Sports & Recreation

  • Best Mascot

    Rocky

    If Miles, that weird horse-head guy who trots the field during Broncos games, was sent to the glue factory, and Dinger, the Rockies' pathetic faux Barney, sank into a tar pit, many sports lovers in these parts would cheer. But were Rocky, the Nuggets' coolest cat, to head for the hills, all of Denver would go into mourning, and rightfully… More >>
  • Best Sports Announcer

    Mike Haynes

    The worst thing that's happened to the radio broadcasts of Avalanche games is also the best thing that's happened to television coverage of the team. The irrepressible Mike Haynes, who's now a permanent fixture in the TV booth after establishing himself in the older medium, brings the same elements to Altitude that made him such a favorite among the Fan's… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Matt Holliday

    The Rockies' "Generation R" advertising campaign smacked of desperation. At least, it did until Matt Holliday, the team's exciting young left-fielder, smacked 34 home runs last season -- a real accomplishment in the humidor era. But Holliday's more than just a long-baller. He maintained a .324 batting average in 2006 by hitting all over the park, and he's got better-than-average… More >>
  • Best Bronco

    Champ Bailey

    How many Broncos are the best at their position in the NFL? Precisely one -- and he wears number 24. Although the term "shut-down cornerback" is overused by TV commentators, Champ Bailey comes closer than anyone in the league to making it mean something. Any time the ball is thrown to his half of the field, odds are good that… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Marcus Camby

    Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson have gotten all the attention this year, since both are capable of setting the scoreboard ablaze. But the underappreciated Marcus Camby truly anchors the Nugs. For one thing, he plays great defense every time he hits the court -- something that's all too rare on this squad. For another, he's the team's most reliable rebounder… More >>
  • Best Av

    Paul Stastny

    Because the particulars of the NHL's 2005 collective-bargaining agreement forced the Avalanche to say so long to several fan favorites, the team needed newcomers to step up this year -- and Paul Stastny has done just that. A hometown hero thanks to his play on University of Denver championship squads, Stastny has gotten progressively stronger as the season's gone on;… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Kyle Beckerman

    There's a reason you're seeing Kyle Beckerman's face all over the city. And no, it's not those Sideshow Bob dreadlocks -- although those are noteworthy. The reason the Colorado Rapids chose to tattoo Beckerman, along with a handful of other Rapids, on the banners and billboards hyping the upcoming 2007 season at the new Dick's Sporting Goods Park is quite… More >>
  • Best Crush

    Damian Harrell

    Granted, touchdowns are more plentiful in the Arena Football League than in the National Football League; it's not unusual for AFL scores to top sixty points. Still, props go to Damian Harrell, a Florida State grad and original member of the Crush, who holds the AFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown. At press time, the streak stood at… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    Gary Gait

    The Colorado Mammoth certainly has some fine players, including defensemen Tom Ethington and Jamie Hanford, who were just named to compete on the U.S. national team at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in May. Still, these guys have a long way to go before they'll surpass the accomplishments of Gary Gait, the team's coach. By the time he came to… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- Professional

    Denver Nuggets

    While the Nugs may not have registered as many wins as anticipated at the start of the season, they've more than made up for their uneven play in drama. The team limped out of the gate, and when it finally seemed to be hitting its stride, Carmelo Anthony was suspended for fifteen games after throwing a punch so timid that… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- College

    Falcons Men's Basketball Team

    Cinderella isn't known for wearing pilot's gear, but given the accomplishments of the Air Force Academy's men's basketball squad this year, she should probably try a flight suit on for size. Since players must commit to military service, the Falcons have a smaller recruiting pool to draw from than the vast majority of teams they compete against. Nevertheless, players such… More >>
  • Best Coach -- Professional

    Mike Shanahan

    Nearly all great NFL franchises suffer downturns. Think of the once-invincible San Francisco 49ers, who only now are showing signs of emerging from the mire of mediocrity that followed their glory days in the '80s and '90s. Yet despite plenty of opportunities to do so, the Broncos haven't hit bottom under Mike Shanahan. Even last year, when quarterback Jake "The… More >>
  • Best Coach -- College

    Jeff Bzdelik

    When Jeff Bzdelik was sacked by the Denver Nuggets, he could have grumbled loudly -- as he had every reason to do. Instead, he accepted the head-coaching position at the Air Force Academy and turned what could have seemed a dead-end gig into a dazzling showcase of his skills. He took a team whose players might not have made the… More >>
  • Best Deal for Season- Ticket Holders

