Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Blanketed in wall-to-wall trampolines, Sky High Sports delights barefoot fun-seekers with springy terrain and an exclusive court for jumpers 8 and younger. Guests can hone front flips, back flips, and belly flops during intense free-bounce sessions. Each trampoline comes equipped with a specially designed spring-loaded frame and thick, 2-inch safety pads that grant patrons a landing cushier than a corner office at a marshmallow factory. Stuffed with blocks of spongy, body-molding material, a foam pit dares treasure-seekers to fling themselves in or scour its depths for the lost contents of bygone pockets. Pintsize aerialist posses can safely practice their synchronized Salchows on 360 degrees of trampoline walls while court supervisors watch from the sidelines and award hard-earned praise with oversize scorecards.
Sky High also offers AIRobics fitness classes and monthly dodge-ball tournaments to help jumpers explore the outermost stratospheres of trampoline possibilities.
M2 Sports supplies adrenaline seekers the skills and gear to temper waves, powder, or concrete. M2's snowboarding division carries name-brand planks from brands such as Forum and Lib Tech, as well as all colors and styles of snow-ready gear. A Smith Holt men's snow helmet ($89.99) protects the brain’s ever-expanding library of memorized zip codes, and Volcom Believer men's snow gloves ($109.99) keep hands from making skin-to-snow contact. Skate enthusiasts can peruse an exhaustive array of decks, long boards, and protective gear, tuning out chatty crossing guards with Skullcandy’s iCon 2 on-ear headphones ($29.95), whose headbands are lined with rubber grips to prevent slips midride. M2 also equips wakeboarders with name-brand gear from Ronix and Hyperlite, and fosters future enthusiasts through lessons and summer wake camp held at a private lake.
Messages such as Are You Game? and Bang are scrawled in glow-in-the-dark graffiti on the black-lit walls of one of Indoor Tactical Sports' paintball and airsoft fields. The two-story facility, which declares itself the only indoor paintball arena in Houston, is air-conditioned to a crisp 65 degrees and houses a total of four fields where players can shoot at their friends with no-cleanup Reball paintball pellets or BBs from Airsoft guns. To ensure fair play, one referee for every 10 players patrols the fields and prevents participants from shooting their opponents in vulnerable spots, such as the working screenplay they carry around. In the gear shop, players can rent all the gear necessary to play, including guns, masks, ammunition, and air canisters. Visitors can also buy equipment or bring in personal guns and gear for repairs.
Inside Texas Rock Gym, over 14,000 square feet of climbable surface wait to be gripped and clambered over by novice and expert climbers, who navigate routes that are regularly altered to keep things fresh. The gym’s mandatory orientation ensures that each visitor observes proper safety measures during their climb. Following orientation, climbers can strap themselves to a harness at one of more than 40 rope stations and begin top-rope climbing up lofty heights, while more advanced climbers lead trips up over complex courses or the stone faces of former presidents. Climbers can also skip the harnesses altogether and try their hand at bouldering across height-restricted surfaces, or head to one of the gym’s Tai Chi or Yoga classes.
True to its eponymous mascot, Armadilla Lanes has burrowed itself into the entertainment scenes of both Houston and Pasadena. Both facilities buzz throughout the week with organized league play, which invites bowlers of all ages to rack up strikes and spares and compete in themed competitions. Outside of league play, the alleys also indulge casual competitors with standard pick-up games, special music nights featuring live DJs, and with optional bumpers outfitted on every lane. And for truly casual guests, each alley’s full-service snack bar dishes out burgers, pizzas, and nachos, all of which give fingers a break from having to hold a ball or point with conviction at unblinking pins.