Across four compact, outdoor fields, goggled paintballers stealthily tread behind industrial-sized wooden spools and large inflated obstacles as candy-colored paintballs zip by. Teams of five to seven shooters might start by storming the citadel on Fort Field. After conquering the blockhouse through strategy and persistence, they can advance on the Hyperball field for a fast-paced game that relies more on reaction than strategy and teamwork. The tight quarters of the Spools field surround huge wooden spools left behind by giant seamstresses, whereas the Airball field spreads blue and red inflatables across a large swath of green grass to slow the action down. Teams can find respite between matches under the covered staging areas and refuel with snacks and beverages.
Golfsmith's online and in-store storerooms house an almost endless list of golf gear for men, women, and children alike. Clubs, balls, and accessories from brands such as TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway give players precise control over their game, and polos and long-sleeved shirts from Nike and Snake Eyes garb players in course-appropriate attire now that tuxedo T-shirts no longer qualify. Along with the extensive collection of equipment and golf bags, Golfsmith also carries GPS systems to give players a high-tech edge and tennis gear to help them overcome the bunkers’ tricky nets.
A nationwide swing-honing syndicate, GolfTEC attacks ineffective golf techniques with a patented Five Factor approach that harnesses technological resources to boil golf's subtle motions into an objective, data-based science. GolfTEC Austin's staff of PGA-certified aces stays true to the mission in each lesson, as they assess swings with video analysis and compare them to a database of the swing profiles of more than 150 Tour players, which provides a sounder frame of reference than simply swinging in front of a mirror or seeking wisdom from a cardboard cutout of Jack Nicklaus. Pros then pinpoint areas for improvement and build on them in video-based sessions, reinforcing effective motions while helping clients better understand the mechanical elements of the golf swing. GolfTEC even helps their charges bolster their swing out of the studio with their online Player Performance Studio, which contains each players' golf lesson history, past swing videos, and custom-tailored drills that pupils can access 24/7 to prepare for an upcoming outing or seek comfort after slicing the ball repeatedly into the waters of chaos in a vivid nightmare.
Growing up in El Paso near Hueco Tanks led Austin Rock Gym owner Troy Wilson to view rock climbing as a way of life. In order to open his own facility he merged his experience running youth climbing programs and gyms with that of his wife and coowner Erica—a Houston native who has spent years scaling New Mexico's rocky ridges. Specializing in bouldering, belaying, and lead climbing, the duo brings mountain terrain indoors at two Austin area locations. The north Austin gym's 30-foot bouldering wall and colorful climbing routes challenge visitors to traverse steep angles, and its top-rope routes let belayed crag clingers scale to the perfect yodeling height. At the south Austin gym, sculpted, 30-foot textured walls loom over a 10,000-square-foot facility, in which climbers can belay, practice lead climbing, or conquer a bouldering cave.
Veteran climbers at each location teach classes and private lessons for rookie rockers 4 and older. In addition to bouldering, lead climbing, and belaying classes, instructors lead women's only sessions and Powerhouse courses that focus on strengthening the body's core. Troy and Tracy's team of experts also guides groups to outdoor climbing venues and lugs a portable rock wall to construction workers no longer challenged by ladders.
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.
Since 1971, Freewheeling Bicycles has furnished cyclists with bikes from such notable names as Gary Fisher, Trek, and Electra as well as complementary parts and accessories. Before hopping on their two-wheeled transport and riding off into the sunset or silhouetting against the moon, riders can take advantage of a free tune-up offered with every purchase of a new bike and slide into apparel such as jerseys, shorts, and outerwear. The staff also lets customers test-ride bikes in their sizable parking lot.