Sports & Recreation

  • Best Sports Bar

    Prickly Pete's - CLOSED

    Prickly Pete's is the kind of place you can fall in love with after putting just one foot inside the door. It's a rock-solid sports bar with eighteen fifty-inch plasma TVs, substantial platters of wings, nachos and pulled pork, and frequent beer specials. But Pete's separates itself from other joints with its large patio, where, thanks to three fairly sizable… More >>
  • Best Reason to Go to a Mammoth Game

    Hot tub bikini dancers

    Despite its record, the Colorado Mammoth regularly boasts the best attendance of any team in the National Lacrosse League. Could be the cheap ticket prices, and it could be the popularity of lacrosse in Colorado. Or it could be the team's dance squad, the Wild Bunch, and the fact that some of these lovely ladies spend every game steaming in… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Pablo Mastroeni

    As the Colorado Rapids made their run to capture the 2010 MLS crown, Pablo Mastroeni was the steadying, veteran force at the midfield position. He earned his third team MVP award and, at 34, tied his career high for games played at 29. He also played every minute of every playoff game, scored the game winner vs. Columbus in the… More >>
  • Best Outlaw

    Brendan Mundorf

    The Denver Outlaws missed out on their chance to play in the Major League Lacrosse championship game this year by losing to Long Island. But the team earned its number-two seed in large part because of Brendan Mundorf's prolific scoring. The attacker led the Outlaws in scoring with 38 points and ranked fourth in the league in that category. That… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- Professional

    Colorado Rapids

    No mid-season coach firing, no season-consuming trade rumors and no season-deteriorating losing streak. And, oh, yeah, a championship. Possibly a greater accomplishment than winning the MLS title was making Denver care about soccer. After the Rapids beat FC Dallas in overtime to earn their first championship, former governor Bill Ritter declared November 23 "Colorado Rapids Day."… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- College

    University of Denver Pioneers Hockey

    This season's story could have been one of tragedy, but instead, it's that of a near miracle. During an October 30 game, University of Denver Pioneers center Jesse Martin was hit while in the corner and suffered three fractures in the C2 vertebra near his brain stem. He was lucky his spinal cord wasn't severed, and through hard work, he's… More >>
  • Best Coach — Professional

    George Karl

    He beat cancer for the second time. He resisted the urge to blast Carmelo Anthony for demanding a trade and being a season-long distraction. He signed a new contract and he's kept the Nuggets in playoff position despite the Melodrama and integrated the new players into the team to the tune of a 5-1 start post-Melo. This season was ripe… More >>
  • Best Coach — College

    Tim Miles

    When Tim Miles arrived in Fort Collins three years ago to coach the men's basketball team, seven of the nine eligible players transferred or quit. The Rams went 0-16 in conference play in Miles's first season. With the help of senior forwards Travis Franklin and Andy Ogide, the Rams finished the regular season with a record of 19-11 and were… More >>
  • Best Move by a General Manager

    Extending CarGo and Tulo's contracts

    While the D-Nuggs dumping Melo is beginning to look a lot better than it was supposed to, the best move for our money came from a team that isn't exactly known for making fan-happy decisions. Over the winter, the Colorado Rockies extended the contracts of its two heaviest hitters since the Blake Street Bombers, and not just by a little… More >>
  • Best Sports Announcer

    Drew Goodman

    Baseball announcers are second to none when it comes to obnoxious homerism and "I played the game back when it meant something" rambling. So the fact that Drew Goodman avoids these two habits puts him in an elite class. Add in clean play-by-play, useful information and appropriate pace, and Goodman is the town's best sports voice. He usually masters the… More >>
  • Best Mascot

    Rocky

    Rocky, the mountain-lion mascot for the Denver Nuggets, drains backwards, half-court shots (sometimes on stilts) and crushes trampoline dunks. He once pinched then-Celtic Kendrick Perkins's ass and took several left hooks from Charles Barkley. He hits on ladies in the crowd and roughhouses with kids. Mostly, he's generally not annoying (at least to fans), which seems to be the job… More >>
  • Best Upscale Sports Bar

    Big Game - CLOSED

    It's a play on words: Not only does Big Game show almost every sporting event under the sun on its slew of gigantic TVs (the thirty-foot HDTV screen might pop your pupils), but it also serves game (as in the meat). In fact, the LoDo spot's menu has included everything from bison to mussels to sushi — not exactly your… More >>
  • Best Live Mascot

