The Hills Health Club and Wellnes Center is closing

Sam Fullilove and Anita Smithson exercise at the Hills Health Club and Wellness Center in this file photo by Laura Skelding.
Sam Fullilove and Anita Smithson exercise at the Hills Health Club and Wellness Center in this file photo by Laura Skelding.

One of Austin’s longest-operating fitness centers is shutting its doors.

The Hills Health Club and Wellness Center, 4615 Bee Cave Road, will close effective Oct. 31. The club sent the following email to its members on Friday:

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“Dear Hills Members,

It is with great sadness, that after 37 years serving the Westbank area of Austin, The Hills Health Club and Wellness Center will be closing, effective October 31, 2016. We are honored to have had the privilege of serving this fine community.

Over the years, the growth of Austin has had countervailing effects on various aspects of our business. Drive times have increased dramatically, which has reduced our trade area. There have been a myriad of cost increases, particularly with respect to taxes, wages, utilities, and insurance. The health club industry has become more stratified, resulting in competition from more specialized competitors, as well as low priced competitors. Our one-size fits all model, without the ability to raise dues price to absorb cost increases ultimately caused us to re-think the best use for the main building.

We hope to announce very shortly a new use and tenant for the main health club building. The sportsplex will also be closed at the end of the month.

Your membership will remain active through the end of October. You will not be required to send us 30 days written notice, as required by the Membership Agreement. On October 31st, your membership will be automatically cancelled. Any members with prepaid annual dues will be refunded any remaining, unused time. These checks will be mailed at the end of October.

Even today there are many loyal, active, long-time members of The Hills. We sincerely thank you and regret the inconvenience this will cause you.

We thank all members and former members who have entrusted us with their exercise, rehab, and relaxation needs over the years. We are especially thankful for the service of our wonderful employees. We will be forever thankful that we were able to share such a significant part of our lives with you all. We wish everyone the best in their pursuit of health and wellness.

Yours in Good Health,

The Hills Management”

Hyatt Regency hosts free Pints & Poses class on Monday

The Hyatt Regency's Pints and Poses series continues with free yoga and a beer on Monday. Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency
The Hyatt Regency’s Pints and Poses series continues with free yoga and a beer on Monday. Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency

The Hyatt Regency Austin’s cool “Pints & Poses” series continues Monday with a yoga class, a pop-up shop featuring active apparel, and a glass of beer for all participants.

Austin yogi Ferny Barcelo will teach the hour-long, vinyasa flow yoga class in the Texas Ballroom on the second floor of the hotel, located at 208 Barton Springs Road. Trey Tarwater, a local yoga DJ, will provide meditative music.

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The free yoga class starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Texas Ballroom. Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency

The event is open to Austin residents and hotel guests. Participants should bring their own yoga mats. Everyone gets a coupon for a free beer at the hotel’s Marker 10 bar. Food and drink specials will also be available at Marker 10 after the event.

Nanga Yoga, an Austin-based yoga mat and towel company, will host a pop-up shop from 6 until 8 p.m.

The class starts at 6:30 p.m. Parking in the hotel’s parking garage is free for participants.

The free yoga classes take place every second Monday of the month. For more information call (512) 477-1234 or go here. http://www.austin.hyatt.com

Celebrate National Day of Adventure on Oct. 14

Pam LeBlanc, left, flies with the help of flight instructor Aaron Necessary at iFly in January 2013. Jay Janner/American-Statesman
Pam LeBlanc, left, flies with the help of flight instructor Aaron Necessary at iFly in January 2013. Jay Janner/American-Statesman

 

I’m all for adding more adventure to your life, whether it comes in big doses – I just backpacked the John Muir Trail – or tiny nuggets – I jumped into Barton Springs this morning.

Men’s Journal has proclaimed Oct. 14 the National Day of Adventure, and I’m on board.

Take that day to do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Jump in Barton Springs. Ride your bicycle to work. Go skydiving in an indoor building. Climb at an indoor rock gym.

Two Austin businesses – iFly Austin and Crux Climbing Center – are participating by offering specials to customers who mention National Day of Adventure.

Even better, visitors can meet professional skier and BASE jumper Matthias Giraud, who knows a lot about how to add adventure to life. Known as “Super Frenchie,” the 33-year-old athlete grew up skiing in Evreux, France. He’s known for combining BASE jumping with skiing, and was the first to ski BASE jump off the Matterhorn in Switzerland (not that we’re suggesting you do that.)

