It could be argued that most of Wyoming and much of eastern Colorado is ideal for paintball shoot-outs. Better yet, though, is Tactical Pursuit's forty-acre site on a private ranch about four miles north of Boulder. Rain or shine, a company operator will pick up Tactical Pursuit's paintball clients at a nearby restaurant, then set them loose at the top-secret spot for a day of splash and dash, as they drill each other with colored dye pellets.
Set in a former grocery store, Denver Paintball covers about 14,000 square feet and is open daily to walk-ins. Players can bring their own guns or try the rental package, which includes protective gear as well as ammo. Splatterers have to be over ten years of age, and those under eighteen need a signed parents' waiver, which can be gotten from the Web at www.denverpaintball.com. Hey, look, there's a wet cleanup in aisle one, and two, and three, and...


While youth basketball once seemed like a forgotten sport in Colorado -- the runty sibling of brawny football or flashy skiing -- it has grown up in a hurry. A big chunk of the credit belongs to the Gold Crown Foundation, whose CEO and original booster is ex-Nugget guard Bill Hanzlik. While Gold Crown deals with other games, too, it's the explosion of boys' and girls' hoops -- resulting in some 420 teams across the state this season, the largest in eight years of competitive ball -- that has Colorado basketball soaring.


Sure, REI's flagship store has that slammin' climbing wall, its own Starbucks and, right outside, the Platte River, where you can test-drive/ride/kayak the equipment. But the best sports in the building are the people who man the Outdoor Recreation Information Center, a joint venture between the sporting-goods company's store and nonprofit groups, including the Colorado Mountain Club, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks. Conveniently located near the map section, the center's booth is staffed by forest-service personnel and volunteers, who hand out maps, literature (only from public agencies -- no commercial outfits allowed) and all sorts of advice on where to use that equipment now that you've bought it. The center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays; the ORIC's Web site, www.oriconline.org, is available at all hours. Information, please -- and thank you.


It's sweet and petite, just the most delightful addition to a holiday shopping outing with the kids. From mid-November to mid-January, the Cherry Creek North Business District opens its outdoor rink at Fillmore Plaza daily, and it stays open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Skate rentals are available, but no tushie pillows.
Open year-round, the indoor South Suburban Ice Arena complex offers twin ice sheets, a concession stand, lessons for all ages and ability levels, competitive programs for hockey and figure skating, and cool admission prices for public skating: $2.50-$3.50 in district and $4-$5 for non-district residents. Tell 'em Sakic sent you.
From mid-December to mid-March, 55-acre Evergreen Lake becomes a high-altitude Hans Brinker's dream. This is outdoor skating at its finest, with a cleared hockey rink on one shore, the Lakehouse serving hot chocolate on the other and plenty of public skating in between. The rest of the year, the lake's great for fishing and boating. Try that at the Pepsi Center.


After the old Hyland Hills Ice Arena closed in 1997, the facility could have stayed in cold storage. But hockey is hot, and so is in-line skating. So the building was spiffed up with a smooth surface and brought back as the Breakaway Center by In-line Endeavors, LLC, in cooperation with Westminster and the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District. Also home to the Western Conference of the Professional Major League Roller Hockey Association, this is now the place to glide and ride.


Say you're allergic to bar smoke but still have a jones for tabletop hockey. Save your pennies and buy your own sturdy Carrom Bubble-Hockey table for about $900 through Wagner's Casual Dining. Want to take it for a test spin? The company is happy to order you a trial table so you can see just how cool it would be to have your own in-home stadium.


Okay, maybe it's not technically seaweed, but the chilly algae attached to the rocks in the Yampa can prove an irresistible plaything during a hot summer's float through Steamboat. Several operators line the banks of the Yampa renting tubes for floaters, and during lulls, some have been known to scoop handfuls of the stuff and bomb tubers with the Steamboat slime. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of