Sports & Recreation

  • Best Candidate for CU Athletic Director

    Ceal Barry

    She doesn't own a nearby liquor store, which is a major plus. But Ceal Barry, who bowed out this year as basketball coach of the Lady Buffs, does hold a winning record that would be hard for any other candidate for CU's next athletic director to beat. Through two-plus decades in Boulder, she's kept her eye on the ball. That… More >>
  • Best Candidate to Replace Gary Barnett

    Ward Churchill

    Vodka rocks? Hooker in the hotel room? Little weed? Hey, while they're at it, why don't the mooks in the University of Colorado athletic department lay something really special on their football recruits: A pep talk from Professor Ward "Sacred Buffalo" Churchill. Instead of explaining X's and O's (or even court orders to appear before the grand jury), Coach Churchill… More >>
  • Best Sports Promotion

    Nuggets Nesting-Doll Nights

    In the pre-George Karl era, there was nothing much for Nuggets fans to get excited about. Except one thing: Nesting Doll giveaway nights. The sheer absurdity of the promotion was irresistible, compelling crowds to stream into the Pepsi Center despite the potential loss. On December 26, early fans scored Nene nesting dolls. They weren't disappointed with the three Nenes stacked… More >>
  • Best Mascot

    Rocky the Mountain Lion
    Denver Nuggets

    If he were, say, a member of another species, the Denver Nuggets' agile, sharpshooting mascot, Rocky the Mountain Lion, could probably solve the team's outside scoring problem. For fifteen years, he's been draining it from half-court -- backwards -- and he's not bad slam-dunking off a trampoline, either. With his floppy red sneakers and a rakish bolt of lightning for… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Kenyon Martin

    The future of the new-look Nuggets may be Carmelo Anthony, but the soul of the team's tough, take-no-prisoners attitude is multi-millionaire forward Kenyon Martin. The 6'9", 234-pound K-Mart came to Denver last summer from the New Jersey Nets with four years of NBA experience, 51 playoff games and a reputation for tireless, bruising play on his resumé -- in other… More >>
  • Best Bronco

    Jason Elam

    Many NFL players dismiss kickers as undersized freaks who rarely take a bone-jarring hit. But where would the Denver Broncos be without steady, unflappable Jason Elam? The twelfth-year pro out of the University of Hawaii ranks fourteenth on the all-time NFL scoring list, and 2004 marked his twelfth consecutive 100-point season -- the longest such streak in league history. Last… More >>
  • Best Excuse for the Broncos' Ineptitude

    Jake Plummer's beard

    Was it simply a coincidence that the 2004 Denver Broncos started careering downhill at roughly the same time that quarterback Jake Plummer let his chin pubes blossom? Yeah -- but the correlation between the team's losing skid and the knot of tangles that took over Plummer's mug was too irresistible to ignore. Talk-radio hosts debated the connection, sportscasters made sarcastic… More >>
  • Best Football Team Without Pads

    Denver Bulldogs

    Who let the dogs out? The Mile High City is host to one of the winningest football teams in history: the Denver Bulldogs. The Australian Rules Football team has won four national championships -- three of them consecutive -- in just six seasons playing, the most of any U.S. footy team. And this ain't no Sunday in the park: Padding… More >>
  • Best Pass Receiver -- Any Level

    Vincent Jackson
    University of Northern Colorado

    Shannon Sharpe's on the pre-game set, yakking away. Ed McCaffrey's in his easy chair. The guy with everything -- or everything to gain -- is University of Northern Colorado wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who should go high in next month's NFL draft, despite the presence of some big-name receivers from big-name schools. A 6'5" senior out of Widefield High School… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Todd Helton

    The foundation for all that might be in the Colorado Rockies' uncertain future, first baseman Todd Helton is one of the greatest players in baseball -- a perennial Gold Glove candidate whose .339 lifetime batting average is highest among all active players and whose .616 slugging average (the number of total bases divided by the number of at-bats) is the… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    Gary Gait

    What can you say about the National Lacrosse League's all-time leading scorer as he plays his fourteenth and final season, except that he is the standard by which all other players are measured? Having led the Mammoth since the team arrived in Denver from Washington in 2002, Gary Gait is the Michael Jordan of his sport; he's been the NLL's… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Pablo Mastroeni

