Lyle Phetteplace fell in love with the outdoors and his home state of Colorado at an early age. Today, he runs Renaissance Adventure Guides so he can pursue his passion and allow others to experience adventure, too. The excursions he curates include hiking, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, and even sea kayaking, a skill beginners hone on the lakes of Colorado before moving on to distant ocean destinations, such as Costa Rica. Lyle and his team also design guided travel tours of the country, which presents excellent terrain for hiking, backpacking, and other activities.
The staff at Renaissance Adventure Guides believe outdoor adventures can bring people closer to their fellow participants and to the environment, so they treat each experience differently. They customize adventures to suit the abilities and goals of their customers, while also keeping groups at a manageable size so everyone receives personal attention and a unique, secret high-five. Because safety is always at the forefront of any expedition, they also offer avalanche training with instructors qualified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Additionally, they pass along their love of exploring to children through kids camps filled with days paddling the river.
For almost 20 years, Colorado Sports Rental has helped visitors and locals alike get their adrenaline pumping in any season with gear in affordable rental packages. In the summer, they lend out recently purchased jet skis, fishing boats, and dirt bikes; the winter months bring new models of skis and snowboards from brands such as Burton, Neversummer, and Salomon, which patrons can rent for a day or all season. To accommodate resort hoppers, the staff can also supply ski racks and Thule boxes for the tops of cars.
Terry Sandmeier, informally known as Captain Sandy, began cultivating his lifelong passion for sailing as a boy growing up on the Gulf of Mexico. He first acquired the taste for sailing while cruising along the gulf coast from Texas to Mississippi. Today, with more than 35 years of experience, Captain Sandy alternates between sailing Colorado's mountain lakes and the warm waters off the Florida Keys. He imparts his experience to burgeoning sailors aboard his US Yachts 18, teaching them skills from interpreting the wind to lassoing passing clouds on breezeless days.
Captain James Cook's nautical adventures have taken him from delivering yachts across oceans using only sextant navigation to earning the ASA's most-advanced instruction certification. Since 1986, he's channeled that oceanic expertise into Victoria Sailing School, where expert instructors help students of all skill levels earn ASA certifications and endorsements through hands-on techniques.
Before they set foot on a boat, however, aspiring seafarers get their feet wet in a safe classroom setting in the Colorado Executive Club Building. Upon passing their exams, they move on to practical sessions on the Cherry Creek, Lake Carter, or Chatfield Reservoirs, where they learn basic maneuvers or rig spinnakers on a J/22. More advanced students cut their nautical teeth on a J/30.
Along with sailing courses, 10-week coastal- and celestial-navigation classes help guests master the skills necessary for steering a course through the open seas, including an ability to decipher longitude, latitude, and the shouted, arcane demands of the moon. Weather for the Mariner classes teach students to analyze weather maps and prep strategies to avoid hurricane hazards.
With diverse backgrounds ranging from studying extraterrestrial fluvial geomorphology to being born in the jungle of Chitwan National Forest in Nepal, American Adventure Expeditions’ certified guides shepherd rafters of all experience levels down sections of the Arkansas River, navigating rapids of varying intensity and trip lengths. Half-day, full-day, and overnight trips plunge into world-class runs such as The Numbers, an advanced route with powerful Class IV rapids gushing through tight passages and down steep drops, or the more family-friendly Class II and III waters found within Brown’s Canyon for mild bumps and splashing contests with ill-tempered salmon.
Guides also pair up aquatic excursions with other extreme thrills such as mountain biking and zipline tours for combo adventures, or skip the water entirely during land-based adventures such as the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train tour. Additionally, two outposts sit along the river, and offer snacks, restrooms, and picnic areas.