Atop the windswept crests of Lake Minnetonka and Lake Superior, Sail Away Sailing School's instructors lead lessons for all levels. They're certified by the American Sailing Association and trained in CPR and first aid, ensuring expertise and safety during aquatic adventures. Students can gain insight into their expertise during any of the eight courses offered. At first, sailing instructors take students out for Sailing Discovery classes where they learn the basics, take the helm, and decide if sailing is for them. The next step toward captaining a vessel are the basic keelboat or cruising courses, which teach in-depth safety, motoring, and sailing techniques.
With navigation mastered, instructors let students get even more adventurous with racing techniques classes, which cover racing starts, upwind advantage, downwind strategy, and how to outrun pirating mermaids. The advanced coastal cruising course includes overnight sailing and fire safety techniques, as well as what to do if someone goes overboard at nighttime. The team also gives private instruction and even arranges for a mix of vacation and schooling with Virgin Island courses.
In 1987, Brian McInerny was careening around Italy in a four-wheel, multipassenger Surrey cycle. An avid cyclist, he fell in love with this quirky contraption that he'd never seen in the United States and he immediately sought out the manufacturer and purchased a crate of them. Wheel Fun Rentals traces its origin to this very moment, as Brian changed his surrey-distribution company into a rental and tour company that spans the nation. In spite of a general suspicion of unicycles and their ulterior motives, the company's corporate philosophy espouses "Supporting active healthy lifestyles for our customers and maintaining a healthy environment for all." Wheel Fun's fleet of rentals now includes bicycles, multipassenger Surreys, scooters, surfboards, and paddle-based watercraft. They also promote green communities by offering free rentals to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Boasting a Gold Standard certification from the American Sailing Association, Northern Breezes Sailing School welcomes tender-footed sailors aboard a fleet of US Coast Guard?inspected boats for safe, exciting lessons. With a host of courses for beginners, intermediates, and advanced dread pirates, Northern Breezes acclimates students of all levels with both the practical and nuanced aspects of the art of wind harnessing.
Helmed by ASA instructor-evaluator Captain Thom Burns, the school has awarded more than 5,000 ASA certifications since its inception. Northern Breezes also offers camps for adventurous whippersnappers as well as boat charters and onshore courses on how to read the wind rippling across the water.
At Stillwater Boat Rentals, adventurous explorers can enjoy the scenic views of the St. Croix River while perched in a pontoon boat that seats 10–14 passengers, depending on the boat's size. Blaze new trails through thickly-forested waterways while commandeering one of Stillwater’s six novice-friendly, 22-foot pontoon rental boats, available in three styles. The Deluxe ($270 for four hours) seats 12 people and offers plush lounge seating for posteriors of all types, while the spacious Super LX ($255 for four hours) seats 14 passengers, allowing Parliament Funkadelic tribute bands to enjoy maritime merriment in between Minnesota gigs. Stillwater's third and final pontoon style, the Fish & Cruise ($270 for four hours) seats 10 passengers and, with its swivel seats and fish-finder equipment, is ideal for fishing fanatics. Starting out at the Stillwater Marina Gas Dock near historic downtown Stillwater, enthusiastic river pilots can wreak wake havoc for five miles to the north, viewing limestone bluffs, braving backwater mazes, and invading island wildernesses claimed by bearded castaways before reaching the turnaround point at the high bridge. From there, pontooners can pontificate on the origin of river spirits and disrupt random beach parties all the way down to Prescott, Wisconsin, before returning.
From the moment the sun rises over the waters of Lake Minnetonka until the moment it sets, Lake Minnetonka Marina populates the lapping waves with aquatic-recreation rentals, boat repairs, and fishing supplies. Situated on Harrison’s Bay near Seton Channel, the marina opens its outdoor doors daily for rentals of jet skis, boats, and pontoons that help cool off warm days and relax any day. Also engaging those who own their own watercrafts, the marina encourages boat owners to dock their vessels at their slips and take advantage of onsite maintenance and repair or the snack shop’s offerings. The friendly staff members at the marina’s fishing supply and bait shops also ensure that that anglers embark with the tools necessary for a successful trip or that anyone can look convincing in their new secret identity.
Approximately 6,000 years ago, when Sumerian scholars were devising some of mankind's first mathematic systems, a mile-thick sheet of ice began to melt half a world away in the region known today as Minnesota. Slowly, the glacier shrank and poured gallons of water into the land around it, leaving behind gorgeous rock formations dotted with artistic ridges and eye-catching striations. Perhaps most notable of these formations is a structure that resembles a cross, which inspired settlers to name its surrounding river St. Croix, or "holy cross."
Today, modern humans can catch a glimpse of these awesome sights thanks to Wild Mountain. Seasonal activities include skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, where snow-goers explore 100 acres of hills encompassing 26 runs, bunny slopes for newcomers, and four terrain parks for the seasoned veterans. Wild Mountain also holds daily lessons, youth and adult programs, as well as racing competitions and camps run by knowledgable and trained northerners.