    One of Major League Soccer's staunchest play-breakers and a leading attacker as well, Argentina-born defender Pablo Mastroeni is, at age 29, one of the league's most respected players. Named the Colorado Rapids' team captain last year, the 5'10", 170-pound speedster has split time between the Rapids and the U.S. National Team since arriving in Colorado in 2002, and his peerless… More >>
  • Best Av-Not

    Peter Forsberg
    Modo (Sweden)

    The Colorado Avalanche may have seen the last of its beloved two-time Stanley Cup hero, Peter Forsberg. This year's National Hockey League owners' lockout has driven hundreds of NHL players to Europe, including former league MVP Forsberg. He was playing for Modo in his native Sweden's well-respected, finesse-oriented Elite League until a serious concussion felled him earlier this month. "Foppa"… More >>
  • Best Medicine for Ailing NHL Fans

    Colorado College-University of Denver hockey rivalry

    What a sublime moment for Colorado's two dominant college hockey teams to rise to the top of the national standings. While the National Hockey League cools its skates off the ice, last season's surprising NCAA champions, the Denver Pioneers, are seeded second in the sixteen-team NCAA tournament field; their hated rivals from Colorado College are -- wouldn't you know it?… More >>
  • Best Happy (Hockey) Ending on TV

    Classic Avalanche games on Altitude

    With the 2004-2005 National Hockey League season officially in the grave, Colorado Avalanche fanatics have only one place to turn: Altitude. The new cable-sports network, founded by Stan Kroenke as a showcase for the professional teams he owns (most prominently, the Avs and the Denver Nuggets), may not have any new matches to broadcast, but it's got plenty of old… More >>
  • Best New Hockey Feature in a Daily Newspaper

    The Denver Post's "Video Hockey League"

    Rather than banish pro hockey from its pages after NHL owners locked out players, editors at the Post wisely decided to have a little fun, recruiting kids between ages eight and fourteen to square off against each other in Xbox hockey clashes. Not only has this gimmick been a great way to introduce members of the Internet generation to newspapers,… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- Professional

    Colorado Eagles

    Former Montreal Canadiens star and University of Denver coach Ralph Backstrom has struck gold as general manager of the scrappy, high-scoring Colorado Eagles, the second-year minor-league hockey team that's giving game-starved NHL fans a happy (and inexpensive) alternative at the sold-out Budweiser Events Center (aka the "Bud Barn") near Loveland. The Eagles led the Central Hockey League with a daunting… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- College

    University of Denver Pioneers Hockey

    When George Gwozdecky's underrated DU Pioneers team won the NCAA national championship last spring, college hockey was shocked. No surprise if the Pis repeat this season. After trailing archrival Colorado College in the polls for most of the year, DU (28-9-2) knocked off the Tigers in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title game last Saturday with a 1-0 win and… More >>
  • Best Coach -- Professional

    George Karl
    Denver Nuggets

    Talk about dramatic turnarounds. When hard-nosed George Karl, late of the Milwaukee Bucks and the Seattle Sonics, took over as the Denver Nuggets' head coach on January 27, they had a dismal 17-25 record under fired Jeff Bzdelik and fill-in Michael Cooper, and fans had begun to boo the lackluster efforts of highly paid stars like Carmelo Anthony and Marcus… More >>
  • Best Coach -- College

    Mike Dunlap
    Metropolitan State College Men's Basketball

    It may be that Mike Dunlap, a fiery Alaskan who led the Metro State Roadrunners to NCAA Division II Basketball titles in 2000 and 2002, is the best sports coach in Colorado at any level. A master motivator who pressures his young men as fiercely as they apply pressure defense on the court, Dunlap has recently overseen 35 straight home… More >>
  • Best Racquet Boss

    Yanick Dullens
    University of Denver Women's Tennis

    For decades, hardly anyone knew the University of Denver even had a women's tennis team. But when coach Dana Young's charges unexpectedly won the Sun Belt Conference title last spring and earned an NCAA tournament berth, even the Williams sisters couldn't have caused a bigger stir on campus. The team's number-one singles player, then and now, is a steady blond… More >>
  • Best Argument for Wing-Tips