    Air Force Falcon

    Lions and tigers and bears? More like bison and rams and falcons, oh, my. Yes, there is a menagerie of real animals on the sidelines of college and pro sports games in Colorado, but one of these animals stood — well, soared — above the rest last year. In December, just before the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, where Air… More >>
  • Best High School Sports Powerhouse

    Regis Jesuit High School

    Boys may be cool, but the girls certainly don't drool at Regis Jesuit High, a private Catholic school in Aurora that separates the two. Led by fifteen-year-old sophomore Missy Franklin — who currently holds the U.S. record in the 200-meter backstroke and is expected to compete for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team — the gals ended Cherry… More >>
  • Best Denver Broncos Fanboys

    The Tebros

    There's not a lot of equivocation when it comes to backup Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Most fans either love him or hate him. But no one — and we mean no one — loves the former Florida Gator more than the Tebros, a pair of Southern-fried fanboys who worship the ground that Tebow walks on and hosted a weekly Internet… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby League

    Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

    These women are officially the most badass skaters in the land. In November, the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls beat reigning champs the Oly Rollers of Washington to win the roller-derby world championship and bring the trophy — a silver skate mounted on an artful piece of twisted metal — to the Mile High City. This year, they'll fight to keep it… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Nickname

    Frida Beater

    MVP honors went to jammer Portia "Frida Beater" Hensley when the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls skated their way to the world championship. Beater beat her way past the Oly Rollers for a total of 51 points in the bout, including the last-second score that sealed the deal in a nail-biting finish. But the five-year roller derby vet gets high marks for… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn to Drive a Zamboni

    The Ice Ranch Zam Camp

    Aside from a Lamborghini or a Rolls-Royce, few motorized vehicles elicit as many oohs and aahs as the Zamboni, and for good reason: Zambonis are awesome. Kids love to watch them, and parents want to drive them. At the Ice Ranch Zam Camp, they can. The Littleton venue offers periodic Zamboni-driving lessons, along with a course on the history, safety… More >>
  • Best Indoor Speedorama

    Speed Raceway

    Deep down inside, everyone has a soft spot for a fast car. And now you can have one for an hour or two, without all the responsibility: At Speed Raceway, you can step into the driver's seat of an Italian-made electric go-kart and make like Mario on a shiny European quarter-mile track. Walk in, book a party, take a lesson… More >>
  • Best Place for Motorcycle Maniacs

    Vintage Motos Museum

    Jim Dillard's Vintage Motos Museum is a labor of love in every sense of the word: Jim loves motorcycles, especially the vintage European numbers, and he loves to labor over them, restoring them to their gleaming prime. This collection of nearly 200 retro machines is on view only on Saturdays, but if you love motorcycles, you won't want to miss… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Wynkoop Brewing Company

    With its creaking old floors, smoothed wooden fixtures and green lamps, the pool room on the second floor the Wynkoop Brewing Company forces you to stand at attention and show respect for another time and place in Denver history. And the beer's not bad, either. The pool hall includes twenty-plus billiards tables, shuffleboard and darts, and it features a bar… More >>
  • Best Guess for When the Broncos Will Return to the Super Bowl

    2034

    The Broncos were the second-worst team in the NFL in 2011 and ended up firing coach Josh McDaniels before the season was over. And then they hired John Fox, former coach of the only team that did worse. So it may be a while, folks. Luckily, so many people turned away from their TVs last year (especially during the October… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Old-School Nintendo

    Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys

    Dreaming of those rumpus-room days, long past, in which you would spend hours navigating Link through Hyrule, your trusty Nintendo controller in hand and visions of 8-bit glory dancing in your head? Now you can relive those halcyon times at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, which features not just a stunning collection of dolls and dollhouses spanning… More >>
  • Best Rec Center

    Central Park at Stapleton

    Conceived and funded in a time when Denver did not stare at cavernous debt, the freshly opened Stapleton rec center is as shiny and opulent as the brownstones across the street from it. By far the largest center in the system, Central Park offers a kid-friendly pool replete with lazy river and water slide; a tech-laden cardio room overlooking the… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Challenge

    Tour de B-cycle

    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… More >>
  • Best Way to Power Up for a Bike Ride

    Happy Coffee + Parts at Salvagetti - CLOSED

    There's nothing worse than feeling flat in the morning, and Salvagetti, the LoHi bike shop, has the perfect way to pump you up: coffee and parts from a bike-thru window. Bike shop owner Scott Taylor decided to open Happy Coffee last spring as a way for early-morning cyclists to get a shot of caffeine, a tube, a tire, a patch… More >>
  • Best Bike Racks

