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.
When 16-year-old Roger Soler crossed the finish line first at the Peruvian National Junior Championship, his victory marked the beginning of a love affair with running. At age 18, he set a Peruvian record in the 1500-meter and eventually brought his talents to the U.S., where he competed in the 5000-meter race at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Through it all, Roger nurtured a genuine fondness for running that blossomed into a full-fledged passion when he opened the first Soler's Sports more than two decades ago.
Today, Soler's Sports boasts four locations staffed by athletes with real-life experience in biking and running and was awarded a spot on Running Insight's Top 50 Running Stores of 2011. Staffers tend to customers on an individual basis, guaranteeing sneakers to accommodate gaits and bikes to fit bodies based on detailed analyses. Once employees have profiled the perfect shoe or bike, they help patrons find them, searching through the store’s stock, which includes brands such as Ridley Bikes, Vibram FiveFingers, Vitalsox, and Spibelt. Patrons can test-drive new kicks and wheels at the store's group runs and rides.
The instructors at Saldivar Martial Arts Leadership Academy aren't exactly new to teaching students the passion, discipline, and integrity of martial arts. The studio itself has been open since 1986, and its four instructors have a combined experience totaling more than 60 years. Matt Saldivar, a 5th degree black belt, is among them. Together he and his wife Amy Saldivar?a third degree black belt and instructor?co-own the academy and bring 25 years of experience to their business. The duo leads not only intensive muay-thai sessions for adults, but also after-school programs and summer camps for kids as young as five. The studio's class list is just as beginner-friendly, since it separates pupils by their level of experience and their ability to quote the best lines in The Karate Kid.
For more than 14 years, paint-splattered players have duked it out on the varied terrain of Krossfire Paintball's well-kept outdoor fields. Under the watchful eye of fair-minded referees, participants duck for cover and take aim from behind blue inflatables, stacks of barrels, large wooden spools, and a fort surrounded by fencing. Over in the woods, meanwhile, players huddle in bunkers, plan ambushes from behind standing and downed trees, and crawl through overgrown grasses while avoiding opponents camouflaged as overgrown grasses. After private weekday or open weekend games, guests can update their gear by browsing the latest equipment in Krossfire Paintball's pro-shop, which stocks guns, loaders, goggles, and protective pads.
At Luis Gallardo's Bike City, the walls have nearly disappeared behind row after double-decker row of bicycles. Though his shop is packed with road bikes, mountain bikes, cruisers, hybrids, and children's bikes, Gallardo—a 40-year veteran of the bike industry—has also managed to find room for accessories and parts from brands such as Shimano, SRAM, and Louis Garneau. His team of mechanics repairs and maintains every make and model of velocipede, drawing on experience gleaned from years spent living with two-wheelers in their natural habitat.
The Ski Junction equips skiers and snowboarders with all the apparel they need to slalom soundly and carve powder commendably. Mountain-destined youngsters and adults alike can check out the racks of apparel by top brands, including ski jackets and pants by Marker, goggles by Gordini, and helmets by K2. The shop also carries a wide array of smaller accessories, such as sunglasses, socks, earmuffs, and abominable snowman repellent.