    Niketown during All-Star Weekend

    In a rush for the honor of being first to shell out 120 bucks for the new Michael Jordan sneakers at Niketown, visitors to February's NBA All-Star festivities shoved, jostled and exchanged harsh words with each other on the 16th Street Mall. No one was shot, knifed or clubbed, but by the time happy consumers laced up their new Jordans… More >>
  • Best NBA Moment

    The All-Star Jam

    Who cares that the All-Star Jam, which the NBA unleashes annually, was crassly commercial when it arrived here? The Jam had more product endorsements than an infomercial, but there were several flashes of inspiration among the sellabration of all things bling. One took place on the day before the actual All-Star Game, when Shaq Daddy himself played a little one-on-one… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Holiday Bowling

    Clean, well-kept and well-maintained, these thirty lanes are where some of the city's best bowlers congregate. Owner Dave Allen has been in the game for nearly as long as people have been rolling heavy spheres down shiny wooden floors at a pyramid of pins, and his experience shows. The lanes are always consistently and meticulously oiled -- conditions conducive to… More >>
  • Best Tom Waits Bowling Alley

    Golden Bowl - CLOSED

    Sometimes bowling in a clean, well-lit, family-friendly alley just isn't what you're after. You want the chipped-linoleum bathroom, the dissolute attendant with the half-inch of ash hanging off his cigarette, the scarred and oddly colored balls that never fit your fingers quite right, the heavy-metal jukebox, the attached bar serving only urine-colored beer and barely heated frozen food. In other… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Spare

    Elitch Lanes

    Northwest Denver is blooming around Tennyson Street, with new restaurants and chichi shops turning the already eclectic enclave into a hipster oasis. But Elitch Lanes, one of the area's most enduring attractions, remains pleasantly stuck in the past: Every night of the week, it's just balls, bad shoes and devoted bowlers knockin' 'em down the well-waxed pine lanes. Elitch's prices,… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Paradise Billiards

    For an honest, old-fashioned game of billiards and some of the best action in the area, head to Paradise. This ancient hall is the closest thing you'll find in Denver to the sort of underground, New York-style dark room where the true pool players lurk. Most days the snooker tables are held by old-timers playing Golf, and the Thursday-evening 9-ball… More >>
  • Best Public Swimming Pool

    Wheat Ridge Recreation Center

    Most metro-area indoor rec centers struggle to decide what they are. A splash area for kids? A workout pool for adults? As a result, many end up inadequate. Not Wheat Ridge Recreation Center. One side of this massive complex boasts a 120-foot water slide, fountains, a lazy river (free flotation devices available) and an outdoor patio for summer. On the… More >>
  • Best Urban Fishing Hole

    Lake Carol Anne

    Busy downtown worker bees who still have a jones for hauling in lunkers could be forgiven for thinking that northwest Denver's Lake Carol Anne is the best thing since climbing walls went indoors. Located ten minutes from downtown, this fourteen-acre catch-and-release private lake is open between March and December. Early season, Carol Anne (named for co-owner Carol Anne Bohn, who,… More >>
  • Best Place to Walk the Plank

    Pirates Cove Family Aquatics Park

    Ahoy, mateys! When the season fer swimmin' the briny deep's upon us, get ye down to Englewood, where the Jolly Roger flies o'er Pirates Cove. The City of Englewood water park, replete with three pools, debuted last summer to rave reviews by just about everyone, from the tots in swim diapers to swimmers with serious agendas, and no wonder: There… More >>
  • Best Quick Kayaking Fix

    Confluence Kayaks

    You don't have to drive hours to get a whitewater thrill. Confluence Kayaking makes a spur-of-the-moment immersion easy. The business rents inflatable kayaks and gear and hosts weekly instructional classes in the University of Denver's Ritchie Center pool, allowing urban adventurers to test the basics before they shoot the rapids. Once you're ready, hit the short course along the South… More >>
  • Best Place to Ogle Buff Oldsters

    Starbucks at REI

    The golden years never looked more righteous than at the Starbucks inside the flagship REI store, which acts as a hub for cyclists who have all day to ride -- and the looks to prove it. Converging in droves from the Platte River, Clear Creek and Cherry Creek bike paths, senior cyclists stop here for their mid-morning beverage break. Bike… More >>
  • Best Place to Find Wooden Skis

