Pick up a copy of Boise Weekly, flip open the Idaho Statesman, or tune in to Boise State Public Radio, and you might catch Ophidia Studio’s owner, Allison Holley, spreading the gospel of pole dancing. "It feels fun," she told Boise State Public Radio's Scott Ki. "It's kind of like playing on a jungle gym, and adults don't get that chance." Along with a coterie of experienced instructors, Allison casts off the bad rap of an activity that she says some see as "demeaning or degrading" in pole-dancing classes that build fitness and self-confidence in a playful atmosphere. Inside a hot-pink studio peppered with stationary and spinning poles, Allison and her crew walk students of all levels through a number of creative pole-dancing moves, beginning with spins and working up to inversions, choreography routines, and ceiling-fan impersonations.
Their expertise doesn’t stop there, though. The instructors also offer an arsenal of other sensual classes such as belly-dancing, hoop dancing, poi fire dancing, and Curvesque, which helps whittle waists and define the feminine form through fluid, dance-inspired movements. They also offer the more-traditional fitness classes of Zumba and body blast, along with yoga and its elevated counterpart—aerial yoga, which suspends students in a fabric sling hung from the ceiling.
Serenity Stables & Event Facility’s five acres of land are dotted with a regulation-size arena, covered stalls, and indoor facilities, creating a horse-riding haven for equine enthusiasts of all ages. Experienced, encouraging instructors lead riding lessons, which can be tailored to meet the needs of everyone from first-timers to professional cowboys hoping to learn the secret of galloping into the sunset without squinting. Teachers inform pupils about basic Western and English riding techniques, roping, queening, flags, and barrel racing. Serenity Stables also offers full boarding services and rents out their facilities for dances, musical events, birthdays, and interventions for oats-addicted unicorns.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas?its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries?Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
For nearly a century, couples have found a romantic hideaway at the Riverside Hot Springs Inn, quickly earning it the nickname “Honeymoon Hotel.” Founder William Godfrey chose to set the inn’s foundation alongside the Portneuf River in 1914 due to the wealth of hot springs nearby and the curative powers he believed they held. People seemed to agree, and in order to rid themselves of pains and worries, they traveled miles to ease their sore muscles in the hot baths and dispose of overly musical snowmen.
Today, guests continue on with that tradition, dipping in the inn's more modern hot-springs tubs, which reach balmy temperatures of up to 106 degrees. Inside the inn, muted and neutral colors and period accents give the rooms a charming, romantic feel. This decadence extends to the Portneuf Grille & Lounge, formerly a confectionery, where chefs sear USDA steaks and craft eclectic vegetarian entrees. On Thursday, the dining room fills with live music, and on Friday, guests can sample the hotel's signature cioppino as they sip Northwest wines, specialty cocktails, or microbrews.
Silverhawk Aviation’s owner, Catherine Rad Weber, built a school not only to teach people how to fly, but to learn to love their wings as well. Her comprehensive curriculum challenges students to fly at high altitudes, in different weather conditions, and over diverse terrain, training helicopter pilots who will be comfortable in the cockpit anywhere in the world. The program includes hands-on experience in caring for the rides, moving them in and out of hangars, and safely washing them without getting soap in their eyes.
Whether training or touring, visitors receive eyefuls of southern Idaho’s diverse geological features. The helicopters surmount rugged mountains, speed over mesas and high deserts, and ride air currents above rivers that wend their way into deep canyons. Apart from stunning the brain’s beauty receptors, this splendor provides a natural obstacle course against which more experienced pilots test their skill, zipping around rock spires or hopping the feet of their craft neatly through pristine fields of tire plants.
If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.
That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.
The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.
These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.