    Colorado Rockies

    Can't make it to a Rockies game, season-ticket holder? Can't find anyone to take your tickets because the Rocks are eight games below .500 and downtown scalpers are giving away tix for lengthy hugs? No sweat, season-ticket holder. Go to any Dugout Store or the Coors Field box office, and you can exchange those suckers. Granted, there are certain restrictions… More >>
  • Best Batting Cages

    Denver Hitting Club

    What the Denver Hitting Club lacks in glitzy, suburban, mega-batting-cage luster, it makes up for in elbow grease. Elbow grease provided by Sam Morales. "I used to coach youth teams, and we were always trying to find a place to take the kids to hit, and we'd wind up having to take them out to the suburbs," explains Morales. "I… More >>
  • Best Pitch

    HitStreak

    Play ball? The centerpiece of HitStreak's training is the ProBatter Professional PX2, an extraordinary pitch simulator that's hyped as the closest thing you'll find to actually batting against Johan Santana in the bottom of the ninth. Through the use of computerized video imagery and multi-pitch simulation capabilities, the state-of-the-art machine -- preferred by such hard hitters as the New York… More >>
  • Best Terrain Park

    Keystone

    Sure, seventeen-foot-tall superpipes and outlandish circus rails might gain the attention of the pros and magazine photographers -- but for the average rider, bigger does not always equal better. The design team behind Keystone's A51 realized this a few years back and has since put together the most coherent -- and fun -- terrain park in the state, one that… More >>
  • Best Locals Mountain

    Loveland

    Even though there are much bigger mountains and badder terrain parks, Loveland remains beloved. There are no monstrous hotels here, no $8 cheeseburgers, no jerks running the lifts, no Texans. You don't even have to go through the Eisenhower Tunnel to get here, and less road time means more snow time. And you'll be able to make the most of… More >>
  • Best Upscaling of a Down-Home Resort

    Black Mountain Lodge

    Is nothing sacred? A-Basin, one of the last bare-bones ski areas around, just added some padding to its sleek skeleton. The mid-mountain Black Mountain Lodge features not just a sports shop, but an upscale 200-seat restaurant, with an "alpine bistro menu" that includes grilled salmon and Kobe beef burgers. The fare is a far cry from the usual A-Basin brown-bagging… More >>
  • Best Ski Deal

    Ruby Hill Rail Yard

    A visit to Ruby Hill is always a high point, since this park is a great place to see the sights of Denver. But this past season, it also became the site of the best ski deal around, when Winter Park Resort and the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation joined together to open Ruby Hill Rail Yard, a terrain… More >>
  • Best Official Skatepark

    Sandstone Ranch Skate Park

    Boarders, bladers and bikers who've cruised through Sandstone Ranch Skate Park since it opened last June might take the 24,000-square-foot concrete course for granted. The smooth arrangement of the expert sections -- like the pool and flow course, alongside such street-plaza components as stairs, gaps and rails -- is so close to perfect that the layout seems obvious, as though… More >>
  • Best Unofficial Skatepark

    Highland Bridge

    Technically, the function of the new Highland Bridge is to connect the Commons Park area with the Highland neighborhood. And its form -- 320 foot-long, triple-rib beams arcing 70 feet over I-25 -- is designed as another display of downtown's emerging architectural beauty. But for skateboarders, the bridge is simply a kick-ass new spot. The concrete banks that anchor the… More >>
  • Best DIY Project

    Bennett DIY Skatepark Project

    With skatepark construction becoming a more formalized industry, it's easy to forget the sport's underground, do-it-yourself roots. But some of the most fun, inspired skate spots are built by the skaters themselves, wielding hammers and concrete trowels -- which is why the Colorado Coalition for Public Skateparks is campaigning to rebuild a concrete skatepark thirty miles east of Denver in… More >>
  • Best Skateboard School

    Colorado Skate University

    It was fated to be: The husband-and-wife team who run Colorado Skate University met in a skatepark. Their shared passion inspired them to open a school, which offers we-come-to-you lessons for boarders of all ages seeking to learn the ins and ollies of just about everything, from staying on your board to total super-shredding. And because half of the teaching… More >>
  • Best Secret BMX Spot

    The V

    For serious BMX riders, the V isn't really a secret, but rather a legend going back nearly twenty years, to when freestyle bikers first began building dirt jumps in an Aurora gulley. Set amid tall trees and accessed only by a bike path, the spot's obscurity helped it survive while other locations were erased by development or closed off because… More >>
  • Best Fitness on Wheels

