When Winter Park opened its Parsenn Bowl, it introduced skiers to miles of great new runs and untracked tree skiing — but also the sort of lines it hadn't seen in decades, since there was only one very slow, two-person chair taking you to the top. But all that ended this year when the resort added the speedy, $8 million Panoramic Express, North America's highest six-person chairlift. The name — supplied by Winter Park fan Pat Barron, who was inspired by a train that once had that moniker — is fitting, because the Panoramic takes you above 12,000 feet, where you get a stunning view of the mountains and the valley below.
Granted, Arapahoe Basin is still teeny tiny compared to its sisters in the Vail Resorts umbrella. But this season marked the largest expansion of its sixty-year existence. With 400 acres and 36 blue, black and double-black runs, the opening of Montezuma Bowl made the ski area 80 percent bigger. Accessed by the new fixed-grip quad Zuma lift, the area is wide open, with lots of different terrain options — from soft bumps and moderate steeps to rocks and drops and trees. You can spend the whole day there and never go down the same way twice.
After "Ponderosa" Harv Teitelbaum saw an arborist on television talking about a new sport he'd just invented — recreational tree climbing — his life was never the same. Recreational tree climbing uses a harness, arborist rope and special techniques to safely climb into trees. Teitelbaum met the arborist and trained under him, and now he's the Evergreen man behind Tree Climbing Colorado, an affiliate in good standing of Tree Climbers International. Private climbs are available for booking at $25 to $30 per person; individual basic tree-climbing courses, which are designed to teach potential climbers everything they need to know to climb on their own, are $450. You could use the tree in your mom's back yard, of course; just try not to break any limbs — yours or the tree's.
In the course of one week, the Rockies re-signed former fan favorite Neifi Perez, the team's shortstop from 1996 to 2001, and the Avalanche brought back Adam Foote and Peter Forsberg. All inspire good memories for sports fans, but the Forsberg deal was clearly the best. Not only is Foppa, who skated for the Avs from 1995 to 2004, the player who could have the biggest impact on his team, but he's a reminder of the two Stanley Cups he helped the Avalanche win. Welcome home, Peter.
Yeah, we know: The Nuggets would be nowhere without Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and so on. But we also realize that the team would be in a much better playoff position if everyone on the squad exhibited the passion and heart of Eduardo Najera. Although he's not as naturally gifted as many, if not most, of his fellow ballers, Najera expends maximum effort each time his sneakers touch the court, hustling after every loose ball, risking life and limb against bigger, stronger players and making defense a priority. If Melo, A.I. and company followed suit, the Nugs could be world beaters instead of underachievers.
Wheat Ridge Lanes
Wheat Ridge Lanes caters almost exclusively to league players during the week, but on Friday and Saturday nights, anyone can enjoy open bowling and $6 pitchers of Bud poured from the bar. And not just any bar: This one is called Ye Olde Country Club, and while it is indeed olde, it doesn't look much like a country club. But that's a good thing, because the goal here is to sit back and relax, maybe catch a game on TV. The twelve-lane alley has remained relatively free of the newfangled gimmicks found at other spots around town. This is kickin' it olde-school.
Between increasingly heavy traffic and Texans who'll never learn how to maneuver in snow, the drive up I-70 has become a double diamond, the toughest run you might make all day. All aboard the Ski Train! This Denver tradition got its start generations ago, when kids in the Eskimo Ski Club met up at Union Station for the trip by train to Winter Park; it was resurrected in the late 1980s, when Phil Anschutz acquired the train along with its parent company, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. Over the past twenty years, the train has gotten a complete overhaul, including new cars with comfortable seating and bars, and it's also expanded its schedule from just weekends to include Fridays in February and Thursdays in March. No matter the weather, the Ski Train pushes on, depositing you at the base of Winter Park, Denver's own ski area. But the real treat is the return trip, when you can ride — and drink — in style while I-70 drivers just spin their wheels.
The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls have come a long way since their 2004 debut. The league is now nationally ranked and has a substantial fan base. Of course, they're awesome on skates, but let's give credit where it's due: These girls have a totally killer party bus. The Roller Derby Party Bus leaves the Skylark Lounge, 140 South Broadway, at 5:30 p.m. on bout nights, traveling to Bladium Sports Club for lots of hot girl-on-girl derby action. It leaves Bladium at 9:30 for a 10 p.m. party at Skylark with the Rollergirls. A mere $25 fee includes admission to the bout and a seat on the bus. Oh, and did we mention that the bus has unlimited free beer and Rollergirl hostesses for your drinking and viewing pleasure? Get on the party bus!
Pilates of Cherry Creek wins big by keeping it small. Mother and daughter Hope and Jolie Petrine — both of whom came to the world of Pilates through dance — opened their small studio in 2001, offering one-on-one training sessions. As their popularity grew, so did their studio, but the Petrines never lost sight of the personal touch that drew people to them in the first place. Small-group sessions are now offered along with solo ones, and participants of all abilities are made to feel at ease. Looks like Pilates of Cherry Creek, which also offers instructor certification and a variety of massages, has managed to stretch without pulling a muscle.
Like a lot of sports, tennis is played better with an audience: You don't let your feet get lazy or stick to safe shots when people are watching. You want them to see you ace your serves and charge the net on returns. But unless you're Roger Federer, your matches aren't likely to draw a crowd. The next best thing is Center Court at Gates Tennis Center, where $5 an hour for singles or $6 for doubles will make you feel like a star even if no one is there. Set below ground and separated from the others by a cement ledge, the court has a decided air of importance. (And the ledge makes for excellent spectator seating in case any fans do show up.) You could say it's an ace in the hole.

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