Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn?t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill?and, adding insult to injury, the men?s equipment didn?t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.
For more than 60 years, Elephant Car Wash has resided on the cutting edge of car-wash technology. Archie, Dean, and Eldon Anderson founded the car wash in 1951 when they invented a hands-free machine that could clean cars and never be penalized in soccer. Thirty years later, they sold their shops to Bob Haney, who replaced the car-wash tunnels' plastic bristles with hybrid-blend cloths and high-pressure water nozzles. Nowadays, Elephant Car Wash features computer-operated tunnels that can read pH levels of dirt and—at certain locations—touchless car-wash tunnels that use high-powered water jets and potent detergents only.
Rotating above all of this technological progress is the car wash's signature pink elephant, which doubles as a polestar for drivers who need their vehicles washed, waxed, vacuumed, or shampooed. The trained staff waits outside the full-service car wash with towels and stages a slew of a la carte services including trunk vacuuming and leather conditioning. Elephant Car Wash works with the Puget Sound Car Wash Association and the Charity Car Wash Program, two organizations that strive to keep pollution out of waterways and inside the coffee mugs of Darth Vader.
John Gustafson began skating at 5 years old, rolling along on squeaky wheels that would carry him toward a lifetime of high-speed competition. At 25, he became a professional skater, winning national championships in both speed skating and figure skating before settling down as the owner of Auburn Skate Connection. His love of skating hasn’t dimmed, though; even with his 69th birthday approaching, John continues to lace up his skates each day to gain an extra 2 inches of height and guide students in the sport he knows so well.
Alongside instructors that he himself recruited, John teaches the art of effortless rolling during private lessons on the rink’s solid-wood skating surface. The team imbues students with the intricacies of quad and inline skating while also focusing on the fundamentals of racing. Their dedication has borne some notable fruit. Olympic gold-medalist Apolo Ohno took his first glides at Auburn, working with John for three years before moving on to his life of ice-based glory.
The doctors and staff of MediPro Direct Slim use a truly holistic approach to weight loss—that is, they target fat from both the inside and out. Their arsenal of noninvasive fat-reduction technology handles the job from the outside, calling on lasers, sound waves, and mechanical massage to flush fat from the body in treatments that can be performed in as little as a lunch break. The Cavi-Lipo system, meanwhile, uses ultrasound energy to painlessly perforate fat cells in a treatment that has been demonstrated in real-time at trade shows and featured on Dr. Oz.
To spur weight loss from within, the team offers a number of effective weight-loss programs. According to the client's body type and weight loss goals, the experts can devise a regimen that incorporates specialized protein or low-calorie nutrition plans to help bodies shed pounds and gain energy.
Rebecca Duty, Tahoma Athletic Club's regional manager, drew from her 15-year career in the fitness industry to engineer the ideal gym. She brought in Precor cardio equipment?including treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, and steppers?then filled the cycle studios with Star Trac stationary bikes. She picked out Paramount plate-loaded equipment, Hammer Strength training machines, TRX equipment, and Iron Grip free weights. Duty calibrated everything with convenience in mind, down to the video-monitored childcare area. Since a TV perches on every piece of cardio equipment, parents can readily tune in and watch their tots between episodes of Suddenly Susan.
In addition to leading personal-training sessions, Tahoma Athletic Club's instructors lead group exercise classes such as TRX Suspension Training and yoga. Guests can also bronze in the Maple Valley location's SunMaster tanning beds or Lakeland's Montego Bay standup units.
Each of Seattle Sun Tan's 39 locations spans between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to the art of un-sunbathing. Washington-state tanners strut down immaculate hallways dotted with framed original paintings and contemporary artwork before settling into private rooms where they may acquire their desired shade while enjoying the sounds of their own music or prerecorded subliminal messages piped in through the iPod dock perched near each bed. The Smart Tan?certified staff guides clients in selecting which of the five levels of UV bed best fits their tanning needs and whether they desire a short tan time, prefer to stand up or lie down, or wish to bask beneath high-pressure face lamps. Shop shelves offer home tanners quality products from Australian Gold and Swedish Beauty, whereas spray-tanning options from VersaSpa and SunFX both impart a natural-looking faux glow that takes mere minutes to apply and lasts for days.