Sports & Recreation

  • Best Beer Run

    Irish Snug Running Club

    While many people would associate water or Gatorade with exercise, those people would be wrong, and the Irish Snug knows it. Every Thursday at 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., waves of runners head out from the pub, following a 5K route around Capitol Hill before returning at a sprint, walk or crawl. Why are they running? Because there is a free… More >>
  • Best Golfing Indoors

    Swingers

    Golf is big in Colorado, but it's hard to play in the winter. And sometimes, well, an air-conditioned bar full of beer and burgers beats the checkered pants off the green. In that case, Swingers' sports lounge makes for a good compromise. The upscale joint has state-of-the-art golf simulators that allow virtual duffers to play eighteen holes in under an… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Chatfield State Park Dog Training Area

    Chatfield's off-leash area was originally intended for people who wanted to train hunting dogs in an outdoor environment. In fact, last year there was some question as to whether the dog-training space would remain open at all: Hunters and horseback riders had complained that the number of off-leash dogs was interfering with their use of the park. But right now… More >>
  • Best Overnight Backpacking Trip

    Lost Creek Wilderness

    Just fifty miles west and south of Denver, the Lost Creek Wilderness Area is the perfect place to get away from it all, including running water, but close enough that you don't have to go 48 hours without a shower. You can find any number of suitable campsites on the roadside, and even more just a short hike from your… More >>
  • Best Mid-Week Deal

    Loveland Ski Area

    Monday through Friday is the best time to head to the hills, for two reasons: Nobody's on the mountain and nobody's on I-70. The folks at Loveland Ski Area know this, which is why they offer a mid-week pass for $249 (or less, if you buy early or are a returning customer). Consider, too, that five-sevenths of the snow falls… More >>
  • Best Hikeable Terrain

    Silverton Mountain

    Welcome to the "sidecountry": A single lift takes you part of the way to Silverton Mountain's seemingly endless powder stash, but you'll be hoofing it in guided groups to get to the goods from there. Avalanche gear is mandatory and available to rent, and you'll want to break out your big boards. There are snowcat and heli-ski options available, but… More >>
  • Best Bronco

    Elvis Dumervil

    The Broncos' defense was shockingly unsucky in 2009, and much of that was attributable to the abandon with which Elvis Dumervil rushed opposing quarterbacks. His seventeen sacks led the league — by far — and his constant pursuit created a sense of havoc that allowed the Broncos to finish seventh in the league in defense, and in the top half… More >>
  • Best Sports Team Professional

    Denver Nuggets

    Somewhere in our collective dreams, there is a time when handing out this award will require some beer-fueled debate. Not this year. While the Rox will surely compete for a playoff spot, the Nuggets are the leading contender to overthrow the Lakers in the West, and they've hinted at an ability to do so by beating L.A. twice already this… More >>
  • Best Beer Cycling

    The Cycle Jerks

    Born from road rash, grease stains and beer, the Cycle Jerks are a group of bike messengers and enthusiasts whose website mission statement reads: "We write a blog. We throw events. We make videos (sometimes)." And the events — group rides that typically leave from bars — are a cycling subculture sight to behold.… More >>
  • Best Place To Get Wet and Wild Indoors

    Apex Center

    It's a rainy day, the kids are antsy, and you're desperate for some R&R. Why not head to the Apex Center, centerpiece of the Apex Park and Recreation District that's essentially a rec center on steroids? Aside from its two NHL-caliber ice rinks, natural rock-climbing wall and three full-sized gymnasiums, the joint features a 23,000-square-foot mother of all indoor wet… More >>
  • Best Skatepark

    Roxborough Skatepark

    Designed by Tim Payne and built by Team Pain Skate Parks — the folks behind the killer concrete in Aspen, Silverthorne, Breckenridge and Salida — Roxborough features a great street course and two of the best bowls in the state, complete with pool coping, stairs, death boxes and a "Roman"-style deep end. It's nestled near Roxborough State Park, so you… More >>
  • Best Nordic Resort

    Devil's Thumb Ranch

    With its relatively steep trails — and prices to match — Devil's Thumb isn't the place to go for your first time on cross-country skis. Set against the hills of Roosevelt National Forest between Fraser and Tabernash, however, it's a breathtakingly beautiful site. The ranch's 100 kilometers of groomed trails offer more than you could possibly get bored with in… More >>
  • Best Way to Catch a Ride

    SkiCarpool.org

    A thumb and some skis or a snowboard will still reliably get you a ride up Loveland or Berthoud Pass most days, but for longer journeys starting from the metropolitan area or anywhere else in Colorado, try the virtual hitchhiker's rideshare board at SkiCarpool.org, a non-profit operation with the motto "Make friends, not traffic." Offer to drive or pitch in… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn Double-Cork 1260s

