For the last 10 years, Prairie Storm Paintball's staging area, racks of guns and gear stand ready for friendly battles across a large indoor and eight outdoor paintball fields. Indoors, technicolor orbs splatter across wood walls as players hide behind shelter and try to covertly vacuum the drapes. Outdoor fields such as the Barnyard surround paint slingers in open fields and wooded terrain; abandoned vehicles and empty barrels sprinkle the ground at the aptly named Nuke Town field. To round out the battleground offerings, a speedball field offers solid cover instead of the more commonly seen inflatable air bunkers.
The friendly staff equips players with Draxxus paint, which uses vegetable-based ingredients that are friendly to the environment. They also host outdoor paintball, indoor re-ball, airsoft, mini-paintball, and nerf parties and World War II reenactments.
As half of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” duo Brooks & Dunn, Ronnie Dunn has played everywhere from the arena to the rodeo, beer joints to casinos. His Texas twang and electric guitar chronicle 20 years of wide-ranging exploits on his self-titled debut solo album. After he and Kix Brooks played their last show together in 2010, Dunn set to work as the new album's sole producer and main songwriter. "This time around, I baked it,” he said. “I baked it and cooked it, and cooked it again.” His signature rowdy honky-tonk kicks through in the single “Let the Cowboy Rock,” and the poignant ballad of forgiveness, “Bleed Red," urges listeners to “turn the anger into water / let it slip through our hands.”
Of Death Valley Paintball's six outdoor fields, the largest is Area 51.50, named for the replica UFO javelined into the ground. The objective of the game: get a medical kit from a neutral part of the field, get it into an ambulance, then rescue the downed extraterrestrial and escort it back to the ambulance. The play of this field often looks like a shot out of The X-Files, with up to 50 players holding position behind overturned vehicles and stacks of tires.
This specificity of play characterizes each of Death Valley's fields, where the terrain design enhances the combat of the 15- to 30-minute games. For example, the Trench Warfare field's nearly 2,000 feet of dugout sunk 3 feet deep gives ideal concealment for snipers taking a break to plant next season's crop of paintball seeds. In addition to the playing fields, a fully automated target challenges marksmen with 15 pop-up targets that alternate between enemies and civilians. Between games, two on-site propane stations offer fuel for players who bring along their own grillable sustenance, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, or soup-can skewers.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Though Adrenaline Personal Training Studios looks like a garage, there’s not a single car or snow blower inside. There’s a tire or two and also a sled, but it looks nothing like a toboggan. This is a weighted sled, a tool that helps exercisers build speed and power. It’s part of an arsenal of functional training equipment, which includes agility ladders, strongman yokes, squat racks, and York weightlifting gear. Certified trainers and strength coaches teach clients how to use these tools during workouts that range from partner training to outdoor boot camps. One-on-one training is tailored to individual goals such as weight loss, sports performance, or injury rehab, and group sessions revolve around shared objectives and teamwork. In addition to leading strength and cardio workouts, staffers build custom nutrition plans to help clients slim down, build muscle, or win a staring contest with a many-eyed potato. After workouts, exercisers can head to the locker room to change or unwind with the help of a massage therapist’s relaxing strokes.
Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.