In the early 90s, newly married and each fresh out of BYU’s master’s program, Duane and Darlene Zobrist left for Scotland to attend the British School of Falconry. While there, the two fell in love with what they were learning made plans to bring the Sport of Kings home to the U.S. They soon began building a business model. The Falconry Academy was established in 1992 in the Zobrists’ home state of California.
Over the next two years, Duane and Darlene zeroed in on a lucrative target market for their falconry programs – exclusive resorts. In 1994, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV added the Falconry Academy to their list of resort activities, and the Zobrists, along with a cadre of 8 birds of prey, moved across the country. In 1997, The Greenbrier’s existing outdoor vendor left, and the Zobrists were asked to take on bike rentals for the 11,000-acre property. Thus, Greenbrier Outfitters evolved from what had been a falconry-only business. The venture grew to include kayak trips down the Greenbrier, New, and Jackson Rivers, and from there team-building programs was a natural evolution. Drawing on a long and active involvement with Boy Scouts and his graduate degree in public administration, Duane had a natural inclination for building teams. Early programs included orienteering with map and compass as well as other mental and physical challenges that encouraged communication and trust.
In 1998, the Alpine Tower was built on the grounds of The Greenbrier Resort. This addition enabled Greenbrier Outfitters to move into the popular arena of high-ropes team building. (The tower also provided another a la carte adventure for the general resort population.) Soon, large companies and other organizations were seeking Greenbrier Outfitters to enhance corporate retreat itineraries and to build more cohesive and healthy teams.
The business began to grow as other resorts in the region sought similar programs for their own guests. The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA was next to offer falconry. Today, Resort Outfitters serves guests at The Greenbrier Resort; The Omni Homestead Resort; The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, WV; The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO; and The Boar’s Head in Charlottesville, VA. Additionally, Resort Outfitters operates an independent outfitter Gasparilla Adventures in Boca Grande, FL.