Made up of wooden footbridges, ziplines, and demanding rope courses, each of the 5 aerial trails at The Adventure Park at Storrs winds higher and higher above the forest floor. The color-coded pathways were built with climbers of all skill levels in mind, ranging from low-to-the-ground beginners' courses to the more advanced skyward trajectories. Safety orientations precede every climb, upon which participants embark while strapped into a climbing system that always remains securely connected to a safety line. The park strives to keep its surrounding forest and trees healthy by making sure light, air, and moisture flow freely along each trail.
When slender tree trunks don't offer enough protection, paintballers dive behind barrels, inch along behind rough-hewn wooden barricades, or crouch behind a dense pile of sticks. These are the barriers that ALLSTARR Paintball's playing field offers paintball warriors as they battle for supremacy. As soon as they don the necessary protective gear and grab a paintball marker, competitors can get out on the field and start splatting the field—and their opponents—with color.
North Ridge Mountain Guides founder Jamie Leahy first fell in love with scaling peaks while tackling the heights of Mount Washington. The Professional Climbing Instructors' Association–certified guru has since defied gravity on inclines of ice and rock around the United States and in Ecuador, summiting peaks of more than 19,000 feet to touch the sky and harvest his crops of clouds by following a simple philosophy: climb hard, climb safe. This mantra guides his approach to teaching the ins and outs of belaying and rappelling and steers the expeditions he leads up the less-traveled routes of Mount Monadnock. He also shares the art of ice climbing with pupils during introductory courses that delve into subjects such as crampon placement, swinging an ice axe, and how to read the ice, which often obscures its messages in Wingdings fonts.
Climbers cling to the carefully placed hand grips, strategizing their way up the side of the rock-like cliff. They have come to Watertown to conquer the Central Rock Gym's 28,000 square feet of indoor mountains, climbing walls reaching 50' in height. The new Watertown location with temperature control and air-conditioning is one of Central Rock Gym's four indoor facilities spread throughout New England. At each, experts guide novice climbers through introductory classes or supervise more seasoned members scaling the walls' highest heights. Memberships unlock access to all four facilities, gear for the first month, and the use exercise equipment and weights. In addition to climbing and conditioning, members can also take advantage of fitness classes ranging from yoga and Pilates to Zumba and spin sessions. Gyms also welcome non-members, whether they're trying things out with a day pass or interested in events including birthday parties, summer camps, and corporate team-building breakouts.
Michael Donofrio, the founder and lead guide of Vertical World Adventures, maneuvers his limbs up vertical surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Since 1996, he has guided thousands of people on ice, rock, and mountaineering trips to destinations as close as Crow Hill in Leominster State Forest and as remote as the far-flung mountains of the American West. No matter the theme or location of the exhibition, Michael and his team of seasoned guides have successfully guided outdoor adventure trips for people of all ages and experience levels.
In addition to plotting trips and staying safe, guides also make sure that their charges have the skills to surmount even the craggiest cliffs through a full slate of climbing classes. Scaled for all experience levels, classes focus on overcoming challenges and improving communication skills. Popular courses include Basic Mountaineering, Learn to Ice Climb Locally, and Self-Rescue Skills, which imparts techniques for escaping the belay and using prusiks to ascend the rope.
New Britain-Berlin YMCA's 90,000-square-foot complex helps members improve their lives through community programs, personal training programs, and a variety of fitness facilities, including a new massage studio. Besides bulking up on full circuit of Nautilus strength equipment or powering through Precor treadmills, steppers, and ellipticals, visitors can join friends for games of basketball in the double gymnasium or chuck tomatoes at the walls of five on-site racquetball courts. The clear waters of the 25-yard swimming pool parallel the mirrored walls of an 800-square-foot fitness studio, where members can partake in several health and wellness programs throughout the week.