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Best Of 2011

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Mountain Smoke Shack
Topher's Trees

The Forest Service isn't fond of smoke shacks, those hideaways constructed of wood, cardboard, tree limbs and what-have-you that lurk just beyond many ski runs in this state. But while the Forest Service isn't fond of them, skiers and boarders sure are, and for every smoke shack that comes down, another one goes up. The best is located in Topher's Trees, a patch of woods on the Mary Jane side of Winter Park that also has some of the best tree skiing in Colorado. The area is named after Christopher "Topher" Sendroy, who died in a tree well here back in 1995, when he was 26; he's commemorated by his old Head skis on that tree and a bronze memorial plaque on a nearby catwalk. But tokers give thanks to Topher as the namesake of the best smoke shack in Colorado. A new makeshift hut replaced the old makeshift hut this season, but the spirit remains the same.

Exit 232 from I-70 onto Highway 40, Winter Park, 80482
MAP
800-979-0332
Best (Web) Site for Sore Eyes

Maybe it's the altitude. Maybe it's the outdoor life. Whatever it is, Colorado has some of the loveliest cheerleaders in the country, and they can all be found at Rocky Mountain Spirit, a blog billing itself as "home to the news of all the exciting professional cheer and dance teams in the state of Colorado." News? Yes. But also pics and video — lots of video! But, hey, don't be creepy. These ladies know their stuff when it comes to dancing, whether it's the squads from the Broncos, the Nuggets, the Outlaws or the Eagles, and you can bet your pompoms they've got all the right moves.

Best Av
Matt Duchene

Since the Colorado Avalanche, once the toast of the town, has made a precipitous slide from playoff contention to Western Conference bottom-feeders, we have to look for potential for the future, and Matt Duchene, the twenty-year-old former third overall pick, still represents that. The young forward made the All-Star team this year — and he also pulls off the entertaining "bang-bang" celebration with Paul Stastny when they do score goals.

1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, 80204
MAP
303-405-1100
Best Bicycle Challenge

Bored with your biking routine? The folks who run B-cycle have a challenge for you — and it will make you a rock star. The rules are simple: Visit all fifty stations in one day, taking half an hour or less between each one, and return to the station where you started. Does it sound tough, wimp? Well, at least 142 people have done it so far, and their names are all listed on B-cycle's website. It's not a race, it's a challenge, but make sure to e-mail info@denverbikesharing.org first to let them know you're coming. Otherwise you won't get your free T-shirt and poster, and your name won't be engraved on the Internet.

Best Bike Racks

If you've driven...no, scratch that. If you've walked or biked through Park Hill anytime in the past five years, you've probably come across them: small, colorful bike racks in the shapes of carrots, cherries, bananas, grapes, peppers and, yes, bicycles. Beginning in 2005, a coalition that included Kaiser Permanente's LiveWell Colorado program, the City of Denver and various Park Hill residents and organizations teamed up to form Park Hill Thriving Communities for the purpose of improving the eating and living habits of the 30,000 people in the area. One of their projects was the purchase and installation of the custom-made "Fruit Hoops." There are currently in excess of forty of them, including a few that will be installed at City of Axum Park this year. And although the grant money for PHTC will dry up this year, businesses and organizations can order racks on their own from the Bike Depot at 29th Avenue and Fairfax Street (another creation of PHTC). They cost $515 each, but 25 percent of the proceeds goes back to the Bike Depot, a non-profit community bike shop and service center. That's a lot of Fruit Hoop juice.

Best Bronco
Brandon Lloyd

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was the best player for the only part of the team that performed well in 2010: the passing game. His 77 receptions, 1,448 yards and eleven touchdowns earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl and rejuvenated his career. Here's hoping that B-Lloyd returns to form in 2011, so that Broncos fans have something to cheer for.

1701 Bryant St., Denver, 80204
MAP
303-433-7466
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Best Mountain Smoke Shack: Topher's Trees

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