    Vintage Ski World

    Longtime Colorado mountain dweller, avid third-generation skier and keeper of a vintage ski museum Richard Allen is more than a collector. He wears his love for dated clothing and equipment -- wooden skis, bindings, lace-up boots -- on his sleeve and everywhere else, and he's known for dressing like he just stepped out of a 1950s ski-town snow globe, all… More >>
  • Best Reason to Still Love Colorado Skiing

    Loveland Ski Area

    At a time when it seems that every ski area is turning into a real-estate venture with a faux Ye Olde Alpine Village at its base, Loveland is a welcome throwback. The runs may be shorter than those at nearby mega-resorts, but what you get in return is priceless. There are no condos or ski-in, ski-out chalets slopeside, no golf… More >>
  • Best Snowboarding Attitude

    Jesse Csincsak

    Most professional snowboarders are all about themselves: What move can I bust today? Will my picture be in the next magazine spread? Breckenridge's Jesse Csincsak is the rare exception: a snowboarder who gives back to his sport. Four years ago, the Ohio native started J-SAK Snowboarding, a non-profit corporation that raised money -- and then gave it away to promising… More >>
  • Best Skiing Getaway

    Sunlight Mountain Resort

    With the traffic and crowds, sometimes you just have to leave the I-70 corridor to get a relaxing skiing experience. Try driving west another hour to Glenwood Springs. Ten miles outside the city, you'll find Sunlight, a nostalgic world away from the hustle and bustle of the Summit County madhouse. Decent-sized -- the longest ride is four miles long --… More >>
  • Best Snowshoeing Getaway

    'S No Wonder! Snowshoe Tours

    The logic of snowshoeing became apparent around here two years ago this March, when some blizzard-socked folks used the devices to get from their living rooms to their garages. But snowshoeing has benefits beyond survival -- and 'S No Wonder! Tours, run out of the Breckenridge Nordic Center, offers folks the chance to get on the mountain without being run… More >>
  • Best Bike Fit

    Boulder Center for Sports Medicine

    Just because you paid $3,000 for your new titanium-and-carbon-fiber ride doesn't mean the bike fits your physique. And having the right-sized cycle can mean the difference between hours of blissful injury-free pedaling and weeks of constant rehab for your clicking knees. Many bike shops now offer a bike-fitting service. But why mess around? Go to the guy who literally invented… More >>
  • Best Bike Fixer

    Jenn Dice

    Everyone knows about the pernicious effect of money in politics: Fancy-cat lobbyists use gobs of cash to sleaze their evil corporate agendas into sweetheart legislation. That's exactly what Jenn Dice, the government liaison for the Golden-based IMBA, does...not. In place of the regular cocktail-party circuit usually plied by Beltway lobbyists, IMBA dispatches Dice, 33, to introduce legislative staffers to its… More >>
  • Best Biking Alternative to Moab

    Fruita Fat Tire Festival

    For years, Fruita was known for its orchards filled with fat peaches. Gradually it became know for its intoxicating vineyards. Not surprisingly, this heritage has fostered a love of fat-tire biking. Every spring, the town hosts the Fat Tire Festival, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The fest kicks off with a marathon eighteen-hour ride on April 29, with… More >>
  • Best Bikeway in Progress

    Sand Creek Regional Greenway

    Slowly but surely, the pieces for this thirteen-mile route that cross the old Stapleton Airport site are filling in. Eventually, the soft-surface trail, which is open to non- motorized vehicles only, will connect part of a fifty-mile loop of urban trails, going from the High Line Canal Bikeway in Aurora to the Platte River Greenway. Riders have to adapt to… More >>
  • Best Website for a Mountain-Bike Groove

    Founded by Colorado college buddies in 1999, has evolved into a multi-faceted portal for riders throughout Colorado and beyond. Whether it's the reviewed Ride of the Month or a lively chat triggered by some flatlander looking for advice, the site gives savvy cyclists the goods to stay in gear. … More >>
  • Best Skatepark

    Southside Park

    A former coal-mining town in southern Colorado is probably the last place on earth that skaters would expect to find a world-class skatepark. But ever since 2003, when this 14,000-square-foot concrete masterpiece was carved into a gravelly hillside above the city of Trinidad, skaters from all points of the compass have come to pump through its meandering snake run and… More >>
  • Best Soon-to-Be-Finished Skatepark

