With nothing but their legs, a launch pad, and a little wind, paragliders achieve mankind's ancient dream of flight without the help of motors or fancypants pilots. A dedicated revolutionary against the tyranny of gravity, paragliding instructor Jon Potter invites one and all to join him atop the hills of Pittsburgh for a flying lesson that can be tailored for students of any experience level. Potter gladly hurls himself from virtually any flyable hill in and around the city. Beginners start by taking wing from bunny hills, and more advanced gliders tackle the more challenging courses.
Steel City Airsoft's safety-conscious staff hosts adrenaline-pumping showdowns for recreational warriors as well as for law enforcement or military groups looking to train in a close-quarters, indoor environment. A modular building design allows staffers to reorient the walls, hallways, and doorways that honeycomb the 30,000-square-foot facility, ensuring unpredictable, action-packed bouts amid a hail of whistling pellets. With an emphasis on responsible play, the staff members steadfastly enforce the facility's rules and advise patrons either to wear clothing that covers any bare skin or to don their family's coat of arms. Steel City Airsoft is open on Fridays from 5 p.m.–midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.
Though they begin their adventure at Skydive Deep Creek’s home base, visitors won’t really remember the facility. That’s because most of their time will be spent hovering above the airport at 13,500 feet. Beginners take to the sky safely attached to an experienced diver during tandem jumps, and serious enthusiasts can fly through the air while training for skydiving certification.
Instructor Neil Porter orchestrates all the site’s jumps, using know-how earned during his time at Airborne school in the army and while obtaining his skydiving instructor certification. At Skydive Deep Creek, Neil guides beginners through the process of learning to skydive, from tandem diving to individual jumps.
For clients who just want a taste of the adrenaline-pounding sport, Neil performs tandem jumps, during which a guest is attached to him with a secure harness. While they jump together, Neil controls the parachute, which allows guests to relax and enjoy the thrill ride. The company’s optional videography and photography services capture every whoop, flip, and freefall. Visitors who want to learn to pull the strings themselves can take classes in the four levels of skydiving certification, in which they learn all the skills necessary to jump on their own or finally be in charge on parachute day in gym class.
HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.
His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.
Making their first foray onto the indoor gridiron this season, AFL newbies the Pittsburgh Power begin the year by taking on sure-to-be-cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Soul in a game of fast-paced, potentially high-scoring arena action that pigskin fans inherently crave. Head coach Chris Siegfried has assembled a team led by quarterback Bernard Morris, who leads his associates using rushing and passing skills honed from a previous stint with the Jacksonville Sharks and an internship with the maitre d' of a busy restaurant. The Power's dance team, The Sparks, entertains the crowd between plays. All the action takes place at the newly built Consol Energy Center, which also serves as home to the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and a hangar for invisible dirigibles.