    Woodward at Copper

    Snowboarding moves pretty fast, and this year's double-cork craze kept Colorado pipe jocks JJ Thomas, Zack Black, Steve Fisher and Matt Ladley out of Olympic contention. All four will be working out over the trampolines, foam pits and air bags at Woodward at Copper to play catchup, and the indoor/outdoor action sports camp is your best bet for learning some… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Troy Tulowitzki

    As Troy Tulowitzki went in 2009, so went the Rockies. And in the end, both went to the playoffs. Tulo started the season slow — he hit .200 in April and .240 in May — but he came to life around the time the Rox also caught fire. By September, he had re-established himself as the team's offensive leader, finishing… More >>
  • Best Sports Team College

    University of Denver Pioneers hockey

    A bona fide powerhouse, the University of Denver Pioneers' success has the utilitarian benefit of being damn entertaining, and for ticket prices that don't require special financing. The country's No. 1 team at the end of the regular season, the Pioneers entered the playoffs poised — expected, really — to reach their fifteenth Frozen Four and compete for their eighth… More >>
  • Best Beer Yoga

    Bristol Brewing Yoga Classes

    Find your center. Now, come to mountain pose. Slowly stretch into warrior pose and hold. Return to mountain pose and take a sip of your beer. Yoga isn't for everyone, but the Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs is closing that gap by offering guy-friendly classes geared toward beginners — and beer drinkers. Attendees get the class, water, and post-workout… More >>
  • Best Hot Springs

    Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa

    Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa is like a hot springs buffet. The place boasts 21 mineral pools, some indoors and some out, whose temperatures range from 95 degrees (for the timid) to 112 degrees (for the bold...and boiled). The all-natural water is chock-full of stuff like sodium, sulfate and magnesium, which sound like ingredients for a chemistry experiment but… More >>
  • Best Skate Shop Skate Team

    303 Boards

    Every skate shop in the country has a team of local skaters repping it, but the 303 pros have done more to shape the Denver skate scene than any other crew. Team riders Angel Ramirez and David Reyes have been getting coverage in the national skate mags lately, and 303Boards.com is updated a few times a week with new footage… More >>
  • Best Free Snowshoeing Tour

    Redfeather Snowshoe Tours, Copper Mountain

    If you've ever had a hankering to strap a couple of rackets on your boots and take off across the snow like Jesus walking on water, Copper Mountain's Redfeather Snowshoe Tours offers a chance to try the egalitarian winter sport, with quality equipment and a guide — for free. Led by Copper Resort Ambassadors, the tours give you a slower… More >>
  • Best Snot Stopper

    The Snot Spot

    You should never wipe your nose on your mitten. Not only will you have snot on your mitten, but you'll scratch the living hell out of your soft nasal tissue. Vail's Monica Martin took this to heart when she came up with the Snot Spot — a fleece-and-Velcro partial covering that fits over gloves and mittens so you can blow… More >>
  • Best Chance at Beating Shaun White in 2014

    Matt Ladley

    Four years is a long time in snowboarding, but we'll put our long odds on Matt Ladley for the next Olympics. The young rider from Steamboat Springs is inexperienced and inconsistent and a little bit insane — he was one of the first to huck a double cork in the pipe after Shaun White showed it was possible — and… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Carmelo Anthony

    It'd be amusing to choose someone else here. It'd also be wrong. Carmelo Anthony not only is a lock for Best Nugget, he's among the best in the league, and he's emerged as the NBA's best pure scorer. His offensive arsenal — jump shot, penetration, post-game and the like — is the most versatile in the league, and he long… More >>
  • Best Coach Professional

    Jim Tracy

    Considering the timing of things, it's hard not to show love to Rockies skipper Jim Tracy. With the team mired in a face-stabbingly frustrating start to 2009, Tracy was elevated from bench coach to manager at the end of last May, and the team immediately set off on a tear that didn't end until the playoffs. A model of mediocrity… More >>
  • Best Free Yoga

    Auraria Health Center Series

    Even poor college students need to keep their chakras in balance, but the costs of all those mats, water bottles and punch cards put yoga out of reach for many. Fortunately, the good people of the Auraria Health Center offer yoga every day but Sunday. Whether you choose kundalini, hatha or any of the many types available, you will stretch,… More >>
  • Best Skinny Dipping

