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20 Peak Adventures

We love storybook heroes because they dare to do things few others have done & go places others fear

Written by Michael Richardson | Healthy Magazine

“At any age, learning something new will protect you from neurological diseases and slow the processes of aging within the mind.” - Andrew Peiffer MD, PhD

Knights in shining armor fight dragons and go on perilous quests. Do our medieval champions simply want a thrill? No. Challenges and escapades require courage, and courage builds a person. People change when they step into their armor and ride off to fulfill a quest.

You too will change as you decide to embark on these journeys described on the following pages. They are more than just fun. They can truly elevate your existence to a new level and open your gaze wider to be able to see life from a fuller erspective.

Andrew Peiffer, MD, PhD, a men’s health specialist, said reaching out to try new activities can slow the processes of aging in your cardiovascular system, in your bones and muscles, and especially in the mind. Have you ever noticed that the sharpest elderly people tend to be the most active ones? This is not a coincidence.

“At any age, learning something new will protect you from neurological diseases and slow the processes of aging within the mind,” Peiffer said.

So put on your armor, be it a parachute, wet suit, or crampons, and rise to a peak adventure.

Up in the Air: Escaping Gravity

1. Skydiving

Defy the ground that has always held you bound by jumping out of an airplane with a parachute. WHY? Skydiving isn’t just a way to get your fill of adrenaline. It can be a fulfilling and liberating sport, providing challenges and escapes like no other sport can. Brian Wallace, owner of the Ogden Skydiving Center in Utah, has done over 9000 jumps. “It just seems like you are always challenging your mind and body,” he said. DO IT. Ogden Skydiving Center, skydiveogden.com, 801-627-jump, $189. Group discounts available. OTHER CONTACT: Skydive Zion, Hurricane Airport, 800 W. 2300 S., Hurricane, UT 84737, 435-635-3742

2.Indoor Skydiving

Fall for miles but never move more than a few feet. Powerful, machine-generated wind lets you hang in the air. WHY? Skydiving on average allows for 45 seconds of the free fall feeling. Wind tunnels can provide the same feeling for longer. Devin Roane, national champion skydiver and trainer at an iFly indoor skydiving facility, says the feeling of falling is exactly the same in a wind tunnel as it is in real life. “There is nothing I’ve experienced like this besides skydiving,” he said. Although it doesn’t replace the initial step out of an airplane, wind tunnels allow for a little more freedom than real skydiving, because you can go on your own, and better opportunities for learning how to literally fly your body. DO IT. iFly, 2261 Kiesel Ave. Suite #200, Ogden, UT 84401, 801-528-5348, iflyutah.com. Starts at $49.

3.Paragliding

Harness yourself to a parachute-like contraption made of fabric, and use the wind to carry you up in the air. WHY? Imagine running off the side of a hill and soaring up instead of down. It can be quite a phenomenal experience to us terrestrial creatures, according to Jonathan Jeffries, owner of Utah Paragliding. “We step out of our comfort zone and into the sky,” Jeffries said. One misconception about paragliding is that it is only a sport for thrill seekers. Jeffries said about 95 percent of people who try it come back for more, not for the thrill but for the incredible peace and tranquility of a flight. And flights are by no means little hops. The state record for distance traveled in a paraglider is 250 miles. Utah provides great places for paragliding. At places like Point of the Mountain, where wind comes up either side of the mountain, creating excellent updraft conditions. DO IT. utahparagliding.com, 801-368-5139, 448 Steep Mountain Drive, Draper, UT 84020. Starts at $80.

4.Hang Gliding

Be a pilot of the sky on glider made of fabric. WHY? Kevin Koontz always had dreams as a child where he would fly around Superman. “Hang gliding is like one of those dreams,” said Koontz, who has taught about 8000 people to hang glide through Birdman Academy in Utah, which he owns. A hang glider allows for flight without the hefty costs of airplanes and their fuel. All you need is wind and a good starting point. Utah is known worldwide for its excellent hang gliding conditions, according to Koontz. DO IT. Birdman Academy, Hang Gliding, LLC, 801-448-2494. Starts at $130. General information uhgpa.org. Other Contact Wings over Wasatch, 801-599-2555, wingsoverwasatch.com