    US on Wheels

    Exercise is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle. But where do you turn after you've exhausted your tolerance for running, bicycling and Pi-Yo? US on Wheels. Show up at 10:30 any Wednesday morning, fork over $4, strap on some wheels and get moving! The ninety-minute Roller Fitness program will tone your muscles and increase your heart rate -- and… More >>
  • Best Place to Ride High

    Golden Oldy Cyclery

    A Penny for your thoughts: "The world is a happier place when you ride a Penny Farthing bike." That's the motto at this Victorian-era cycling museum in Golden, which has one of the world's most comprehensive collections of "big wheel" equipment and memorabilia, including more than sixty classic bikes, a cycling library, a headlamp display and a mock 1880s repair… More >>
  • Best Place to Get High

    SkyVenture Colorado

    Who says you need sky to skydive? For anyone who's ever had an Icarus-like urge to sail through the atmosphere -- but then had second thoughts because of that whole jumping-out-of-the-plane thing -- SkyVenture has the answer. After a brief training session and suit-up, you can fly through the air with the greatest of ease -- ease of mind, that… More >>
  • Best Race to the Top of a Building

    Run the Register

    It might not be the Empire State Building, but the Wells Fargo Center -- also known as Denver's "cash register" -- still has more than 1,000 steps stretching to the top. That's the rigorous course of the Run the Register race every February; it's a good way to burn off calories after the punishing holiday season. And all your huffing… More >>
  • Best Reason to Top Mount Elbert

    50-50-1

    While some zealots are determined to climb every fourteener in the state, more reasonable types are happy to simply scale our highest peak: Mount Elbert, which reaches a whopping 14,433 feet. If you're looking for a reason to ascend to greater heights, you won't find a better one than the annual Climb for Cancer Foundation's 50-50-1, a nationwide effort that… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Under

    Downtown Aquarium

    For a landlocked state, Colorado has a lot of residents who like to dive and snorkel -- and not many places for them to do it. But now you can get down at the Downtown Aquarium, where Swim With the Fish, Dive With the Fish and Dive With the Sharks allow you to do some underwater communing with our fine-finned… More >>
  • Best New Beach

    Neusteter Plaza

    The park formerly known as the Xcel Substation on 15th Street is now generating a whole new kind of electricity. Powered by the Greenway Foundation, the reclamation of this one-acre parcel of land was the final phase of the Confluence Park plan and was completed last year. The improvements at what's now known as Neusteter Plaza are shocking. Three shade… More >>
  • Best River Cleaning

    South Platte River Sweep

    For years, the South Platte was the Rodney Dangerfield of rivers. It got no respect -- just a lot of trash. But all that changed with the River Sweep, an annual event combining the organizational skills of REI, Trout Unlimited and Denver Water with the litter-picking talents of hundreds of volunteers. The 2007 event, set for September 29, will mark… More >>
  • Best Answer to Match.com

    V Outdoors

    What you need is someone who shares your values, understands your dedication to trail maintenance, recycling, litter control and other tenets of pack it in/pack it out. Someone who is going to respect you in the morning -- or the next afternoon. V Outdoors is ready to be your yenta, fixing you up for volunteering with the finest of land-use… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up Eco Chicks

    REI

    The REI flagship store on the Platte River is a mecca for Colorado singles, like Cafeteria or Cain in New York. There are always plenty of pretty hippie chicks and urban adventure gals around. But for even better odds, sign up for one of REI's many classes, whether climbing basics or bike-fitting or photography. Go to www.rei.com and prepare to… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up
    Eco Boys

    Confluence Kayaks

    Confluence Kayaks is a wonderland of kayaking information: From DVDs to books to gear to floats, Confluence has it all -- as well as a doting staff of hunky eco freaks ready to personally instruct you on the finer points of kayaking. When you're ready to take things to the next level, sign up for the Tuesday-night pool classes and… More >>
  • Best Unauthorized Dog Park

    Hirshorn Park

    When a neighborhood is in transition, everything is in the process of becoming something else. In Wash Park and Cherry Creek North, the last bungalows are transitioning into three-unit, three-story townhomes. In LoDo, the last warehouses are transitioning into lofts. And in Highland, the neighborhood du jour just north of downtown, a traditional baseball diamond built for immigrant children more… More >>
  • Best Guide to Colorado

