With a three-time Louisville Slugger Region 21 coach of the year and a scout for the Florida Marlins on its seven-man roster, the staff at Upper Deck Baseball Academy commands years of competitive diamond expertise. The team puts its 8,900-square-foot facility to work assisting budding baseball and softball stars with improvement of their physical, mechanical, and mental capabilities through creative, focused drills. Two Iron Mike pitching machines and two Jugs pitching machines hurl heat down the indoor batting cages, allowing players to work on bat speed and hitting to the opposite field without the awkward eye contact that comes with facing a real pitcher. Players can also have their chops recorded with video swing analysis, allowing for real-time feedback on swing mechanics.
For 44 years, adventurers and outdoor athletes have emerged from Country Ski and Sport armored in quality apparel and equipped with sturdy vessels, poised to conquer mountains, rivers, and bike paths. The Stenson family—which founded the sportsman’s haven in 1970—shares the clientele’s passion for outdoor excursions, and staff three facilities with a team of knowledgeable employees boasting more than 225 collective years of industry experience. The friendly staff draws upon outdoor know-how to match customers with pairs of skis, snowboards, kayaks, or bikes that suit their needs and size. Adventure-appropriate apparel from North Face or Under Armour keeps bodies warm while they’re slaloming down slopes or luging to work. To help customers prepare for the sporting seasons, technicians also repair and tune up skis, snowboards, and bicycles, and offer seasonal leasing options for snow equipment.
The staff at Soul Ski & Bike fit frames and spout knowledge of local terrain to send riders cruising river pathways or bounding down rocky mountains. Bikers themselves, the owners are turf-savvy and stock hardtail- and full-suspension pedals to handle jagged landscape with the skill and grace of a classically trained billy goat. Rubber rolls across uneven dirt and down slopes with the Cannondale Trail 5, a mountain bike suitable for coasting the Spray River Loop or hitting Tunnel Mountain trails (a $42 value/day). The full-suspension Cannondale RZ One20 4 catapults across Bow Valley roads, using back-tire bounciness to pivot around boulders and breakdance in basins (a $53 value/day). All rentals include a helmet, lock, pump, and patch kit.
Ski Stop 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 complete a pre-existing mountain-defeating arsenal with protective wear like GoreTex-laced gloves ($64.95) or ear warmers ($30). Newer skiers can count on Ski Stop's friendly, helpful service to pair them with appropriate equipment.
Golfers across the handicap spectrum practice bogey-thwarting skills at Natick Golf Learning Center, where PGA- and LPGA-certified pros preside over a multifaceted outdoor practice facility. The center’s outdoor driving range offers 75 artificial and natural-grass hitting mats; two chipping greens, a putting green, and a practice bunker let players practice their finesse shots. During daily lessons, the pros enlist video analysis and other teaching aids to help pupils tackle new skills or correct recent on-course weaknesses.