The mountain-savvy staff at Apex Ex equip people of all skill levels with the knowledge, gear, and plans necessary to explore the wilderness all year round. Seasoned guides and instructors, many of whom are trained by organizations such as the National Outdoor Leadership School and the American Mountain Guides Association, lead classes that teach students important lessons ranging from backcountry snow basics to avalanche rescue. They also lead extreme excursions, such as heliskiing, which drops gliders in the untouched powder at the tips of the Rockies for a day of daring athleticism and exclusive interviews with clouds. In summer months, the experts lead guided climbing and backpacking trips and teach riders to careen down rocky paths of every sort during mountain-biking lessons.
Accredited by the American Mountain Guides Association, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides orchestrates mountain ascents, desert adventures, and ice climbs throughout the western United States. Since its founding in Grand Teton National Park in 1968, the outfit has expanded to include branches in Montana's Beartooths; Moab, Utah; Idaho's City of Rocks; and Boulder, Colorado. At each outpost, experienced guides share an appreciation for the backcountry, a respect for the environment, and a desire to pass on their techniques to new groups of adventurers. Students can learn from their expertise during a variety of classes customized to their skills and ultimate desires, whether they want to prepare for a guided journey through the wilderness or reach a mountain summit solo to taste a variety of cloud flavors.
Anya McManis's art has been featured in galleries and shows from Colorado to Europe—with recent honors including a spot in the 2011 Florence Biennale—and her graphic-design company has won awards since its inception. But her most lasting piece of work is Spellbound Art. Half gallery and half school, Spellbound hosts exhibitions of up and coming local artists and grants guests the chance to explore the art and expression that hides within. Anya’s workshops delve into diverse media ranging from poetry and collage to painting and interpretive salad-making, and open-studio sessions let artists take a stab at painting or mixed media with provided materials.
Breckenridge Bikebus's eponymous vehicle is, according to owner Curt Cavnar, the "Porsche" of its unique kind of transportation. Consisting of two rows of bar stools equipped with bike pedals, the custom-built craft combines the fun of a party bus with the easygoing workout of a tandem bicycle. Some partiers can sit back and enjoy the ride as 10 others sit at the bar and provide pedal power, with a staff driver manning the wheel to steer clear of oncoming paper boys. A canopy keeps passengers shaded while they sip beverages and listen to tunes on an iPod-ready Alpine sound system. Should the sun go down during trips, the bikebus's lighting system kicks on, making it easy to continue through black holes unencumbered.
Inspired by the idea that creativity should be not only about expression but also about having fun in the process, the staff at Whimsy Paint and Sip Art Studio shows groups how to make colorful works of art with easy-to-follow steps. Layering colorful paints on canvases provided by the studio, students build compositions ranging from re-creations of modern masterpieces to landscapes and still lifes. During painting events, guests can sip on signature martinis mixed behind the 40-foot stainless-steel bar or a variety of Colorado wines available by the glass or bottle. Beyond the weekly events, the staff maintains a selection of canvases and frames in their boutique and also hosts birthday parties where children have fun playing with paint and parents can figure out if the tuition to that preschool of the arts is paying off.