John McDonough has spent his life rising to meet outdoor challenges. Years ago he began traveling the globe as a skier and rock climber, finding adventure and challenges on faraway mountains and snowy cliffs. After more than two decades on skis and 15 years scaling rocks, the AMGA Certified Single-Pitch Instructor??who once accompanied an inspiring group of blind climbers on a trip??now operates First Ascent Mountain School. The gig comes with the daily pleasure of watching beginners submit to the powerful sense of awe and accomplishment that comes with mountaineering. As First Ascent's founding director, John has assembled a small band of professional mountain guides who shared his zeal for nature and teaching. The crew touts a penchant for making the sometimes-intimidating activities of rock-terrain climbing and snowshoeing accessible to anyone who is interested.
Criterium Bicycles and the Monument Ride Center offer bikes, gear, and professional instruction to two-wheel devotees and pedal-pumping travelers. The Beginner Mountain/Comfort Bike class covers training basics, including a gear overview and the keys to proper steering, climbing, descending, and stopping on a dime, picking it up, and buying a Chiclet without ever dismounting. The Riding for Fitness and Weight Loss course teaches more-experienced riders efficient, reasonable ways to bike off calories and build strength while still relishing the ride. Because Criterium Bicycles’ instructors compete in mountain-bike racing, track racing, and Ironman Triathlons, they’re fully prepared to answer any questions, be they about gear ratios or keeping top hats atop heads while riding. Groupon holders may also apply the value to one of Criterium's two $90 classes and pay the $30 difference.
Voted Best Climbing Wall by the Gazette in 2010, CityROCK's walls and staff are tall in both experience and, depending on the instructor, height. Rock wranglers can ascend a variety of towering structures laden with cracks, overhangs, boulders, hungry baby eagles, and more. Because traditional rope climbing is a two-person team endeavor, all first-timers and returning rock-jocks must undergo a course in belaying basics. The quick class enables climbers to master the techniques while building confidence in themselves and their partners.
At Springs Rhythm, experienced dance masters Nichola Morin and Volodymyr Ishchenko guide foot tappers of all skill levels through the steps of classic ballroom dances. Inside the spacious studio, hip swivelers learn graceful dances such as the tango, whose staccato style requires precise movements, awareness of rhythm, and bionic legs. Conversely, the fluid Argentine tango's sultry walks and footwork demand a feel for the music and an attention to one's partner. Springs Rhythm's mavens of movement lead two-steppers through the sophisticated spins and twirls of the waltz, with focus on the basic and Viennese waltzes. After mastering the foxtrot's peppy steps, burgeoning Fred Astaires attend a complimentary social dance, held on the first and third Saturday of the month from 8–11 p.m., to show off their new moves and collect material for their friendship journals.
Ascent Cycling is a community-focused bike shop dedicated to serving every aspect of cyclists' needs. Check up on your bi-wheeled pal after a long, rough summer with a sport tune safety overhaul. Each service session begins with a full adjustment of the drive train and brakes, ensuring chains are freed of lodged tumbleweeds and impervious to attacks from microscopic chainsaws. The skilled staff will then spot-true wheel sets so that Sunday rides and sprints across troll-guarded bridges are dependably smooth. Momentum retention and pedal-pumping efficiency will be bolstered by a safety check, while a frame wipe-down will add glistening shine to each ride.
Sportz Skillz Golf & Tennis Center encompasses modern golf and tennis training facilities into its 7,500-square-foot, indoor training facility. The center's aboutGolf golf simulator vividly replicates 40 world-famous golf courses, letting golfers play simulated rounds amid the windswept heathers of the Old Course at St. Andrews or alongside the gallery of trash-talking pelicans that surround Pebble Beach Golf Links. Sportz Skillz's PGA-certified instructors conduct lessons on all aspects of the game at the indoor driving range, two-tiered practice green, and simulator practice modules.
Tennis players aged 3–10 can get an early start to their serve-smashing careers with lessons conducted by USPTA-certified instructors. The center's facilities use smaller, kid-friendly rackets, foam balls, and pared-down courts specified by the USTA's QuickStart Tennis Program, which facilitate the development of tennis skills in youngsters more effectively than playing with conventional equipment or having John McEnroe read them bedtime stories.