Former professional driver and expert instructor Randy Baker and his team have been guiding drivers toward greatness for more than 20 years; past pupils include Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jeff and Ward Burton, and the shadowy pit mechanic known only as Racer X. At SpeedTech Auto Racing School, Randy combines a fleet of super-speedy rides—authentic, metal-bodied vehicles boasting 650-horsepower V-8 engines—with a serious emphasis on safety to prepare drivers for any mishap on the track. Gearheads, speed junkies, and people who still sleep in a racecar bed despite their adult children's protestations soak up Randy's knowledge during one of SpeedTech's many race programs, varying in length from 3 laps to more than 100. With the school's built-in HD video feeds, drivers can commemorate their laps or prove to the family car it's been cheating on them with the hotel's valet.
Blowfish Emporium fosters the talents of budding artists in structured art classes and also houses the work of more than 60 local and regional artisans. Cultivate your canvas-covering skills and discover decorative items other than bronzed fruit in The Grape Easel painting event. On entering the class, each student receives a canvas, a selection of paints, and various brushes, which unite to re-create the evening’s scheduled artwork of choice. Subjects vary by class and include such topics as abstract nature works, vibrantly colored musical instruments, and toothpaste-painted re-creations of 1930s toothpaste ads.
Each of YMCA of Western North Carolina's five branches and 19 childcare sites remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility, and respect as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, and personal-training sessions. They’ve also filled their fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during cardio-dance and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead more than 200 programs, including children’s day camps, after-school programs, and dance classes.
Lighten Up owner and seasoned stretcher Lillah Schwartz opened Asheville's original yoga studio in 1981 with a mission to lighten and enlighten flexers of all fitness levels. The highly trained and experienced teachers provide one-on-one attention, altering poses to fit each student's skill level and zodiac sign, while a 15-minute complimentary consultation helps newcomers find their ideal class. Intro to yoga introduces the basic postures and breath work at a slow, relaxed pace, while Asana levels one and two warm up limbs for more impressive feats of nimbleness. The studio's flexible class schedule also includes focused courses for students with back problems and other health conditions, and mats are available for those who would otherwise resort to a quilt made of fruit roll-ups.
At O3 Health and Fitness, Keith Wimsett leads a team of certified trainers while his wife Marlena rubs down recovering muscles with therapeutic massage. Keith and his team advocate a four-tiered philosophy built around increasing strength and cardiovascular endurance while monitoring food intake and hydration. Personal trainers work with individuals or small groups to forge customized fitness plans while also eliciting sweaty smiles through group boot camps.
Hot Yoga Asheville’s new 3,800-square-foot studio—equipped with six showers, custom antimicrobial yoga flooring and far-infrared Radiant Heat panels with automatic CO2-sensored fresh air exchange—does as much to detoxify the environment as it does its human visitors. While the latter work their way through the 26 traditional Bikram poses on biodegradable mats, they are surrounded by formaldehyde-free insulation and air purified by a hydroxyl generator.