Struck by wanderlust after reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels, Joe Kowalski decided to kindle his own passion for adventure by exploring the uncharted rapids of the Ottawa River with a group of fellow college students. There they discovered a multi-channel paradise—the six-mile-wide river churned through dozens of islands, jutting rocks, secluded beaches, and gorgeous waterfalls, as well as calmer paddling runs. Their stories and videos attracted guests, spurring the loosely organized group to band together in 1975 to become Wilderness Tours. To date, they have guided more than one million people safely down the river.
Today, the guides spend most of their time on white water rafting day trips, pausing in their runs to lead body-surfing and cliff-jumping adventures at some of the river's calmer spots. A riverside lunch is also provided to refuel paddlers for the second half of their run.The main resort also makes use of the stunning topography and forests that surround the river during rock-climbing, bungee jumping, and mountain biking excursions. The Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort offers luxury accommodations alongside a restaurant and bar.
Mont Farlagne has sent skiers, snowboarders, and tubers soaring down its sides for more than four decades. At first, only four trails sliced through the pine and birch forests, but Mont Farlagne has since grown to feature 22 trails, 13 of which remain open during evening hours. From December through March—when the snow is swept up and packed into coolers for the summer—visitors challenge themselves on hills rated at four different levels of difficulty, taking breaks between runs to browse through the pro shop, refuel in the cafeteria, or warm up with daily drink specials at Avalanche Pub.
RiverRun Rafting & Wilderness Resort, a once humble 12-raft outfit, has grown into a 165-acre resort that accommodates all levels of outdoorsmen with a variety of lodgings. But whitewater rafting remains the focus of the resort, with guides leading trips ranging from high-adventure surges through foaming rapids to gentle floats down the Ottawa River's middle channel. And because the resort is located on a 4,000-foot stretch of shoreline, each trip ends on the resort's beaches, meaning that rafters get more time on the water since there isn't a second round of transport back to the resort.
River Run Rafting's staff of experts even pioneered a six-person sport raft dubbed the Ultimate Adventure Sports Raft, which is capable of turning back up river eddies, reentering rapids from the side, and suspending atop whitewater the way a surfer rides a wave. Upgrades are available for an additional cost.
Carved through the tree-lined wetlands near the Mont-Tremblant Ski Resort, Golf Manitou's par-58 course showcases the artistry of architect Darrell Huxham. By design, each hole is a grassy homage to a different legendary golf course—the sand encircling the tenth green, for instance, recalls the Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the towering pine trees around the third hole mimic North Carolina's legendary Pinehurst. Unlike the thick shag carpet covering other courses' greens, slick bent grass makes for fast putts at almost every hole—including the fourth green's two-tiered tribute to Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland. Before rounds, golfers can warm up at the driving range, which sports both grass and synthetic hitting bays, or practice putting and chipping on a massive 18-hole, 30,000-square-foot practice green.
The experienced movers and shakers at Master School of Bartending impart the art of mixology on budding professionals with bilingual, hands-on libation-blending classes. A comprehensive four-hour course ($68) furnishes all necessary supplies, including alcohol, and delves into cocktail concocting by exploring various creations such as cosmos, martinis, mojitos, fancy coffees, and a number of fruit-infused shooters that students may sample. Learn to twist lemon or lime rinds into lively garnish or how to capture the eyes and interests of circus scouts by juggling bar tools and performing other dazzling tricks that fall under flairtending. With the school's advantage in job placement at many spirited establishments, recent grads are known to feel confident searching for mixology gigs or competing in grade-school science fairs after completing the course.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit that positions machines inward so that you'll have a chance to laugh with your fellow fitness frontierswomen while raising your heart rate and burning calories with a complete aerobic and strength-training workout. Hydraulic resistance machines are designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine manoeuvring and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.