Sprawling across 16 acres of mountain terrain atop Wisp Resort and the 550-acre Fork Run Recreation Area forest, Adventure Sports Center International immerses thrill seekers in a range of river sports, climbing, hiking, and other outdoor programs. On the river, experienced rafting guides—some of whom are U.S. Olympians—pilot adventurers down a one-third-mile artificial whitewater river, through four classes of changeable but authentic rapids bordered by boulders excavated onsite. Those who have reached the bottom return to the starting pool on a raft conveyor belt that defies gravity better than when Newton threw apples back into the trees. In the forest preserve, visitors frolic along rugged mile-long trails on bike or on foot, or scale natural limestone boulders and ledges. Climbing guides teach basic bouldering and rappelling while keeping the ledges clear of heckling mountain goats, or send adventurers off geocaching to hunt for a container hidden somewhere on the rocks or forest floor.
As visitors explore freely, youths hone academic and social skills through outdoor adventure and learning programs where guides teach them to raft, kayak, climb, mountain bike, and hike using only their imaginations and any required gear. The center’s artificial aquatic park and preserve have also hosted a range of festivals and competitions, including seven national whitewater championships and a bouldering championship.
The friendly experts at Willi's Ski and Snowboard Shop sling the latest in contemporary snow-sport products and maintain slope-traversing gear, earning themselves a Gold Medal Award from Ski magazine. Boot technicians help guests hunt down the precise fit for their boots, and maintenance wizards use top-notch Wintersteiger tuning machines to ensure that skis and snowboards retain their integrity during outings or unexpected ice ages.
A still figure stands silently behind a few thin trees. When he sees someone emerging from a long, metal tube several yards away, he takes aim with his marker, squeezes the trigger, and watches a blot of brightly colored paint materialize on his friend's shoulder. Such friend-turned-foe scenarios play out daily at Urban Assault, a paintball facility whose outdoor battlefields in Cecil and indoor arenas in McDonald attract players from all around the area. In the outdoor arenas, the surrounding wooded landscape adds variety of terrain and barricade possibilities, letting staffers add touches such as metal crawl tubes and other strategic bits of architecture that paintballers have come to depend on for cover. The competitors engage in open play on five such outdoor fields—each with unique features—as well as in the company's two indoor spaces that total some 30,000 square feet. Indoors, paintball contests go from sparsely adorned to almost disco-like as players stalk their enemies while traipsing across catwalks and navigating a demanding maze of fog machines, black lights, and adrenaline-boosting music inside one of the fields. The brains behind Urban Assault also offer special rates to large groups, military veterans, and members of the CIA's finger-painting brigade.
Canonsburg's Iceoplex at Southpointe isn't just a free-skating haven—it's the practice spot for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Participants can twirl and spin on the same surface as the Steel City's three-time Stanley Cup winners, building skating skills or simply body-checking casual acquaintances. In addition to the celebrated rink, a large sports arena hosts rousing matches of football, indoor soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, or basketball during league times or lessons. After working up an appetite, players can head to Jay's Sports Bar and Restaurant where a menu of classic American fare and drink specials fuels post-skating revelry.
G&G Fitness caters to both bodybuilding buffs and amateurs wishing to enhance their earthly edifices at home with a range of premium equipment, including such notable brands as Life Fitness, Octane Fitness, and Precor. As trained physique formers, G&G's friendly staff members easily hunt and lasso the ideal muscle-molding or heart-strengthening apparatus for each individual customer's specific needs. Avoid outdoor biking's headaches of potholes and projectile burritos by staying indoors on an immobile Vision Fitness E1500 ($499), an upright exercise bike that offers a comfort arc seat, contact heart-rate sensors, and easy-to-adjust pedal straps. Elliptical machines ($799+) and treadmills ($1,495+), offer great ways to calibrate cardiovascular chronometers any time of the day or night. For muscle-sculpting, home-gym systems (starting at $1,299)—which combine benches, pulley systems, and weight stacks in one space-saving package—give exercisers a way to bolster biceps and strengthen solar plexuses without having to traverse crowded gym floors.
Biketek welcomes all cyclists for supplies, repairs, and tune-ups, whether they ride recreationally or compete in triathlons. In addition to road, triathlon, mountain, single-speed, and hybrid bikes from Felt, Jamis, and Raleigh, the shop stocks a sizeable collection of gear from Giro, Sidi, Topeak, and Shimano. GU and Hammer Nutrition products, meanwhile, give riders the power necessary to win races and corral herds of stampeding tricycles. For six months after they purchase a new bicycle, buyers can come back to the shop for free maintenance and fit adjustments.
On the upkeep side of Biketek’s coin, technicians repair and maintain rides with tune-ups, part installations, and other services. They also fit bikes to riders with Body Scanning CRM technology, which uses software and noninvasive laser-pointer body measurements to determine the ideal saddle height, angle, and fore-aft position, as well as handlebar height and rotation. Although everyone can purchase a fitting session, Biketek offers one free to anyone buying a new road, triathlon, or cyclocross bike.