    Westminster Skatepark

    Over the past few months, local skaters have been skeptically monitoring the progress of the new concrete skateboard park being constructed behind the Westminster Recreation Center at 10455 Sheridan Boulevard. They have good reason to be wary: The park's architects, Architerra Group, are responsible for the wonky designs of parks in Federal Heights and Littleton. Luckily, Architerra was aided by… More >>
  • Best Skate Spots

    Downtown Denver

    With so many new skateparks being constructed in recent years, it's easy for the latest generation of metro-area riders to forget that street skating originated in the streets. While the concrete playpen known as the Denver Skatepark has an unbeatable urban location in the Central Platte Valley, it's still true that the most fun and innovative places to skate are… More >>
  • Best Place to Golf in the Dark

    Putting Edge Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf

    Golf is like sex: You want to do it as often as possible in as many places as possible. Another course, another notch on your belt. Should mini-golf be any different? At Putting Edge, you even do it in the dark, for crying (moaning?) out loud. But in real life, mini-golf is for kids, and to that end, Putting Edge… More >>
  • Best Nostalgic Roller Coaster

    The Cyclone

    Amusement-park aficionados who feel pukey when confronted with the theme-park fluff of Six Flags Elitch Gardens should head to Lakeside and settle their stomachs on Colorado's most venerable roller coaster, the Cyclone. But don't expect to experience the gliding G-forces of today's modern steel rides: Built in 1940, the Cyclone clangs and jerks passengers through the dives and crests of… More >>
  • Best Campground

    Halfmoon Campground

    The debate about the perfect campground has probably raged in these parts since Og the Magnificent conked Thorg the Stupid with a saber-toothed tiger jaw during a heated debate. About ten miles southwest of Leadville lies a 22-site gem that can stand the test of even Og's debate. Located on Halfmoon Creek and nestled at the base of Colorado's highest… More >>
  • Best Summer Camp -- Outdoor

    The Urban Farm

    A non-profit venture located along the Sand Creek Greenway at Stapleton, the Urban Farm makes its greatest mark during the school year, when hundreds of kids of all ages pass through its gates to do everything from milk a goat to develop a breeding program for the whole herd. But the farm also supports year-round 4-H and equestrian programs, geared… More >>
  • Best Summer Camp -- Indoor

    Bits, Bytes & Bots

    It goes without saying that the Marx Brothers know just what makes kids tick. Oh, not those zany vaudevillian siblings of old: We're talking about Tom and Rick Marx, local look-alike brothers with backgrounds in teaching and software development who together founded what is truly a playground for geeks in training. Bits, Bytes & Bots offers year-round classes, drop-in activities… More >>
  • Best Place for Young Hoops Hotshots

    Pryor Orser's Basketball Camps

    Colorado School of Mines men's basketball coach Pryor Orser doesn't get a lot of press, even though his Orediggers play solid hoops and upset the then-number-one-ranked Metro State Roadrunners this past season. But Orser, who can't rely on getting monster players at what's called the "School of Minds," does make use of all-star gunners such as Stephen Bahl. During the… More >>
  • Best Youth Basketball Organization

    Gold Crown Foundation

    Not long ago, ex-Nugget-turned-sportscaster Bill Hanzlik was even more excited than normal on TV: He announced that there were some 300 Gold Crown coaches at the Pepsi Center for a game with the Portland Trailblazers. The fact that there are 300 basketball coaches anywhere in this once-hoops-starved state is testimony to the boost that Gold Crown -- under CEO Hanzlik… More >>
  • Best Game Lock-In


    Every other Friday, game fanatics seeking an unbridled go at Warcraft or Counter-Strike sign up to be locked in this facility from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning. Unless the computer combatants are over eighteen years old, they must stay inside the site, working away at one of the thirty PCs linked into a gaming server. Drinks are… More >>
  • Best Place to Work on Hitting a Curveball

    Mark Johnson's Triple Crown Sports Center

    Most pitching machines are pretty easy to figure out: They throw fastballs, fastballs and more fastballs. At the Triple Crown Sports Center, however, the gadgets are considerably more sophisticated, tossing curveballs and sliders as well. The joint as a whole is just as notable, with a throwing tunnel, an AstroTurf field, rental cages, a pro shop and more scattered across… More >>
  • Best Sporting Use of a Pumpkin

