Operating at 13 tracks coast to coast, FAASST Performance Driving School gives novice racetrack drivers a chance to tear up professional-grade pavement in their own car or in a rental. As an SCCA-accredited program, the school’s daylong racing classes help earn a Novice Racing license and the right to unlimited high-fives from pro stock-car drivers. In most cases, students drive on their own outside of classroom sessions—unless the need for up-close-instructor help is required—and the car is safe for a passenger.
Nestled in the cool shadows of Cheyenne Mountain, Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club’s 18-hole course invites clubbers with its scenic layout cleaved through high-desert terrain. Drives knife through the air with a little extra gusto, as the dry desert air—at an elevation of 6,224-feet above sea level—and golf angels conspire to add length to shots. The club’s verdant expanse also encompasses a multifaceted learning center, including a driving range with grass hitting areas, a short-game green flanked by a practice bunker, a putting green, and a three-hole children’s course. The casual dining room of Mulligan’s Grill awaits to quench hunger pangs with a menu of burgers, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and salads.
Valley Hi Golf Course’s 18 fairways have been flourishing with rye grass and deciduous trees since 1954, when golfers first began cursing the course’s tricky water hazards and bunker-guarded greens with old-timey swear words such as "leaping argyle!" The 1st hole boasts the course’s longest fairway, whereas the 7th hole stops short to become the shortest par five – the best hope for a birdie. The putting green at the 18th hole keeps golfers on their cleated toes until the very end by demanding, like medieval kings, to be approached from the left and on one’s knees. Those hoping to hone their game can take lessons with a staff headed by PGA golf pro Mike Northern, whose more than 30 years in the game have netted him a full trophy case. Before hitting the greens in the morning, golfers drop by the Caddie Shack Restaurant and Bar to fill their bellies with omelets, and those finishing up a later round can bite into sandwiches or burgers.
Course at a Glance:
John McDonough has spent his life rising to meet outdoor challenges. Years ago he began traveling the globe as a skier and rock climber, finding adventure and challenges on faraway mountains and snowy cliffs. After more than two decades on skis and 15 years scaling rocks, the AMGA Certified Single-Pitch Instructor––who once accompanied an inspiring group of blind climbers on a trip––now operates First Ascent Mountain School. The gig comes with the daily pleasure of watching beginners submit to the powerful sense of awe and accomplishment that comes with mountaineering. As First Ascent's founding director, John has assembled a small band of professional mountain guides who shared his zeal for nature and teaching. The crew touts a penchant for making the sometimes-intimidating activities of rock-terrain climbing and snowshoeing accessible to anyone who is interested.
Criterium Bicycles and the Monument Ride Center offer bikes, gear, and professional instruction to two-wheel devotees and pedal-pumping travelers. The Beginner Mountain/Comfort Bike class covers training basics, including a gear overview and the keys to proper steering, climbing, descending, and stopping on a dime, picking it up, and buying a Chiclet without ever dismounting. The Riding for Fitness and Weight Loss course teaches more-experienced riders efficient, reasonable ways to bike off calories and build strength while still relishing the ride. Because Criterium Bicycles’ instructors compete in mountain-bike racing, track racing, and Ironman Triathlons, they’re fully prepared to answer any questions, be they about gear ratios or keeping top hats atop heads while riding. Groupon holders may also apply the value to one of Criterium's two $90 classes and pay the $30 difference.
Voted Best Climbing Wall by the Gazette in 2010, CityROCK's walls and staff are tall in both experience and, depending on the instructor, height. Rock wranglers can ascend a variety of towering structures laden with cracks, overhangs, boulders, hungry baby eagles, and more. Because traditional rope climbing is a two-person team endeavor, all first-timers and returning rock-jocks must undergo a course in belaying basics. The quick class enables climbers to master the techniques while building confidence in themselves and their partners.