There's only one Ping-Pong table at Harvey Park, and it isn't even set up all the time. Yet staffers at this friendly rec center are happy to set it up on request.


Gameworks, it's not. Still, the colossal arcade inside this Dave & Buster's food-and-fun franchise is where local video game junkies find their tastiest fix. Serious players know to hit D&B's on the weekdays, when the only crowds are of businessmen clustered around the Golden Tee golf machines. Beware Friday and Saturday nights, when youthful hordes descend and a $5 cover charge fleeces the suckers after 10 p.m. During happy hour (Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 7 p.m.), drinks are half price, and one hour of unlimited play costs just $10 with a "power hour" card. Since it's easy to blow through a twenty here in half that time, it's a bargain. Take full advantage of the repeat play on new, tough-to-master games like TsuMo, a hydraulic first-person shooter in which you repel an armed beach invasion from a machine-gun nest. Alternate title: "Killing Private Ryan."


Games are not just for kids, especially at the Wynkoop, where men and women rack billiards balls, smack pinball flippers and sweep shuffleboard tables in between sips of Railyard Ale. A huge, loft-like space above the brewery's table-and-chairs main floor, the Wynkoop's game room is an arcade of activity every night of the week. With skill levels that range from novice to professional, it's a great place to hone -- and show off -- your gaming chops. Rack 'em.


Although things got a little too popular at the end of 2000, when a reported 5,000 revelers came to the mountain town's skate-and-fireworks fest (some without paying), a more orderly celebration went off without a hitch this year on the Currier & Ives-like pond about thirty minutes west of Denver. With ticket sales limited to under 3,000, people could actually skate, drink cocoa or visit without getting crushed. And at midnight, as 2001 slid away, fireworks lit up the sky and folks cheered heartily. So that's what John Denver was talking about.


Best Turkey Caller Using His Pro Sports Split V3

Bob Cook
Strasburg

In the world of competitive turkey calling, Coloradans are at a bit of a disadvantage compared to experts from regions where wild turkeys are more plentiful. Still, Colorado has its share of top tweeters. And it falls to Bob Cook -- who placed third in the turkey-calling Grand Nationals in 1996 -- to keep this state's turkey tones top-notch. A master of the 28 noises made by the elusive bird, Cook is tough to beat -- or tweet -- when he has his Pro Sports Split V3 caller in his jaw.
How often does it happen that a man can satisfy dueling passions under one roof? Dave Carson has done it at Exotic Birds of Denver/Carson's Outbound Golf, a dual-purpose business in a Littleton strip mall. The northern half of the store deals in hand-fed, hand-raised parrots -- absolutely fascinating creatures that happen to be smarter, better-looking and more eloquent than a lot of humans. In the southern sphere of Carson's world -- there's no intervening wall or door -- you can pick out a Big Bertha driver, a dozen Titleists, or components to build your own customized set of golf clubs. Carson also does equipment repair and regripping under the watchful eyes of his colorful feathered friends across the room.


Birders who want to see the annual mating rituals of the prairie chicken can book a special weekend tour through the Wray Chamber of Commerce to visit the birds' leks (mating grounds) in East Yuma County. Voyeurs sit in a special viewing blind so as not to distract the amorous fowl from their strutting, booming and bopping.


Best Snowshoeing for a Variety of Shoe Sizes

Brainard Lake

Post 9/11, we're told, people have been seeking solace in the wilderness. Couple that with the fact that snowshoeing was already booming, and this winter sport may become so popular that Big Foot flees to warmer climes. Ironically, the beauty of snowshoeing is escaping the crowds -- you're not trapped at mid-Vail with several thousand ski snobs -- while enjoying the great outdoors. Be warned: When you pull into the parking lot at Brainard Lake, things may not look auspicious. So many people are standing around their cars, preparing to hoof it, that it may seem like you'll be moving in herds. But the area quickly absorbs them all. You can snowshoe on the road around the lake (closed to cars in the winter), bushwhack toward more expert areas, or risk the cross-country trails -- but don't stomp on the skiers unless you want a blister on your butt.
Alan Apt, who lives in Fort Collins, has assembled detailed guides to 75 trails -- most of them along the Front Range, with an emphasis on Rocky Mountain National Park. With admirable detail and many good hints, Apt gives snowshoers plenty of room to ramble, including the popular areas around Mt. Evans and Indian Peaks as well as lesser-known places.
In these days of supersonic quad lifts, there are still hints of skiing as it used to be. For example, old and new mesh at the midsection of the Storm King "conveyer" that takes you to Copper's back bowls. That's because, for this newfangled Poma lift, you have to grab the tow and slide it between your legs as you're hauled up the hill to 12,000 feet. Those who fall can try again, although the unwritten law of the mountain is that three muffs earns a trip to the back of the line. Nevertheless, the uphill scoot is worth it, gaining you access to some

wonderful black diamonds -- and giving you bragging rights that you've survived the groin-tingling challenge of a Poma.


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