    Delaney Farm

    While pumpkins take their share of abuse around Halloween, no one seems too upset when these squash go sailing through the blue sky. Denver Urban Gardens' Aurora-based Delaney Farm hosts the annual Jack-O-Launch, in which participants compete to see how far they can fling the fall fruit via ingenious catapults. Paging Billy Corgan... … More >>
  • Best Place to Get Zonked by a Volleyball

    The MotherLode Volleyball Classic

    This volleypalooza has been going for more than three decades in Aspen. With some 700 teams competing on eighty courts over Labor Day weekend, it sports the title of the nation's largest volleyball party. Players range in ability from international competitor to laid-back park-grass warrior. Spectators can watch for free, but look out for those the 110 mph shots: If… More >>
  • Best Women's Triathlon Club

    Team CWW

    Team CWW may not boast the most race winners or state records, but if you're a woman looking to enter the sweaty world of triathlons -- yet are too intimidated by the prospect of swimming, biking and running farther than you've driven your car in the past month -- CWW is a fine place to begin. Founded by Celeste Callahan… More >>
  • Best Place for Ladies to Kick Ass

    20th Street Recreation Center

    Looking for a little girl-on-girl action? Then head over to the 20th Street Recreation Center on Wednesday nights for the women-only boxing class. For one hour a week, a half-dozen street-savvy ladies practice their right hooks, uppercuts, jabs and roundhouses. Although this is strictly a no-contact class, 20th Street is a serious boxing gym, with fighters in the ring around… More >>
  • Best Women-Only Workouts

    Ms. GoodBody

    Like most women with similar goals, you head to the gym with visions of sugar buns dancing in your head, but the sad truth of the matter is evident in those hammy hocks you continue to inspect in the mirror each day. In fact, half the challenge of working out in public is overcoming the self-consciousness you feel when you… More >>
  • Best Tricked-Out Gym

    Matrix Fitness-Spa

    First things first: Matrix Fitness-Spa is not cheap. You pay for every amenity. But, oh, the amenities. The posh new place in the Beauvallon is packed full of them, from the locker rooms to the spa to the gym floor. The weights are made of urethane, so there's no clanking and clanging. Each piece of cardio equipment has its own… More >>
  • Best Way to Train Like Lance

    Carmichael Training Systems

    Of course you want to Live Strong. But what if you don't have a multimillion-dollar U.S. Postal Service or Discovery Channel sponsorship: Can you still be like Lance? Yes, thanks to Carmichael Training Systems and the Internet. For anywhere between $39 and $500 a month, the Colorado Springs-based CTS -- and, yes, Chris Carmichael does train Lance Armstrong -- will… More >>
  • Best Book About Denver's Pig Time

    The Golden Age of Amateur Basketball: The AAU Tournament, 1921-1968
    Dolph Grundman

    Dolph Grundman, a Metro State history professor, became interested in a lost chapter of Denver's sporting history while doing research for a class. He discovered that for a few decades, Denver was a center of the basketball universe, hosting the annual AAU men's basketball championship on the stage of the Auditorium Theatre. And while the game was light-years away from… More >>
  • Best Way to Visit the Dunes Without Actually Going

    Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow
    John B. Weller

    Boulder photographer John B. Weller fell in love with the Great Sand Dunes years ago, and he began documenting the beautiful sand swells on repeated trips. His compilation, Great Sand Dunes National Park: Between Light and Shadow, released by Westcliffe Publishers last year, is a stunning introduction to a unique part of our state. And while Weller was torn about… More >>
  • Best Insight Into What Makes Carmelo Tick

    Carmelo Anthony: It's Just the Beginning
    Greg Brown

    The Nuggets' barely sophomore star has endured plenty of hardships -- and we're not just talking about the All-Star Game snub. Melo's life gets a frank examination in Carmelo Anthony: It's Just the Beginning, a 48-page hardcover authored by sportswriter Greg Brown, who has also profiled the lives of Vince Carter and Dan Marino. "I lived in depressed places, and… More >>
  • Best Way to Go Ape