He’ll be talking at noon Friday at the iFLY Tunnel about his career and the importance of adding adventure to your life.

Mention Men’s Journal or National Day of Adventure when you make a reservation to fly on Friday at iFly Austin, 13265 U.S. Highway 183, to get 25 percent off a flight. A basic two-flight package usually costs $69.95; the discounted rate is $54. The indoor skydiving company is currently making a donation to the Make A Wish for every flight sold.

Mention Men’s Journal or National Day of Adventure at Crux Climbing Center, 121 Pickle Road, to receive half off day passes there.

NLand Surf Park announces Friday opening

NLand Surf Park, shown here in a rendering provided by the company, will open Friday.
NLand Surf Park, shown here in a rendering provided by the company, will open Friday.

It’s time to wax your surf boards, people.

NLand Surf Park, the massive surf park located east of Austin, announced today that it will open on Friday.

The park’s opening had been delayed by a legal disagreement about whether the park needed a swimming pool permit. NLand apparently reached an agreement with local and state officials over how to regulate the 14-acre lagoon, filled with rainwater collected on the property.

Statesman reporter Elizabeth Findell is checking into the specifics of that agreement.

Doug Coors, CEO of NLand Surf Park. Courtesy Kenny Braun
Doug Coors, CEO of NLand Surf Park. Courtesy Kenny Braun

According to NLand officials, the park uses bio-filtration, permanent media filtration, ozone and chlorine to treat its water.

“As a surfer and an engineer, NLand has been a dream of mine for the past 20 years. We have had our share of challenges, but they are behind us and I look forward to sharing our waves with the world,” NLand founder Doug Coors said in a press release.

Wave-making machines will roll out all kinds of waves, from head-high giants for experts to gentle lappers for kids and beginners.

The park will also serve locally-sourced food at its on-site restaurant, Blue Prairie. A surf shop will peddle high-end surf gear, including boards and surf accessories.

The park will initially operate from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 2 to 7 p.m. Monday. Book passes and learn more about coaching here or call 512-806-1900.

REI-Fit City hike series heads to Pedernales Falls State Park

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We saw dung beetles, admired Hill Country vistas, checked out the primitive backpacking sites and ticked off about 5 miles of easy hiking during yesterday’s trip to Pedernales Falls State Park, the latest episode in the REI Best Hill Country Hikes with Fit City series.

Cody Ackerman, head of REI’s Outdoor School in Austin, led the excursion to the park, where we struck out on the Wolf Mountain Trail. (No wolves here, at least not in 2016.)

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The trail runs smooth and wide from the parking lot, drifting ever so slightly downhill and crossing several small creeks. We stopped at one to inspect three different types of footprints – dog, raccoon and something else, maybe a fox.

That’s when Ackerman, a master naturalist, gave us a few tips on how to tell the difference between dog tracks and mountain lion tracks. A dog’s print features four close-together toe pads that are all pointed forward. The heel pad is not much larger than one of the toe pads. A mountain lion’s track features four toe pads that are more separated than a dog’s pads, and arrayed in more of an arch pattern. The heel pad is much larger than one of the cat’s individual toe pads.

We didn’t find any mountain lion tracks, in case you’re wondering.

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We learned, too, that ashe juniper (or cedar) trees that are sloughing strips of bark from their trunks are at least 40 years old. The endangered golden-cheeked warbler uses that bark to make its nest.

We got a close look at a collection of water striders gliding across a small pool in a creek, and watched a dung beetle push its marble-sized load along the trail.

We never made it to the main waterfall at the park, because we ran out of time. That’s OK. The best hiking trails at Pedernales aren’t around the falls, although they’re definitely worth the quick walk down to see them if you haven’t done that. (They’re flowing nicely now, too, with all the rain we’ve had in Central Texas.)

The hikes, a collaboration between Fit City and REI, take place on Mondays.
The hikes, a collaboration between Fit City and REI, take place on Mondays.

If you head to the park this month, expect traffic delays. Crews are doing work on the main road leading to the entrance. (We took Fitzhugh Road instead, to avoid the work.)

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The restrooms at headquarters are currently out of commission, too. You’ll have to use the port-o-lets if you need to go.

Stay tuned for details about our the next REI Best of Hill Country Hikes with Fit City. We always do them on Monday mornings, because I’d rather be out hiking than sitting at a desk working.

If you go: Pedernales Falls State Park is located at 2585 Park Road 6026 near Johnson City. Admission is $6 for adults; ages 12 and under free. For more information call (830) 868-7304 or go herehttp://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls.