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OGDEN - Ten-year-old Rylee Kiernan winced as an agile teenage boy surfing on a boogie board fell flat on his face in the turbulent water, whose strong current whisked him to the back of the Flowrider in the new Salomon Center.
Her first thought: "That hurt."
Her second thought: "I want to do that."
Developers of the Salomon Center - which includes a vertical wind tunnel, a climbing wall, a Gold's Gym and a FatCats entertainment facility complete with bowling alley - are counting on northern Utahns to mirror Kiernan's reaction and her desire to try these active recreation features.
Ogden City officials also are eager to see the public become devotees of the Salomon Center which, along with an adjacent Larry H. Miller Megaplex 13 theater complex, are hubs of The Junction, a downtown mall in which the city is investing $40 million.
"This will clearly become a regional draw. It's unique. There's nothing like this around," Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey said Thursday, a day before the theater complex opens and two weeks after the adventure center opened its doors to customers.
"This will be a key part of the whole mall coming about. We had to have the Salomon Center for Larry Miller to come in, and both of these companies to be involved for The Boyer Co." to build The Junction. Boyer and the city will share lease revenue from the mall, which will include two office buildings and two condominium towers.
Tours of the Salomon Center, named in honor of the ski company moving to Ogden as part of Amer Sports Corp.'s relocation of its North American headquarters, were given Thursday.
Gold's Gym and FatCats will manage the building, whose tall, glassy entrance houses a climbing wall where instructor Chris Grijalva was providing a climbing lesson to the Warner brothers of Ogden, 6-year-old Preston and Carson, 5.
Around the corner from the 55-foot wall was the Flowrider whose submerged nozzles at the front shoot strong streams of water out and over a hump of trampoline-like material, allowing people to lay, sit or stand on a boogie board as if they are coming over the crest of an ocean wave.
Until they crash.
"We've had a really positive response to this. People just love it," said Casey Nielsen, vice president of operations at Gold's Gym. "When one person falls, the next person comes in. Half the fun is watching people fall."
Their pratfalls can be seen fully by diners at Costa Vida restaurant, which shares a glass wall with the Flowrider.
Upstairs, Evan Fitzgerald, 22, of Mountain Green and 21-year-old Brett Parke of Ogden flew up and down in the vertical wind tunnel, propelled up by gale-force winds but able to simulate a skydiving free fall by tucking in their arms and legs.
These instructors flew on their bellies, on their backs and in seated positions, did tricks and even swooped down and pressed their faces against a glass enclosure, inches away from observers on the other side.
Fitzgerald acknowledged that his first flight in the wind tunnel was "sketchy. It was hard to know where your arms and legs were and how to keep them balanced." But after an extensive training regimen, added Parke, "once you master something, the fun thing is doing something new."
Not all of the Salomon Center's activities are quite so demanding. FatCats has a 30-lane bowling center, a pizza restaurant, a 9-hole putt-putt golf course with a pirate theme and black lighting, a virtual roller coaster, an arcade with more than 100 games, eight pool tables and a bar with beer on tap.
All are in close proximity to one another, said FatCats fun director Amy Hutchins, so that "everybody in a family can do what they want together, and at their own levels."