    The Denver Gorilla Run

    A simian sprint in which participants were encouraged to dress like apes? Only in our animal-lovin' urban jungle. For a $150 registration fee, participants in the Denver Gorilla Run received their own gorilla suit and the chance to roam five miles through the heart of downtown Denver. Climbing high-rises was optional, but for hairy fun, this was the one. All… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Greenway Park

    Denver has greatly expanded its off-leash options for canine lovers in the past year, but Greenway Park wins high marks for security, cleanliness and doggie good vibes. Amenities include several hydrants, plenty of plastic bags and shaded benches, but it's the community feeling of the place that makes it work. It's a great place for residents to become neighbors. … More >>
  • Best Do-Gooder Workout

    Colorado Humane Society

    Giving of your time is hard; so is finding enough time to work out. The Colorado Humane Society has the perfect solution: Walk a dog. Or two, or three. With no training, a volunteer family, classroom or scout troop can pop by the CHS any time and take a frisky Fido out for a frolic. Everyone wins: The dogs calm… More >>
  • Best Gymnastics/ Equine Sport You've Never Heard Of


    What, you thought vaulting was a gymnastics event? Well, hold your horses: It's an equine sport, too. Combining single-rider and team displays of acrobatic moves with horseback riding, the ancient sport of vaulting has an unusually strong hold on the state of Colorado, which is home to eight of the fewer than 100 clubs that promote this old-world sport nationwide.… More >>
  • Best Way to Follow the LoDo Heard

    Cell Phone Audio Tours

    Rocky Mountain Audio Guides, which produced a CD titled Walking Tour of Denver's Historic Lower Downtown in 2003, expanded its reach last year with a cell-phone hookup. Founder Barb Rigel's idea was to have folks who might want to tune into the cityscape dial a number, enter a credit-card number (for $15), and then listen for up to eighty minutes… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Manitou Springs

    Just an hour and a half from Denver -- and a short, soul-restoring drive out of Colorado Springs -- Manitou Springs has got to be one of the most wonderfully weird places in Colorado, if not the world. Laden with kitschy mementos of the auto-mad '50s, when travelers motored west to mountains and drive-up motels, Manitou is a combination tourist… More >>
  • Best Wildlife Watch

    Colorado Division of Wildlife

    The DOW conducts workshops around the state that amount to a four-hour crash course in how to sharpen your senses, pick the right binoculars, read the habitat and turn yourself into the Crocodile Hunter. Each course ends with a nature walk to put your new skills into action -- for example, studying a coyote family making the rounds of Aurora's… More >>
  • Best Place to Get High

    Mt. Elbert

    For a state obsessed with fourteeners, it's odd that many overlook Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado at 14,433 feet. Part of the disdain may be because Elbert's neighbor, Mt. Massive, is thought to be more impressive; a few fanatics reportedly even piled rocks on top of Massive to make it more, well, massive. But Elbert's still the king.… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Hot

    Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort

    The Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is open year-round, tapping the geothermal springs in Chalk Creek. When the 135-degree water mixes with the icy river flow, it causes a double-barreled blast of relaxation. There are two man-made pools on the sometimes funky site that offer more tepid waters, at 85 and 105 degrees. Those who've climbed one of the Collegiate… More >>
  • Best Quickie Mountain Hike

    Herman's Gulch

    Herman's Gulch, just off I-70 at Exit 218, can sometimes have a clutter of cars at the trailhead, but don't worry: These are similar sorts seeking a quickie escape. And what an escape it is. Once you get beyond the cars -- and out of earshot of the Ski Way, which is only about a mile from the gulch --… More >>
  • Best Way to Tidy a Mountain

    The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

    This ten-year-old nonprofit helps preserve environmental giants by enlisting volunteer crews to rebuild trails, pick up garbage and generally buff up Colorado's biggest, and often most used, peaks. Last year, Mount Massive (14,421 feet), south of Leadville, and Wetterhorn Peak (a puny 14,015 feet), near Lake City, got makeovers. Volunteers don't get paid, but they do get equipment, food and… More >>
  • Best Online Source for Mountaineering Activities

    Colorado Mountain Club

    The Colorado Mountain Club has plenty going on. Active since 1912 (though without a website back then), the group has helped foster a love of wilderness here and elsewhere. With activities ranging from hikes to investigations into science, art and literature, this is a portal that can open minds to the possibilities of getting outside. The CMC reminds us why… More >>