UFC Gym?s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, UFC Gym sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym?s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or cha-cha. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur fire walking.
Champions Dancesport employs a team of professional dance instructors that lead upbeat group classes or personalized private dance lessons. Their focus is on ballroom styles, from sweeping Viennese waltzes to staccato sambas and energetic East and West Coast swing dances. The studios give off a posh vibe with gleaming dance floors and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, an elegant setting for dance practice parties or to National Hokey-Pokey Championships.
Martin Percival starred in the principal role for Michael Flatley's North America–touring Lord of the Dance and played the original Flatley role of "the lord." This knight in tights and his lovely team of jig-jumping instructors will lay down the law of rhythm and greens with beginner-level dances like the reel and light jig.
SkateStart owner Patrick O'Toole started his skating career as many people do: by falling down constantly while skating a faulty board. He wanted to spend time with his skateboarding cousins, so his father bought him a generic, unresponsive deck from a big-box store. It barely rolled and always cancelled their playtime last minute to watch soap operas. His junky equipment and lack of knowledge kept him from keeping up with his peers. It wasn't until his father surprised him with a safe, professional skate set that his cousins finally slowed down and began teaching him the ins and outs of thrashing cement waves.
Now in his 20s, Patrick makes it his professional mission to teach the next generation of skaters the proper techniques they need to enjoy the sport. He and his team of certified instructors use his patent-pending skateboard system that shows beginners where to place their feet to push off, perform an ollie, and avoid tripping a board's self-destruct countdown. In addition to imparting fundamental skills, their lessons also build up the confidence necessary to tackle more complex maneuvers.
The sporting experts at Beavers Sports Shop's four Winter Park locations outfit mountaineers and snow-surfers with brand-name equipment for chilly rendezvous with the great outdoors. Before taking to Colorado?s slopes, thrill-seekers gear up with snowboards and skis from brands such as Salomon, Dynastar, and K2, and slip into rental suits, parkas, and bibs, which shield wearers against frigid weather and icy glares from abominable snowmen on whose lawns they?ll be trespassing. During snowless summer months, trekkers hit the Winter Park area's numerous cross-country and mountain trails with bikes and gear from producers such as Shimano, Fox, Bontrager, and SRAM.