The Air Up There

By Beacon Staff

EVERGREEN – The clients are bouncing off the walls at EZ Air Academy in Evergreen, and that’s just fine with the business’ owners.

As a new, indoor trampoline gym in the Flathead, EZ Air Academy houses multiple trampoline surfaces to bounce, jump, flip and twist on, and has proven so popular that major expansions are already in the works.

“It’s doing well,” Eric Matson, CEO and founder at the gym, said. “It’s a lot better than we anticipated.”

Matson and his wife Louise Adamson, the CFO at EZ Air, said the inspiration to open a trampoline-based business came to them after visiting a similar facility in Whistler, British Columbia, while on a ski holiday.

The family went to the trampoline gym instead of the ski hill one day, and found they really enjoyed themselves. Matson said they had such a good time that they skipped skiing the next day to jump again, which, as a self-professed ski bum, was a big deal.

“It was so much fun,” he said. “We were sold.”

The couple ran the numbers and figured they could open the gym, he said. EZ Air Academy opened in January, with a trampoline half pipe, an Olympic-style string trampoline and several regular trampolines.

While the business caters to the everyday jumpers who need to burn some energy by bouncing all over the warehouse, there are also clients who use the space to sharpen their skills for other sports.

For example, during the vicious cold snaps last winter, the slopestyle snowboard and ski teams stopped by the gym to practice their in-air moves, Matson said.

Trampolining is popular with athletes who want to learn how to move their body while also working with gravity, such as volleyball players working on their hitting or soccer players needing practice on diving for a ball without smacking into the ground.

“Any kind of sport that you’re doing any kind of jumping, or any kind of body manipulation in the air, this is a great activity,” Matson said.

Every Wednesday, TJ Andrews, known for his snowboarding skills and for coaching the freestyle team on Big Mountain, teaches jumpers at EZ Air how to perform the tricks they’re hoping to master.

It’s a safer way to learn these moves, Matson said, and having a coach of such caliber gives the students a better chance at achieving their goals. For example, one girl who started with the Wednesday classes about a month ago was having trouble with a backflip, he said, and now she’s able to pull off multiple flips in a row.

Learning to perform tricks on a trampoline can also translate to wakeboarding, and EZ Air has a space set up with a wakeboard and a towrope to let the boarders get in the kind of repetitive, rebound jumping they couldn’t get on the water.

Of course, much of academy’s business comes from groups looking to have a good time. Local school groups, as well as not-so-local groups like those from East Glacier, have made their way to the trampolines for a couple hours of fun.

The demand is there, Matson said, and EZ Air plans on expanding this summer with a 17-by-14-foot foam pit, which will be 4 feet deep, for bouncers to jump into. There are plans to build a ramp leading into that pit, as well as rock-climbing handholds around the pit for safe bouldering.

They also plan on adding three more performance trampolines, Matson said.

With expansions already in the works, and the possibility of more classes for adults, EZ Air hopes to continue finding new ways to answer the valley’s jumping demands.

“It’s been a really fun thing so far,” Matson said.

EZ Air Academy is located three miles south of Glacier Park International Airport, next to Pierce RV Directly. For pricing information, visit www.ezairacademy.com or call 752-3114.