    Park Hill Fruit Hoops

    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… More >>
  • Best Mountain Bike Park

    Trestle Bike Park

    Winter Park expanded its Trestle Bike Park in 2010 with eight new runs and new features all over the mountain, adding both a "Green World" novice area and insane new terrain worthy of pro events like Crankworx Colorado. For starters, try the Trestle 101 progressive lesson and guide program. If you haven't upgraded your helmet and other body armor (or… More >>
  • Best New Skatepark

    Aurora City Park

    Colorado has some of the gnarliest skateparks in the world, giant concrete behemoths packed with everything a skateboarder could ask for. So why do those stubborn street urchins still slide and grind on every little ledge in the city? Aurora's new pocket-sized park, designed and built by the skatepark experts at Grindline (a Seattle-based company better known for building bigger,… More >>
  • Best Directions From Denver to Durango

    Colorado Trail: The Official Guidebook

    For those interested in trekking the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail, the Colorado Trail: The Official Guidebook will significantly decrease your chances of getting lost and having to fight bears for food. The trail itself crosses eight mountain ranges, seven national forests, six wilderness areas and five river systems, and the book helps trekkers navigate each part. This… More >>
  • Best New Ski Lift

    Black Mountain Express

    The new Black Mountain Express at Arapahoe Basin represents the end of an era for the 65-year-old no-frills ski area, where the old A-frame lodge and parking-lot beach parties are still just as skiers have always loved them. In this case, it's a change for the best: The high-speed quad replaces the circa 1978 Exhibition lift and cuts the old… More >>
  • Best New Ski Terrain

    Heli Ski/Heli Board

    Nothing compares to the 22,000 acres of new ski terrain open at Silverton Mountain this season, where the lone chairlift is now supplemented with a whirlybird, thanks to a new operating agreement. Heli drops start at $159 per run (less with a $399 season pass) or $999 for a full day (six runs), making this the most affordable heli-skiing operation… More >>
  • 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… More >>
  • Best Terrain Park

    A-51 Terrain Park

    Keystone's A-51 Terrain Park made top-ten lists in TransWorld Snowboarding, Skiing and Freeskier magazines this season, thanks to visionary park designer Jason George. The park has a dedicated lift — best seats in the house for the thrills and spills unfolding below — and features five different zones for everyone from li'l shredders to resident pros like Jossi Wells and… More >>
  • Best Halfpipe

    Freeride Terrain Park

    Last season, Breckenridge incurred the wrath of the snowboarding community, including the likes of Shaun White, when it built a meager seventeen-foot halfpipe — so 2008 — in the first Olympic year with the new 22-foot competition standard. Picky protesting pro snowboarders, including White and a handful of Olympic hopefuls, boycotted the Breckenridge stop of the Winter Dew Tour to… More >>
  • Best Ski Pass Deal

    $99 Snow Day Pass

    As if the Rocky Mountain Super Pass (Copper Mountain, Winter Park, six days at Steamboat Springs) weren't already one of the best season-pass deals in the U.S., Copper Mountain upped the ante this season with its $99 Snow Day Pass. For less than the price of a lift ticket at some other nearby resorts, Snow Day pass-holders got unlimited access… More >>
  • 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… More >>
  • Best Way to Track Your Mountain Exploits

    EpicMix

    You'd think a day up on the slopes would be all about getting away from technology, but Vail Resorts has developed a program that perfectly marries the fun of epic pow-pow with fiddling with your techno-doohickeys. This season they introduced their EpicMix social-media app, which tracks guests' achievements thanks to RFID chips in all their season passes and lift tickets… More >>
  • Best I-70 Gridlock Beater

    SkiBus Colorado

    The worst part of heading up I-70 for a day of skiing or snowboarding? Heading up I-70. SkiBus Colorado helps ease that pain by providing rides to Keystone and Breckenridge. Not only does it eliminate the pain in the ass that is driving — especially in bad weather — but it has the potential to remove a fleet of cars… More >>
  • Best Way to Breed New Skiers

    Fifth Grade Passport Program

    Skiing is expensive. Really, really, really expensive. But the fifteen-year-old Fifth Grade Passport Program offered by Colorado Ski Country helps take some of the sting out of it for parents — at least for a year. The program gives three free days of skiing or snowboarding to fifth-graders at each of 21 participating resorts (Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek… More >>
  • Best Slopeside Hangout for Tots Too Teeny to Ski