    Colorado Mountain Club Press

    Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing in this state, the Colorado Mountain Club Press has a book for you. Looking for a quiet mountain trail without too much elevation but still away from civilization? Check. Seeking that perfect meadow to finish off your local flora checklist? You betcha. Want to hike a portion of the Colorado Trail but get lost… More >>
  • Best Urban Nature Walk

    High Line Canal Trail

    Snaking off the South Platte River near Waterton Canyon to the southwest and winding all the way northeast to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Green Valley Ranch, the serpentine High Line Canal Trail bends through Arapahoe, Douglas and Denver counties. Approximately sixty miles long, the trail is a mellow meander through pristine areas of undeveloped nothing, as well as upscale… More >>
  • Best Butt-Kicking

    Genesis Fitness Camps

    At Genesis Fitness Camps, the troops answer not to a bugle call, but to the siren song of Beyoncé's "Bootylicious." No matter how loud the instructors crank the sound system, though, there's no drowning out the moans of winded exercisers working their way through the seven levels of fitness hell: abs, cardio, weight-training, kick-boxing and running, running, running. During the… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Elitch Lanes

    Elitch Lanes is where you prove you've got balls. This is where you spend all...damn...day perfecting your spare, strike, hook and backswing -- whiskey shooters or rum and Coke firmly in your other hand. There's no room for sissy drinks and fancy shoes in these lanes that time forgot. The place does get a little funky, though, during the quarterly… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Tarantula Billiards and Bar

    Hidden above 14th Street in an old slaughterhouse, Tarantula Billiards is the perfect downtown pool hall: gritty and urban, with well-poured drinks, rows of tables and a commanding view of the poor workaday shlubs down below. The free pool during the day -- with purchase of lunch, even if it's just the liquid variety -- and DJs spinning funk, soul… More >>
  • Best Gamesmanship

    Underground Games

    Let the games begin! Underground Games makes it easy, with stock that includes games both popular and obscure as well as replacement pieces for games you've had around so long that Park Place is looking, well, a little less than posh. There are also rooms available that you can rent by the hour, in case you'd like to hold that… More >>
  • Best Child's Play

    World's Largest Field Day (for Big Kids)

    In elementary school, everyone loved Field Day. It was a dream come true: an entire day devoted to playing outside, and then everyone went home with at least one ribbon. Then we got older, and gym class turned from blissful anarchy into one structured game after another. By high school, the only people who actually enjoyed gym were the jocks… More >>
  • Best Venue for an
    All-Night Party

    Fat City

    Fat City is every child's birthday-party paradise, with the bowling, the laser tag, the mini-golf, the rollerskating, the arcade and the foam factory. But the three-and-a-half-acre entertainment center doesn't stop at children's birthday packages, corporate team-building exercises -- including "crazy bowling" and mini-golf battles -- and rentable rooms. Oh, no. You can rent out the whole building -- which holds… More >>
  • Best Train Ride for Kids

    Polar Express

    Trains and Christmas. They just go together, like hot chocolate and marshmallows, in the magical lore of childhood dreams and Chris Van Allsburg's beloved holiday-season picture book, The Polar Express, which was made into an animated flick co-produced and voiced by true believer Tom Hanks. And now Coloradans can hop on board our own Polar Express, when the Durango &… More >>
  • Best Train Ride for Adults

    Royal Gorge Route Railroad

    I drink I can, I drink I can. The Little Engine That Could doesn't have anything on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, which has slated a series of very adult train trips this summer with its Winemaker Dinners. The monthly meals by chef Jeff McGlothin pair a five-course menu with wines from Colorado vineyards; the owner of each featured vineyard… More >>
  • Best Apres-Ski Pit Stop

    The Red Ram - CLOSED

    You've made it out of the Eisenhower Tunnel -- which means three more hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic into Denver. Time to head directly to Georgetown. Unlike I-70, on a Sunday night, the old mining town is eerily deserted -- except for the Red Ram. Inside, regulars are lined up at the long bar, sipping the Ram's own craft-brewed beer and… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar for the Non-Sports Fan

    College Inn

    The College Inn has great food and drink specials -- Monday is Tank-N-Tacos night, for example, with three tacos and a tank of any Bud or house marg for $4.50. It always has fine chicken wings. Ditto for boisterous crowds of off-duty nurses and working-the-crowd guys. And then it has all those large, flat-screen TVs hanging from the ceiling. So… More >>
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