Salt Pump Climbing Gym

Extreme Indoors

Want to get your kicks year round without the risk of frostbite? Stay social this winter with Portland’s best indoor activities. 

If you love the high-octane activity of summer in Maine, don’t lose your momentum over the colder months. These three Portland locales host communities of indoor thrill-seekers who find their adrenaline fix within four walls.

Salt Pump Climbing Gym

Salt Pump Climbing Gym

A 13,000 sq.ft. Climbing Gym in Scarborough. Photo: Salt Pump Climbing Gym

“Climbing is all about continual education,” said Freddie Wilkinson, co-founder of Salt Pump Climbing Gym in Scarborough. Think you lost the ability to scale anything significant in the third grade? Wilkinson believes the innate ability can be reestablished with a little practice. “Every week we see people surprise themselves by being complete natural climbers,” said Wilkinson. “It’s a fun process to rediscover.” All it takes “is a little flexibility of body and mind and perseverance.”

The 13,000-square-foot climbing gym launched in 2015 with a mission to bring the authentic athletic experience of outdoor climbing to the city, featuring top-rope, lead climbing, and bouldering on walls up to 45 feet high. With 100 new bouldering sequences and new routes set each week, there’s plenty of “continual education” to enjoy, whether you’re tackling green circle or double black diamond climbs. “By nature it’s a sociable sport,” said Wilkinson. “You typically work in pairs, and everyone spends time on the mats discussing route or techniques.” Salt Pump holds daily Intro to Climbing classes, ($40/2 hours) as well as ongoing coaching and outdoor technique training sessions, so no matter what level you’re at, you can keep climbing higher.

Salt Pump Climbing Gym
36 Haigis Pkwy
Scarborough, ME 04074
(207) 219-8145

Urban Air, South Portland, Maine

Photo courtesy of Urban Air

Urban Air

If you’re suffering cabin fever this winter, there are worse ways to unleash some energy than at a venue of “wall-to-wall trampolines.” Urban Air in South Portland has just that, plus foam pits, trampoline dodgeball and basketball courts, an obstacle course, and an enormous air mattress known as “The Drop Zone.” The amusement park is family-friendly, featuring a jungle gym and plenty of soft landings for the little ones as well as endless opportunities for older kids, including Friday night middle school socials from 8-11 p.m. Adults don’t have to sit on the sidelines either.

“We welcomed an 83-year-old grandfather onto the trampolines last year,” said Event Coordinator Will Kriger. “He had a great time!”

Trampolining is a serious workout. Challenge friends to a game of bounce basketball and you’re guaranteed to go harder and higher than at any regular gym.

Urban Air
333 Clarks Pond Pkwy
South Portland, ME 04106
(207) 543-4231

The Axe Pit, South Portland Maine

Learning throwing techniques at The Axe Pit

The Axe Pit

The Axe Pit, recently relaunched in South Portland, offers people the chance to sharpen their lumberjack credentials this winter. The expanded 2,000-square-foot venue features six “throwing lanes,” each with two targets, to accommodate more than 60 adventurous patrons. Lanes cost $15/hour for a group or individual session. After your initial safety brief, a seasoned instructor will demonstrate throwing techniques, before unleashing you on the targets.

“We offer a selection of tomahawks, hatchets, and even full-sized axes for the intrepid thrower,” said General Manager Connor Winn. “Guests can play cornhole-style, recreate cricket darts, or just throw for fun.” Think of it as high-stakes bowling. Owner Tim Johnson discovered urban axe throwing at an underground venue in Montreal and couldn’t wait to bring it home. “It’s not a big mental leap to imagine how this would fit so well in Maine,” said Winn. The venue’s tagline reads “Social Axe Throwing” and Johnson hopes to offer on-site food and beverages in the near future. If you’re able to relax around flying blades, you’ve found the ideal balance of thrills and chill.

The AxePit
333 Clarks Pond Pkwy
South Portland, ME 04106
(207) 370-4298

— Text: Saisie Moore. Saisie has worked at Portland Monthly and The Daily Telegraph in London. When she’s not writing, she explores Maine and beyond in a converted camper van with mountain bike in tow.

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