Outdoor like Never Before

5.Trail Running

Taking cross-country running to a new, more rugged level. WHY? For those who feel confined by streets and paved paths, trail running may be your great escape. Some hiking trails double as running trails for followers of this new sport, which combines cross-country running with hiking. The sport requires good coordination to run over varying terrain, changing direction and speed constantly. DO IT. wasatchtrailrunnin.com, Contact wasatchtrailrunning@gmail.com

6.Ice Climbing

A new side of climbing, ice climbing provides new challenges and a change in your average climb. WHY? For those living in cold climates, ice is most often seen as an enemy. But many people have begun to see ice in a new light with ice climbing. It involves techniques of rock climbing and mountain summiting, with ropes, crampons, ice picks and other tools for adventure. Those experienced in the sport say it’s addictive and enthralling, as light shoots through the ice creating all the colors of the rainbow. Ice climbing is best from December to February in Utah. DO IT. utahmountainadventures.com/ice.shtml

7.Telemarking

A new form of downhill skiing, telemarking is skiing with your heel not attached, like with cross-country skis. Turning is done by a process of kneeling and lifting the heels. WHY? Telemarkers say that they love what they do because it takes skill, it isn’t about being competitive, and it allows for great control. DO IT. telemarktips.com

8.Paddleboarding

Bring the beach a little closer with a surfboard that you can stand up on and paddle like a canoe. WHY? You may never feel so versatile on the water as when you paddle around standing up on a paddleboard. Just find a body of water and dominate it, getting excellent exercise at the same time. DO IT. Get a paddleboard at paddleboarddirect.com. Starts at $799.

9.River Boarding

Dominate the river in a whole new way: laying on a buoyant board with fins on your feet for propulsion. WHY? This new river sport is beginning to grow all over the U.S., because putting yourself in the middle of rapids rather than floating on top of them is quite the rush. Usually done with a helmet and other protection, this sport is great for thrill seekers. DO IT. ripboard.com.Boards start at $329.

10.Bouldering

It’s rock climbing without ropes and without the danger. Bouldering usually involves small climbs, or longer horizontal climbs, with little chance of a dangerous fall. A crash pad is usually placed underneath the climber, as he or she works on new moves and technique. WHY? Climbing equipment is expensive, and you cannot summit just any rock or mountain you see. Bouldering allows you to simply drive somewhere, step out of your car and start climbing. It is an excellent climbing sport for those who want a challenge with established skill levels to show your progression and ability. DO IT. bouldering.com for shoes and crash pads.

11.Kiteboarding

A new sensation bursting on the water, land and snow scene, where a person uses a large parachute-looking kite to propel his or herself. WHY? Snowboard lovers, skaters and wakeboarders alike can join together to try something new. Uphill, downhill or off the hill, parachute-like kites liberate the boarder in ways never thought possible. Do it kiteutah.com

12. Wakesurfing

You just need a boat with an inboard motor, and you can surf its wake. WHY? You don’t have to travel a thousand miles to surf. You start by being pulled along close to the boat with a tow rope, then when you catch a wave, you can drop the rope and just ride the boat’s wake. Many people will adjust the boat to make a bigger wake for better, easier surfing. DO IT. discoverboating.com, search “wakesurf.”

13.Geocaching

Treasure hunting is not dead, and “X” can still mark the spot with geocaching. People hide containers using a GPS system, leaving them for other people to find with their GPS system. Usually people will leave some kind of note pad and writing utensil so people who have found the cache can write their name and leave it behind for others. WHY? Geocaches are currently in over 100 countries and all seven continents (that’s right, even Antarctica). This is probably because the activity is exhilarating, combining orienteering with high tech and physical ability. DO IT. geocaching.com, find caches in your area!

