After more than 20 years in business, what began with one aircraft shepherding fishers through the Idaho backcountry has blossomed into a gleaming six-Cessna fleet offering charter service deep into the wilderness. Overseeing the whole operation is SP Aircraft’s founder, Scott Patrick, a charter-industry veteran with many close contacts in the backcountry-outfitter, river-guide, and tour-company arena. The outfit’s trip packages dispense wild majesty and creature comforts in equal measure, much like receiving a foot massage from a grizzly bear. The Sawtooth Air Tour and Backcountry Brunch, for example, begins with a 90-minute flight over the Sawtooth Range, Dagger Falls, and the Deadwood Reservoir and culminates in a multicourse brunch. Meanwhile, the Mackay Bar Overnight Steelhead Fishing on the Main Salmon River trip invites travelers to try their luck on the “River of No Return”—so-called because, unlike most rivers, it only flows one way.
With a five-star rating as an instructor-development center from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Dive Magic’s aquanauts impart scuba prowess to aspiring underwater explorers. During a two-hour Discover Scuba session (a $50 value), fledgling flipper-kickers are introduced to the essential elements of scuba safety, equipment usage, and how to gurgle "gesundheit!" after a subaquatic sneeze, then descend into the depths of an on-site heated swimming pool. While basking in the buoyancy, a Dive Magic staff photographer will snap a photographic keepsake (a $10 value) to memorialize the immersed moment. To make the experience as comfortable as possible, Dive Magic offers a choice between male or female instructors. All equipment is provided.
A competitive shooter since he was a teenager, Mike Wirth began teaching responsible firearms operations during college. Between bouts of studying for his degree in mechanical engineering, he showed friends and classmates the firearms basics, such as marksmanship fundamentals, proper cleaning and storage, and how to smelt each bullet by hand.
Now teamed with business partner Aaron Goodfellow, Wirth continues training clients in responsible armed defense. On the outdoor ranges shared with Parma Rod and Gun Club, he and Goodfellow lead classes focused on handgun operations, teaching guests skills from swapping magazines to courteous behaviors when on the range.
Boise Nationals Soccer Club helps develop young soccer players from their first step onto the pitch to their first step onto a college campus. Formed exclusively for boys in 1986, the club has since merged with several girls' affiliates to create one of the state's most formidable coed soccer outfits. Today, 30 competitive teams play beneath its star-emblazoned logo.
The club's programs split player development into six categories, and its youth soccer league—formed in 2008—places pint-size dribblers under the guidance of professional coaches, who provide more in-depth instruction than the volunteer parents or scarecrows that supervise many other recreational sports teams. For players who blossom under the club's stewardship, college-placement programs are available to help hoist games to the next level.
Students of all ages and experience levels are invited to cultivate their coordination at Dance Arts Academy, where expert instructors are as abundant as injured elves in a felled Keebler tree. The schedule is jam-packed with diverse boogie options held at convenient times each weekday, including classes in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop. If you are the proud parent of a tater tot but wish your youngster was slightly less vegetable-like, enroll him or her in a pre-school combo class, which imparts basic ballet and tap movements to children 4–5 years of age. Or infuse stiff joints with a youth infusion during an adult tap class or an advanced hip-hop class for students 14 years and older. Take a peek at the calendar for the full schedule of upcoming classes.
As a PGA-certified pro, Jeff Thomsen's distinguished golf career began decades ago, when the 16-year-old Thomsen swung his way to the Idaho State Amateur championship, becoming the youngest player ever to earn that rarefied distinction. His early success would pave the cart path to a long career that included 55 PGA Tour events, participation in four major championships, multiple tournament victories, and once saving a course-side community from a feral golf cart. Today, Jeff showers pupils with golf wisdom culled from both his 35-year competitive career and a certification from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. The passionate pedagogue helps players sharpen their game, lengthen their drives, and fold scorecards into paper cranes with hands-on, comprehensive lessons conducted at multiple courses throughout the hills of Treasure Valley.