    Grant-Frontier Park

    This hidden corner of Denver has a proud history of being the best place to test the waters. Grant-Frontier Park commemorates the alleged location of Montana City, the first settlement established by pioneers on the South Platte River a year before the city of Denver. The width of the river narrows just north of the park's foot bridge, and the… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Nickname

    Honey Punches of Throats

    The Denver Roller Dolls have been skating their fishnet-and-hotpants-clad butts off to raise the profile of roller derby, taking third place in the 2009 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Nationals tournament, moving to the 6,500-seat 1stBank Center for their 2010 home matches, and arguing that their sport should be included in the Olympics. But that doesn't mean they've ditched the… More >>
  • Best Extreme Tubing

    Adventure Point at Keystone Mountain

    High above Keystone's River Run, at the top of 11,640-foot Dercum Mountain, is Adventure Point, and it offers one of the most hair-raising, scream-inducing adventures you and your kids (42 inches and taller only) can have while sitting on your butts. Carved into the side of the steep mountain are five icy trenches reminiscent of a bobsled course, but much… More >>
  • Best Snowboard Blog

    Shayboarder.com

    Shannon Johnson is the self-described "writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder" behind Shayboarder.com, an everywoman's (and -man's) blog about snowboarding, snowboarding and snowboarding. Shay blogs from her home mountain at Steamboat, travels to just about every major snowboarding event in Colorado and runs regular product reviews, interviews and other features… More >>
  • Best Chance at Beating Torah Bright in 2014

    Clair Bidez

    The young rider from Minturn got the most attention this year after she stripped down for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue alongside Hannah Teter, alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, and aerialist Lacy Schnoor. But Clair Bidez also finished in the top ten at the first three events of the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix in 2009 and is proving that she can… More >>
  • Best Av

    Paul Stastny

    Hobbled by injury last season, center Paul Stastny has re-emerged as the soul of the Avs in 2010. Sure, his goals are down from his first two seasons in the league. But the former University of Denver standout's leadership and puck distribution — he's sixth in the league, with 53 assists — have kept the Avs in the Western Conference… More >>
  • Best Coach College

    George Gwozdecky

    In sixteen seasons as head coach of the University of Denver Pioneers hockey team, George Gwozdecky has done what he came to do: continue the team's long legacy of winning. Inheriting a team that already boasted five national titles, Gwozdecky has added two more banners to the Magness Arena rafters since taking over in 1994. The only coach in history… More >>
  • Best Yoga With a Beat

    Yoga Jams

    Flo Lambert knows how to get her students moving: In her weekly Power Yoga classes, aspiring yogis sweat and flow through a challenging series of poses, guided by Lambert's gentle prodding. On the fourth Friday of every month, she gets primal, incorporating live drums to stimulate the mind as well as the booty. The drummers take their cues from Alya… More >>
  • Best Return to Nature

    Westerly Creek Trail

    When Stapleton International Airport was retired, most of its concrete runways were crushed and reused (as an aggregate) in constructing nearby warehouses. But the more incredible runway-return-to-nature vision lies along Westerly Creek Trail, hidden beneath the MLK Boulevard bridge. Here, large concrete chunks were used like stones to line the hike and bike trails and retain the soil of low… More >>
  • Best Mountain-Bike Park

    SolVista Bike Park

    The SolVista Bike Park at Granby Ranch will host USA Cycling's 2010 Mountain Bike National Championships July 15-18, bringing the event back for the second year in a row. Ride up the Quick Draw Express lift and pick your poison: The park now boasts more than a dozen trails with green, blue and double-black diamond ratings, including a beginner-friendly pump… More >>
  • Best Birthday Party

    Mary Jane Birthday Bash

    The town of Winter Park throws the weirdest, most wonderful birthday party each January for Mary Jane, the gnarlier half of the resort. And while there is a nudge-nudge, wink-wink element to MJ, the Mary Jane Birthday Bash doesn't come off half-baked. In fact, it's remarkable in its ability to appeal to freaks and families more or less equally. Packed… More >>
  • Best Shred Heads

    Boulder Snowboarding Group

    Adam Schmidt's snowboard group on Meetup.com is fast approaching 1,500 members, a critical mass that has helped the Boulder Snowboarding Group organize competitions (this year they threw down at Loveland, Vail and Echo Mountain), host demo days with big-name sponsors, take over local bars with party-night "meetups," and wrangle group deals on avalanche safety classes, lodging, lift tickets, and transportation… More >>
  • Best Place to Chase Your Olympic Dreams

