Best Collectible Lift Tickets 2009 | Jim Hodges, "Give More Than You Take" | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Artist-designed lift tickets in Aspen aren't a new thing, but they are an enduring one. This is, in fact, the fourth year for the program, which is a collaboration between the edgy Aspen Art Museum and the folks who run the mountain, and it's usually accompanied by a full-blown museum exhibition by the assigned ticket designer that gives people something interesting to do when they're not on the slopes. Besides, the 2008-2009 text-based graphic ticket design by conceptual artist Jim Hodges, "Give More Than You Take," gives them something deeper to ponder as they ride up the hill for a schuss.
Expensive boot camps and pricey gyms are great for staying in shape. So are skiing, kayaking and cycling — if you can afford all the gear that goes along with those sports. But if you want a real workout — one that tasks even the fittest of the fit — try running, jumping or climbing the 69 rows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, or the stairs next to them. The place is gorgeous, and free, and you'll find people just as crazy as you, sometimes in large, organized groups, there year-round on just about any day when there isn't a scheduled concert or event. Right now the city allows anyone or any group to use the stairs, as long as they are considerate of others and respect the quiet beauty of the place.

Best Guess for When the Denver Broncos Will Return to the Super Bowl


Former coach Mike Shanahan took the Broncos to their first Super Bowl victory in his third season with the team. Riding the skills of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway and Pro Bowl running back Terrell Davis, it was a quick start for a football Mastermind. New coach Josh McDaniels may be as smart and as driven as Shanahan, but instead of Elway and Davis, he has Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, two talented players with some, uh, issues. Oh, and a disastrous defense. If McDaniels can get his offensive stars in line and figure out a way to revamp the D, it will take him as least as long as Shanny to get back to the big dance. We'll give him one extra year. Good luck, coach.
It must be tough being international snowboard superstar Shaun White. After several years of completely dominating the sport in half-pipe and slopestyle riding, it's been difficult for the 22-year-old known for his shock of tomato-colored hair to get on a chairlift without being completely mobbed by admirers. So when rumors began earlier this year about a huge half-pipe built secretly somewhere high in the Colorado backcountry, White's name was floated as the only boarder big enough to afford such a luxury. The rumor was confirmed in February, when someone snapped a long-distance photo of a super-duper-pipe on the back of Silverton Mountain, accessible only by snowmobile and helicopter. Apparently, Red Bull and Burton Snowboards built the $500,000, 22-foot-tall half-pipe for White to train on for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Must be tough.
The 1.4-mile Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks is the perfect length and difficulty — short, easy and at a relatively low altitude — for anyone seeking a nature-y afternoon respite from the bustling streets of Denver. Plus, the gorgeous red rocks and the adrenaline-inducing rattlesnake warning signs are sure to impress out-of-town guests. The trail starts and ends at the Trading Post, where you can grab a snack or make a pit stop before you start hiking. And the hike itself, near the coolest concert venue in the country, is as photogenic as all get-out, so don't forget your camera.
This is not just a game. Some of these guys have been coming to the downtown YMCA at lunchtime every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since the 1980s. There are lawyers, businessmen, laborers and former college players, and they range in age from mid-twenties to mid-sixties. What they have in common is a love of basketball — and trash talk. They only play to seven points, but there's always a fight over the score, and fouls, of course. If you want to get in with this crew, be prepared to play and talk fast — and not question the rules that have evolved over the past twenty years of pick-up games. Oh, and get your name on the chalkboard early: First round starts at 11 a.m.
If you're going to survive either of our two best golf courses, you'll need to do what every weekend golfer despises: practice. And while there are plenty of great driving ranges in the area, none is more convenient for downtown workers than City Park's small but functional practice areas — a matted range, plus chipping and putting greens to hone your short game. And it's a mere five-minute drive from downtown, so you can squeeze in a small bucket of balls, a putting contest with your cube-mate, three hot dogs and plenty of cursing of your wretched slice before the boss even knows you're gone. Just don't forget to take off your spikes before that 2:30 staff meeting.
On some teams, the designation of captain is the equivalent of a lifetime-achievement award — an acknowledgement of past accomplishments as opposed to current ones. Not so with the Colorado Mammoth, whose honorary leader is also among its most productive players. In 2008, Gavin Prout finished tied for second in the National Lacrosse League in scoring and led all players in assists. Indeed, he accounted for a higher percentage of his team's scores than any other NLL athlete, and he's a big reason that fellow Mammoth Brian Langtry is racking up goals at such an impressive pace. He more than deserves his "C."
Frankly, we're a little bored of giving the Nuggets' most valuable non-player the nod again. We'd happily reward some other costumed critter — if Rocky wasn't so friggin' amazing. He's a sleek, four-pawed entertainment machine who doesn't have to dress in skimpy outfits to be our favorite cheerleader, and his gags constantly thrill whether they're large-scale or small. After one game this season, he hurled T-shirts at departing fans from the Pepsi Center roof — but he was just as funny when he walked off with a toddler's toy without causing the little one to cry (yes, he gave it back). Cats don't get any cooler.
Aqua Golf fell into ruins in recent years, an abandoned driving range on a sad little pond at the edge of Santa Fe Drive, where weeds grew tall as traffic roared by. Then the City of Denver stepped in and took a gigantic paintbrush to the eyesore, installing two miniature golf courses decked out with diminutive sand traps and water hazards, as well as a refurbished driving range, fountains and a clubhouse. All of it opened to the public last fall. Plus, there's a series of whimsical mechanical sculptures dotting the pond. Created by Patrick Hollis, who was inspired by the area's industrial presence, the sculptures feature train wheels balanced on topsy-turvy water tower structures. Now part of the city's Overland Golf Course complex, Aqua Golf is open most days, weather permitting, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; for various fee packages, you can putt-putt, practice drives or try both.

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