A man runs through the forest, pausing briefly to take in his surroundings: rolling mountains and verdant trees as far as the eye can see. Suddenly, a twig cracks, breaking the silence, and the pristine view dissolves within a cloud of paint. The game is over.
At its outpost within the mountains, Smoky Mountain Paintball has converted the area's natural terrain into outdoor paintball fields. Here, players weave between trees and peak over walls in search of enemy combatants. The simulated battlefields are also a strategist’s dream; referees take requests, and will set up almost any type of game provided that players adhere to the rules and don't require a human-sized chessboard.
Away from the colorful warzone, a pro shop brims with camouflage and Tippmann markers, In addition to paint-fueled grudge matches, combatants can also settle scores with Smoky Mountain Paintball’s expanded arsenal of Airsoft and laser-tag battles.
The riders and technicians at Harper's Bike Shop love bicycles, and their love for riding is matched only by the joy they get from helping other cyclists. For 50 years, Harper’s has outfitted riders for the pathways, streets, and mountain trails around Knoxville. The crew helps riders find bikes to suit their riding needs, and perform custom bicycle-fitting services to ensure a great match. In addition, the crew repairs and rebuilds ailing cycles with a complete list of services that includes adjusting brakes, truing wheels, cleaning drivetrains, overhauling suspensions, and kicking some sense into tires.
Ski Scuba Center is an aquatic activity hub where undersea sojourners purchase gear and learn to reach new oceanic depths. With more than 50 years of diving experience among them, instructors prepare flippered feet to scuba, swim, and lifeguard, edifying water-goers and offering certification during private and group classes. The Center also sends its snorkel constituents to Florida and the Caribbean on scuba trips and presents a number of tips on equipment-servicing treatments, such as filling tanks with air and feeding sugar cubes to well-behaved goggles.
Coal Creek Armory's defense experts supervise a 10-lane indoor range where civilians, law enforcement, and the military hone their firearms handling. A triple-filtration system extracts discharged particles and pumps back out clean air to keep shooters comfortable. Light markers at 7, 15, and 25 yards illuminate the electronically placed targets, and an armored backstop turns the sounds of bullet impact into the pleasing notes of a xylophone. Additionally, every guest gets complimentary eye and ear protection, and a flat rate for handgun rentals lets sportsmen swap out and experience different models. Beyond overseeing the range, Coal Creek's team also leads courses such as basic handgun safety, advanced marksmanship, and training tailored to security officers. The armory also encompasses a pro shop, where onsite gunsmiths repair and customize firearms.
When students take a spin class at Any Body Fitness, they know they’re pedaling atop sleek, professional-grade cycles. That’s because the staff at Any Body Fitness contains more than just certified spin instructors; in fact, staffers’ primary task is to scout out and sell top-shelf cardio, strength, and aerobic equipment. The employees outfit everything from modest home gyms to sprawling commercial wellness centers with ellipticals, treadmills, and weightlifting benches. So, when they select the stationary bikes that instructors use to punch up spinners’ heart rates, they do so with a solid understanding of the industry. Personal trainers, nutritionists, and active-lifestyle mentors act as equally knowledgeable resources for clients seeking wellness help outside of spin class.
Behind its simple name and unassuming façade, Adventure Scuba Diving conceals a PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center. Inside, students learn to swim underwater from a dozen diving instructors and divemasters, including Mike Goss, who has the highest training certification available in the PADI system. As a course director, Paul does more than teach first-time students, though he still loves to pop into an Open Water–certification class now and then. He spends most of his time training future trainers, and making sure his fellow instructors make good decisions on their dive trips.