Sure, REI's flagship store has that slammin' climbing wall, its own Starbucks and, right outside, the Platte River, where you can test-drive/ride/kayak the equipment. But the best sports in the building are the people who man the Outdoor Recreation Information Center, a joint venture between the sporting-goods company's store and nonprofit groups, including the Colorado Mountain Club, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks. Conveniently located near the map section, the center's booth is staffed by forest-service personnel and volunteers, who hand out maps, literature (only from public agencies -- no commercial outfits allowed) and all sorts of advice on where to use that equipment now that you've bought it. The center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays; the ORIC's Web site, www.oriconline.org, is available at all hours. Information, please -- and thank you.
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