14.Kitesurfing

In 2006, over 110,000 wakeboarding kites were sold. This exhilarating sport requires no boat, only some wind, a kite and a board. Kitesurfers will propel themselves through the water by holding a handle attached to a parachute-like kite high in the air. DO IT. kiteutah.com

Urban Sport Uprisings

15.Slacklining

Tightrope walking is being reborn in the form of a sport called slacklining. Part of a balancesport revolution, slacklining involves walking along a tight line of webbing anchored at two ends. The sport has been attributed to two rock climbers in Yosemite, California, who liked to walk along chains bordering parking lots. WHY? The sport has room for those simply seeking recreation and those seeking higher thrills. Professional slackliners try to find the most daring places to walk across their webbing. The highest slackline walked to date was in Norway at over 3,200 feet in the air. ANYBODY Many find pleasure without the heights. Some enjoy trick-lining, or performing spins and jumps while on the line, which requires great balance. Any two trees, poles, rocks or anchors will do, allowing for great versatility in the sport. Setting up a line is difficult and can be done many ways. The easiest way is with a ratchet system, and there are companies that make slack lines with ratchets, like Gibbon. Another way to set up a line is with a system of five caribiners, where you make your own pulley system to tighten the line. DO IT. Type in “how to set up a slackline” on the Internet and there will be hundreds of videos explaining the process clearly. TO LEARN MORE: slackline.com

16.Parkour/ Freerunning

All you need for this sport is a city and your feet. With heavy origins in France, followers of this sport have discovered new life in cement, bricks and buildings by jumping off, through and over them. WHY? Traces of the sport can be seen all over the world, from Hollywood to Paris, as experienced parkour practicers flip off buildings, climb complexes and seem to defy normal human ability. Those new to he sport will be inspired by viral videos and can begin parkour at the most basic levels. It is non-competitive, with the purpose simply being to see how to traverse urban obstacles in the quickest way. DO IT. jumputah.com

17.Free Lining

Freeline skates are made of two wheels on an aluminum frame, not attached to the feet, like two separate little skateboards. It feels like skateboarding, inline skating, snowboarding and surfing all at once. To move, you criss-cross your legs back and forth. WHY? Yet another progressing sport with followers all around the world, new freeline tricks are perfected every year. Be part of the movement. DO IT. freelineskates.com

Fresh Sports You Should Have Played by Now

18.Futsal

A new dimension of soccer has burst onto the Utah scene. WHY? Five-on-five soccer played on a smaller court and with smaller goals, futsal is a fast-paced game that provides excellent entertainment not only to watch but also to play, regardless of skill level. There are already world cups for futsal, drawing thousands of spectators with their lightning quick foot speed and incredible control. DO IT. utahfutsal.com, futsal.com

19.Shotgun Clay Pigeon Shooting

Shoot a shotgun at ceramic disks thrown in the air by machine or by hand. WHY? Just because you aren’t into hunting doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of shooting. Clay pigeon shooting is enthralling and very popular. Shooting competitions all over the country allow incredibly skilled shotgun marksmen and women to compete. This is a great shooting sport for beginners as well. DO IT. claytargetsonline.com to find a location near you.

20.Frisbee Golf/Disc Golf

Played much like regular golf,frisbee golf provides new challenges of coordination. The sport has become so popular that there is even a Professional Disc Golfer’s Association (PDGA). There are courses throughout Utah, which provide, instead of holes, a basket to throw the discs into, with chains to stop the frisbee once you hit the mark. Do it find a course at utahvalleyfrisbeegolf.com or dgcoursereview.com

21.Bocce

As another non-contact sport that provides new challenges and ways to enjoy the outdoors, bocce is an international game played by skillfully throwing a number of heavy balls at a target. You can play in teams or one-on-one. One side throws the target ball, called a jack, and then whoever gets their throwing ball closest to the jack wins. You can either knock other balls away from the jack or try to get close yourself. WHY? Be cautioned because the sport, though simple, is addicting. Originating in Italy, the sport is now played all over Europe and South America. The United States also has its own Bocce Federation. DO IT. bocce.com

Article Reviewed: May 29, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

Michael Richardson is an experienced writer, reporter, and interviewer. His writing has appeared in many publications, including KSL, Deseret News, BYU's Family Connections Magazine, and now, Healthy Magazine. Michael is involved in promoting the ideas of social entrepreneurship and solution journalism. And, when he's not saving the planet through his social journalistic ventures, Michael revels in exploring the latest developments in the field of healthcare, its history, its advancements, and where we will be tomorrow.

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