Over the course of 50 years, the family that runs Helm of Sun Valley has amassed an inventory of top-shelf gear for wintry recreation and summertime watersports. Before stocking their shelves, the shop's athletic staffers take skis from Alpina, kiteboards from Cabrinha, and water skis from Connelly for test spins to appraise their performance. Standout sports gear snags a spot inside the store, along with apparel and accessories. Employees also rent out and tune up equipment. They specialize in fitting snowboard boots to feet, sometimes fashioning custom ZipFit liners by molding foam around arches. New kiteboard owners can master the sport by attending lessons, during which instructors teach basics on land before waving pupils onward into frothy crests.
Shipman Swim School's recipe for a happily paddling child involves positivity, personal attention, and a couple of polar bears. The bears are part of a mural on the deck wall, frolicking with playful otters in a frothy sea. Combined with the soothing 92-degree heat of the indoor pool, the cheerful creatures encapsulate founder Stacy Shipman's commitment to creating a welcoming learning environment for students of all swimming backgrounds. The former competitive swimmer stresses safety and encouragement in her curriculum, imparting confidence to kids who might have previously avoided the deep end.
The school's instructors—all of whom are CPR- and first-aid-certified—lead students through a program that builds skills comfortably and gradually. During stage-1 group classes, instructors first acquaint kids with the water through face-immersion exercises, rather than challenging them to shake hands with their own reflections. As pupils progress through stages 2, 3, and 4, they learn kicks, gliding techniques, and strokes ranging from the basic freestyle to the butterfly. The teacher-to-student ratio never dips below 3:1––and most classes are made up of three students and two instructors––ensuring that each swimmer receives individual guidance. The staff also leads private lessons and Parent and Me sessions, which engage toddlers as young as six months in safe games, songs, and movements.
When crafting custom-fit bicycles, the staff members at CyclePath focus on empty space. To select the perfect frame, wheels, and components for each customer, they observe how his or her body moves through the air in free motion, rather than relying on a database of average body types. The result is a cycle that is uniquely suited to the customer's body and movements. In addition to building custom cycles, they rent out high-end road and mountain bikes and sell pre-made bicycles, allowing patrons to immediately explore the Bay Area's scenic side streets. They keep cycles running smoothly with comprehensive tune-ups and help out bikers who have accidentally pedaled into a realistic-looking mural with a list of repairs.
Dr. Aruna Chinnakotla has her feet in two seemingly opposite worlds. During the day, she's a primary care physician, studying and utilizing medical science to help others feel their best. But when she leaves her office, she trades her stethoscope for sequins, helping to energize others through Bollywood fitness dance. Fusion Beatz combines the doctor's passion for dance and medicine in a fitness program that exercises every muscle in the body. These high-impact dance moves also help students avoid injury unlike typical exercise regimes, which include cartwheeling through rings of fire.
Whether meant to scale mountains or drift down street shoulders, the mounts and cycling gear at Summit Bicycles ease any odyssey atop two wheels. The extensive selection ranges from Trek bikes for road and mountain to hybrid and commuter bikes that trump getting to work by hiding overnight in a coworker's trunk. Well aware of the importance of finding the ideal frame, the store lends out high-end bikes for test runs via its demo program, allowing riders to get a feel for the saddle's political bent before taking it home to meet their parents. For current owners, Summit's technicians repair and tune up already-owned bikes and help browsers find accessories such as tire-patching kits, electronic heart-rate monitors, and apparel from Bontrager and Pearl Izumi.