    Denver Curling Club

    The Denver Curling Club's rookie league welcomed 280 new recruits in the weeks after Canada swept the men's curling competition at the Olympics. First established in 1965, the DCC now has three games a week on Thursday and Saturday nights at the Ice Ranch in Littleton and offers learn-to-curl classes that are almost always full. The game is harder than… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    Jamie Shewchuk

    It's hard to find much to praise about a Mammoth team that's racked up the worst record in the National Lacrosse League and still hasn't managed a win on their Pepsi Center home field. But wiry forward Jamie Shewchuk has been a ray of light in the Mammoth's dark season, both as a scorer and a distributor. His sixteen goals… More >>
  • Best Sports Team General Manager

    Mark Warkentien

    When we gave this award to Mark Warkentien last year, the Nuggets GM had just pulled off a magical trade for Chauncey Billups, ridding the team of the tumorous Allen Iverson and positioning it to make a run for the conference finals. Since then? He's orchestrated a Draft Day steal for Ty Lawson, acquired back-court depth in the form of… More >>
  • Best Cheap Gym Membership

    Planet Fitness

    In an age of unprecedented narcissism among Americans, the slickest fitness companies are able to slim down your love handles and your bank account. Planet Fitness breaks the mold. The nationwide company's ongoing special is a $10-a-month membership with a $1 start-up fee. That's $121 a year for unlimited access to the gym, with absolutely no contract. How do they… More >>
  • Best and Only Free Part of the Denver Aquarium

    Sharkey Fun Zone

    The Denver Aquarium is loads of fun, what with sunken temples, re-created flash floods and piranha tanks, but it's also pricey. Between parking fees, multiple gift shops and added activity charges on top of already steep admission costs, a visit there can waterlog your credit card. Luckily, there's Sharkey Fun Zone, a nearly hidden indoor play area at the back… More >>
  • Best BMX Racing

    Pikes Peak BMX

    BMX Supercross made its debut as an Olympic medal sport in Beijing in 2008, with American Mike Day grabbing gold and Donny Robinson and Jill Kintner each bringing home bronze medals. All three trained on the ABA-sanctioned track at Pikes Peak BMX, which boasts a replica of the Beijing Olympic track. To start training for London 2012 — or to… More >>
  • Best New Ski Lift

    Palmyra Staircase

    Okay, so it's not exactly a "lift," per se, but the gnarliest new way up a hill this year is Telluride's stairway to heaven in the Gold Hill Chutes on Palmyra Peak. It consists of a pair of steel staircases and a bridge flown in by helicopter that now link Gold Hill Chutes #8 and #9. After a twenty- to… More >>
  • Best Terrain Park

    Snowmass

    Named by TransWorld Snowboarding as one of the top ten sites nationwide, the three different terrain parks at Snowmass — Scooper, Little Makaha and Snowmass Park — cater to shredders of every stripe. There's a 22-foot Olympic-sized pipe in the mix, along with some of the biggest rails, boxes and jump sets in the state. And the best part? You… More >>
  • Best Guess for When Colorado Will Host the Winter Olympics

    2026

    Colorado had its chance to host the Winter Olympic Games back in 1976, but after winning the bid, voters — egged on by then-governor Dick Lamm — rejected the award. Every four years since then, Coloradans have debated the economic and environmental impact of making another attempt. The talk is now on for a try at the 2022 Games, but… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Conor Casey

    A Carmelo-like no-brainer here: Conor Casey's 2009 season not only cemented him as the anchor of the Rapids, but he emerged as an MVP candidate, setting a club record with sixteen goals and coming one score shy of the league's goals title. The hometown fave — he graduated from South High — earned himself an all-star berth and a place… More >>
  • Best Move by a General Manager

    Firing Clint Hurdle

    Those are hard words to read, considering that Clint Hurdle managed to lead the Rockies to their first World Series appearance. But last spring, with the Rockies limping out of the gates, it was time for a change, and GM Dan O'Dowd pulled the trigger, ousting Hurdle in favor of bench coach Jim Tracy. Whatever Hurdle was selling, the players… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Saddle Rock Golf Course

    Public golf must be measured by value, and few courses in the metro area combine the value, character and playing conditions of Saddle Rock. Built in 1997, the course — tucked into the southeast corner of Aurora — features 7,351 yards of well-manicured rolling plains, with large elevation changes and swaths of ravine making it a challenge from every tee… More >>
  • Best Old Museum Within a Museum

    Denver Wax Museum/Forney Museum of Transportation

    The Forney Museum of Transportation is an often-overlooked Denver attraction, featuring one of the world's largest locomotives, early electric-car prototypes and other eccentric vehicles. What makes it even cooler? The kitsch-tastic Denver Wax Museum, closed to the public in 1981, lives on inside the Forney like some sort of creepy alien symbiote. The Forney purchased the wax museum's figures when… More >>
  • Best Motocross Action

