Mountains echo with the clicking of hooves on rocks as mountain vegetation waves in the breeze and the sun glistens on snow-dappled trails. Schools of fish scatter as a pair of slick rubber boots parts the waters—a fisher wading through thick river sediment before casting a line into the current. Rocky Mountain Outfitters' experienced outdoorsmen usher customers through all manner of seasonal wilderness adventures, including fly-fishing on the Provo River, snowmobile tours, and horseback riding along mountain trails. Many tours run through Soldier Hollow Valley, which played host to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Visitors may encounter roving wildlife such as snow rabbits, moose, and fawns frolicking through varied landscapes for memorable photo ops or police sketch-artist renderings. Adventure packages combine more than one outdoor activity and include the Reins and Train adventure, a role-playing tour that merges a train trip with a horseback trail ride. Depending on the season, guests can board traditional wagons or horse-drawn sleighs towed by teams of clydesdales, belgians, and spotted draft, or they can lasso free-range dinner rolls during Old West–style outdoor meals.
An unlocked door led to an unexpected booming start on Trek Bicycle Store's accidental first day of business. While readying the establishment for an official opening later in the week, a worker forgot to latch the front door, and a stream of customers poured into the shop, purchasing nearly 20 bikes in a matter of hours. The momentum has continued through the intervening six years as first-time customers become regulars, reveling in the attention heaped on them by a staff with backgrounds in street cycling, BMX riding, and mountain biking. Wielding skills acquired during 25 years of working with two-wheelers, Jeff, the store's cofounder, delights in explaining to guests the inner workings that make each piece of equipment function and the puppy that makes each handlebar basket necessary.
As patrons recline on couches in the lounge area, the store's crew embarks on fundraising rides or prepares to host customer-appreciation events beneath gleefully crowded racks of cruisers, road bikes, and mountain bikes. Organized jaunts around the area familiarize new riders with safe routes free of crossings for glaciers and other unpleasant obstacles.
Claiming to be the nation's largest paragliding and speed-flying facility, Cloud 9 Paragliding School touts its complete repair loft and lessons held seven days of the week year-round. The facility also stocks a variety of flying gadgets and equipment and imports a variety of international brands of paragliding equipment, which it then distributes to more than 40 flying schools across the country. But above all, the facility sees itself as a big toy store, providing big kids with playthings such as kite tricycles, pogo sticks, and mountain unicycles.
One of just 23 TaylorMade Performance Labs in the world, the location at Columbia Edgewater Country Club uses modern swing technology to gather data about golfers’ games, resulting in club recommendations that are uniquely suited to each player. A certified TaylorMade Club-Fitting Professional guides athletes through the entire experience. While the client swings inside a golf simulator, the pro helms the Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade, an apparatus comprised of six high-speed cameras. These cameras turn the golfer into a three-dimensional digital rendering, similar to the process used by video-game developers and James Cameron whenever he searches for a spouse. Whether a customer opts for fitting with all 14 clubs in his or her bag or a single category—such as irons, woods, putters, or wedges—the technology captures their mechanics down to a tenth of a degree, revealing optimal club parameters ranging from loft angle to shaft flex.
Two-Can Fly Paragliding's owner and founder, Ken Hudonjorgensen, has been helping students into the air since 1990. He has flown more than 13,000 times—for more than 4,000 hours in the air—since he began paragliding in 1989. The sport has blossomed since then, and Ken is dedicated to keeping up with trends and helping others safely find their wings so they can finally realize that clouds don't taste like cream cheese. In addition to introductory lessons, Ken helps fliers gain any level of certification; he boasts a Safe Pilot award and the highest single-seater rating of P5. For basic P2 certification, Two-Can Fly Paragliding mandates at least 100 flights to make sure students have the skills down. In addition to one-on-one lessons, Ken leads clinics on more advanced topics, such as mountain flying and tandem paragliding.
Fishwest Fly Shop prepares shoppers for successful fly-fishing forays with its impressive selection of equipment and accessories. Rods, reels, and lines by brands such as Cortland and Hardy line the shelves, along with a vast collection of colorful flies for enticing even the pickiest fish. Wading gear, outerwear, and eyewear protect anglers from the ravages of nature, and fly boxes and gear bags keep all equipment neatly partitioned. The shop also offers weekly classes in fly-casting techniques, allowing students to hone skills without the threat of popping the neighbor's homemade blimp with an errant hook.