It’s 10 degrees outside. Rooftops are dusted with snow. Everyone is dressed in ski jackets. What a perfect time to go surfing, right? It is if you’re heading to the Salomon Center in Ogden, Utah, home to a FlowRider indoor surfing facility that’s powered by 10,000 gallons of flowing water.
FlowRider is capable of replicating ocean waves. // (c) 2014 Salomon Center
From the spectator area, I watched on as indoor surfers tackled FlowRider’s stationary “soft riding surface” that’s covered with rushing water in order to mimic ocean waves. Gravity enables indoor surfers to drop in, carve and climb the face of the simulated wave — no paddling necessary. This is simulacrum done well.
After watching a surfer do 360s and catch air, I was ready for a little adventure of my own. I headed upstairs to Salomon Center’s iFly facility. Here, guests can experience freefalling in a vertical wind tunnel, traditionally used by the military to train skydivers.
Flights for first-timers start at $49 and include two flights that last for a minute each. On my second round, the instructor wanted to have a little fun. He spun me around rapidly, then propelled both of us up the wind tunnel. We just kept climbing and climbing. It felt as if we soared up to 40 feet (although it was probably more like 20 feet) before descending slowly downward, in calculated, carousel-like turns. Without question, freefalling is the best part of the skydiving experience, and Ogden’s iFly experience provides one heck of a rush.