    Thunder Valley

    Thunder Valley Motocross Park is not merely the best place to rev your engines around Denver; the 130-acre facility is among the best in the world, which is why it was picked to host the Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations in September, only the third time the 64-year-old event has ever been held in the United States. Thunder Valley… More >>
  • Best New Ski Terrain

    McCormack's Maze and Hoody's

    In December, Purgatory expanded its expert terrain offerings by 30 percent with the opening of 125 acres of steep new tree-skiing runs known as the Legends and serviced by the Legends lift. McCormack's Maze and Hoody's — named for Durango's senior VP of mountain operations Mike McCormack and VP of base area operations Jim "Hoody" Hards — represent the first… More >>
  • Best Halfpipe

    Main Vein Superpipe

    To push progression in the sport and keep pace with pioneering riders like Shaun White, the International Olympic Committee super-sized its snowboard halfpipe specs in time for the winter games last February, ditching the eighteen-foot transitions of yesteryear for a longer, steeper pipe with 22-foot walls. Copper beat every other resort in the Northern Hemisphere to get its early-season superpipe… More >>
  • Best Guess for When Colorado Will Host the Shannon Sharpe Will Be Elected to the Hall of Fame

    2011

    Shannon Sharpe was the greatest tight end who ever played when he retired in 2003 —  yet he still hasn't made the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a curse that has excluded at least half a dozen worthy Denver Broncos. But we think that wait will come to an end in 2011, when Sharpe, who became the first tight end… More >>
  • Best Mascot

    Chip

    How do you take the measure of a mascot? Is it the ability to pump up the crowd when the game's going badly? Is it athleticism, creativity or community involvement? Is it cuddliness, orneriness or just plain silliness? Or is it the ability to kick the snot out of the other mascots during the annual UCA Mascot National Championships (including… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf Course

    Aqua Golf

    It's easy to make a miniature golf course kitschy for the kids. The challenge with Aqua Golf, part of the City of Denver's Overland Golf Course complex, was making it amusing for families but also interesting for golfers who want to work on their putting after hitting balls at the driving range. So when the city dumped $2.8 million into… More >>
  • Best Urban Campfire

    Bluff Lake Nature Center

    The bluff has a long and storied history as a gawker's paradise. Twenty years ago, Havana Way was the street where Denver teenagers parked to get stoned and make out while watching airplanes take off and land on the east-west runways of Stapleton International Airport. Today, the Bluff Lake Nature Center, located on the same road, is a place for… More >>
  • Best Multi-Day Backpacking Route

    Four Pass Loop, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

    Sure, it's popular, but it's popular for a reason. With its eponymous four passes (West Maroon, Frigid Air, Trail Rider, and Buckskin) totaling roughly 10,000 feet of elevation gain over 28 miles in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, the Four Pass Loop requires three days, including one grueling stretch that covers two passes. The workout pays off, however, in the form… More >>
  • Best Ski Pass Deal

    Monarch Mountain Pass

    Available for $289 pre-season, the Monarch Mountain Pass gives you unlimited access to Monarch, plus three free days each at Loveland, Sunlight Mountain, Durango and Powderhorn, one free day at Silverton and three free days each at Angel Fire, Pajarito and Sipapu in New Mexico. This nifty deal also nets you half-price lift tickets at Alta in Utah and free… More >>
  • Best Local Boards for Locavores

    Never Summer Heritage Series

    Looking for a sick stick made within an ecologically sustainable shipping distance of your favorite resort? Look no further than Never Summer's Heritage Series boards, made in a north Denver warehouse. This year's model featured a woolly mammoth repping the Colorado state banner; next year's boards will have a bald eagle flying the flag. Now that the snowboard industry has… More >>
  • Best Guess for When the Broncos Will Return to the Super Bowl

    2016

    The Broncos back in the Super Bowl? It's not happening anytime soon, and here's why: Josh McDaniels. He's demonstrated that he knows the game, but his XXL ego will keep tripping him up, as he proved when he ran defensive coordinator Mike Nolan out of town, and when he convinced himself that he could reverse Brady Quinn's horribleness. He'll go… More >>
  • Best Sports Announcer

    Scott Hastings

    Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Scott Hastings knows Colorado sports. The former Denver Nuggets player has been a very visible part — he stands 6' 10" and is very recognizable — of the sports broadcasting scene here for more than fifteen years. He's also very busy, providing TV color commentary for Nuggets broadcasts and co-hosting a… More >>
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