Runners Up: Board Room, Earth Traverse Outfitters, Little River Trading Company
With adventure sports, it's often tough to find an entry point. The equipment isn't cheap, and the people who know how to use it appear cut from a different cloth—one that's lightweight, waterproof, and somehow both breathes easily and retains heat. They seem intrinsically possessing a set of skills that makes scaling a cliff, biking down a steep mountain grade, or paddling through rapids just another natural act, like running. That's why it's great to have a place like River Sports Outfitters, which provides not only good equipment but also access to the sports themselves, making it more than a retail shop and something of a community and lifestyle hub. From its climbing wall, to its bike and kayak rentals around town, to creating outdoorknoxville.com and sponsoring events year-round, River Sports over its 25-year history has built a community of outdoor enthusiasts while doing more than its part to welcome newcomers with lessons and advice. So consider your starting point found.