Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Owner Greg Klein first learned the art of customer service as a child, watching his father found the store that, 37 years later, would continue to bear his name. Greg remembers, "My father would close a sale and say, 'My name is Willi Klein. If you ever have any problems, you find me⎯I'll make it right.' It is still our motto today." This commitment to customer care is passed along to the sales staff at five locations, helping them pair outdoors enthusiasts with name brand gear from Burton, Nordica, Oakley, and Ride Snowboards. Team members take pride in helping boarders and skiers find boots that conform to their feet, a seemingly small detail that can make an enormous difference in staying comfortable on the slopes, performing on halfpipes, and attaining top speed while running off with a friend’s poles.
Ski Chalet proffers the latest in snow-slicing technology with professional in-shop services and top-flight gear. Prep your skis for mountain season with a thorough tune-up, which delights snow gliders with an indulgent stone grind, bevel, and hot-wax treatment before whispering inspirational quotes in their ears and sending them back to the slopes. Lift loafers can peruse skis, boots, bindings, and poles in the pro shop, or they can complete a preexisting mountain-defeating arsenal with protective wear like GoreTex-laced gloves ($64.95) or ear warmers ($30). Newer skiers can count on friendly, helpful service to pair them with appropriate equipment.
Pacers provides a large inventory of running shoes, apparel, and more in its new P Street location. Highly trained employees, who earned a 2009 ABBIE for Best Customer Service, help customers select the proper footwear, taking into account individual fitness levels, previous injuries, running goals, and the results of Pacers' complimentary gait analysis. After the hoof assessment, match needs with fashionable racing boots from brands such as Asics, Saucony, Brooks, and Nike (average price is $100). Runners can show off triple-striped sleeves with an Adidas zip-up top ($65) or wrap themselves in Nike shorts (starting at $28), tops (starting at $25), and pants (starting at $55). To quench runner's thirst or ensure buoyancy after running into a kiddie pool, strap on a water belt ($50).
Sound Excursions describes their carefully curated group experiences as "field trips for adults." It's easy to see why: every outing takes groups to a new realm of Washington, whether it's the frothy shores of Puget Sound, inland forests and mountains, or tables at Seattle's thriving restaurants. The events held at these diverse locations range from culinary workshops on topics such as sushi-making and moonshine-tasting, to adventurous excursions with whitewater rafting or kayaking, to laid-back themed party cruises. For many outings, luxury transportation is provided.
Staff Size: 2?4 people
Average Duration of Services: 3?4 hours
Pro Tip: Come ready for adventure and fun. Make sure you bring clothes that you don't mind getting wet.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: River Tours
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
With a name that means "where the paths cross," it's no surprise that Calleva is dedicated to bringing people of all ages and from all walks of life together to appreciate the outdoors. The certified MAEOE environmental center helps its guests dive into the heart of the wilderness right outside D.C. and raise awareness about its delicate ecosystems. In doing so, it encourages others to cooperate and take risks while stepping out of their comfort zones, like baby birds leaving the nest to start their own nest-building business.
To facilitate these efforts, a team of ACA-certified guides helms seasonal outdoor-adventure and educational programs. In warm weather, activities might include kayaking and canoeing down winding stretches of the Potomac River or paddling to a private island filled with ropes-challenge courses and other obstacles. Fishing and ecological-study programs present even more varied ways to explore the water. Other adventures include the year-round, such as backpacking; the cold weather, such as caving; and the whimsical, such as the annual haunted forest where ghosts and ghouls mingle under a zip-line course.