    Mountain Top Children's Museum

    Ski towns are great for grownups, less so for the wee ones. Unless you're a baby version of Bode Miller, there's not a whole lot that's designed for the kindergarten set. One exception is the Mountain Top Children's Museum in Breckenridge. The colorful indoor play area just off the main drag packs a lot of fun into cozy quarters, from… More >>
  • Best Temporary Sport

    SmashPutt

    It's an art installation. And it's a game. How the two crash together in the Seattle sensation that came to Denver for a six-weekend run is hard to explain. But this we do know: The mechanized mini-golf with air cannons, saw blades, ball drillers and a well-stocked bar is a blast. And cheating is allowed. We hope it comes back… More >>
  • Best Driving Range

    Estes Park Golf Course

    Set in a valley filled with elk and bordered by Rocky Mountain National Park, the Estes Park Golf Course will inspire you to hit that ball harder and farther. And with the altitude, it will almost make golf a sport as well. The eighteen-hole course and driving range are only open from April to October and include a pro shop,… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Nenê

    It's a tough time to be a Denver Nugget. Carmelo Anthony, possibly the best player in franchise history, and hometown hero Chauncey Billups were recently traded to New York for good but not great players, cash and draft picks. We wish the 6'11" center would rebound and block shots at a higher rate, but Nenê is a presence, and he's… More >>
  • Best Mini-Golf Driving Range

    Aqua Golf

    Most driving ranges are essentially the same: long, green fairways where you can forget about the more nuanced parts of the game and smash some drives. That's great — but Aqua Golf allows you to crush balls into a lake, which is even better. Where most ranges have actual golf courses attached, Aqua Golf has mini-golf, so don't go if… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    West Arvada Dog Park

    What's the point of living in Colorado if you don't take advantage of wide-open spaces and mountain views every once in a while? This fenced five-acre park has separate real estate for shy and small dogs, and there are benches for two-legged visitors to recline while the dogs romp. You'll need to bring your own water and poop baggies —… More >>
  • Best Rainy-Day Dog Walks

    Comfy K9 Indoor Dog Park

    Fido doesn't care if it's vertically sleeting cats and, er, dogs. Fido wants to go for a walk. What to do? Comfy K9 opens its 22,000-square-foot doggy daycare and kennel facility to the public every weekend for community frolicking and fun. Admission is free, although a donation of $5 is suggested to benefit the National Mill Dog Rescue. Up-to-date vaccinations… More >>
  • Best Denver Zoo Animal Babies

    Amur tiger cubs

    Picking the cutest animal babies is kind of like choosing the prettiest children; there's something vaguely Toddlers & Tiaras about the whole thing, and it makes us worry that we're damaging the self-esteem of all the other, uglier baby animals. That said, the four Amur tiger cubs born at the zoo last June are by far the most adorable, fluffy,… More >>
  • Best New Nugget

    Wilson Chandler

    The drawn-out drama leading up to the February trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks had several downsides. Among them: the loss of Lala Vazquez, Anthony's wife and one of Denver's only VH1 reality-TV stars, and the even more heartbreaking loss of Chauncey Billups, who was ripped away in the deal. But the upsides include Knick-turned-Nugget Wilson Chandler,… More >>
  • Best Sporting Defense of Denver

    Bill Simmons

    Oh, the Melodrama, how it pained our souls. Our local sportswriters had every angle of the Carmelo Anthony trade covered, but it took a major media voice from out of state to big-up Denver on the national stage. (Sorry, Woody.) Amid overt suggestions that our town isn't good enough or big enough or exciting enough, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons represented, calling… More >>
  • 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… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    Mac Allen

    If you just looked at the standings, the Mammoth would be the worst team in the National Lacrosse League. But we're not too concerned with conventional statistics. You know what we like? Penalty minutes. And defenseman Mac Allen leads the league in that category. The Mammoth will need a serious rally to salvage this season, but at least we know… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Carlos Gonzalez

    CarGo took off in the second half of the 2010 season and made a run at the triple crown. He settled for a batting title, leading the league in hits, a third-place finish in NL MVP voting and the Players Choice Award for best player in the league. He did this while playing through a wrist injury that stole his… More >>
  • Best (Web) Site for Sore Eyes

    Rocky Mountain Spirit

    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… More >>
  • Best Roller Derby Skater

    Fonda Payne

    Gabrielle Begeman isn't as Fonda Payne as she is of dishing it out, and the 2011 co-captain of the 2011 Mile High Club — the Roller Dolls' premier team — is also its top skater. In fact, Denver native Begeman, a jammer since 2008, was voted most valuable league member, most valuable skater and MVP of her team last year.… More >>
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