are closed or snowy roofs are still littered with Christmas decorations. As kids learn fundamentals and conquer the oft-frustrating early learning curve, the budding denizens of the black diamond build healthy traits such as endurance, balance, and strength. Kids up to 12 years old participate in a variety of programs from private lessons to summer camps, while parents can join in the action at Yeti School, structured for kids age 10 months to 3 years.