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.
City Park Golf Course
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
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.
All right, so Pat Bowlen isn't a GM. But no personnel move will make a bigger impact — and, we believe, a more positive impact — on the Denver sporting landscape then Bowlen's dispatching of Mike Shanahan, Bowlen's close friend and a Denver legend. Although new coach Josh McDaniels hasn't exactly endeared himself to Denver fans so far by pissing off QB Jay Cutler, firing Shanny was still a much-needed move that took serious stones. Shanahan's recent draft choices were questionable, his defense was dreadful and things were getting stale. We're hoping that changes soon.
Keystone Resort
Keystone Facebook page
Let's face it: Except for those elite few who hike for fresh tracks, most of us skiers and riders who prefer to stay in the lift-served inbounds can be a pretty lazy bunch. That's why we've chosen a sport that lets us ride up the hill while sitting in a chair and then coast downhill. The most physically taxing part of the day is the walk from the parking lot to the first chair and back. And this season, Keystone made that walk a little easier. Its gondola used to require a hike over the bridge and up a short hill before loading, but not anymore. The new eight-passenger River Run Gondola uses the same footprint, except that it stretches a little bit farther so that skiers can load in the village, right across from where lift tickets are sold. Not only is the new gondola faster, but it encourages people to download at the end of the day rather than ski down River Run, where the entire resort used to funnel out in one massive 4 p.m. traffic jam. Now those who want to get in that last, crunchy run don't have to weave through an obstacle course of stalled beginners.
24-Hour Fitness Super Sport
You know your gym? It's pretty big, right? Has everything you need? Well imagine your gym was three times the size, had four times as much equipment to make you sweat, plus racquetball courts, two pools, eight basketball hoops, and locker rooms fit for Carmelo. That pretty much describes the new 24-Hour Fitness in Aurora, a fitness maven's Taj Mahal near the corner of Parker and Arapahoe roads. At 90,000 square feet, it's the largest 24-Hour Fitness in Colorado — and among the biggest in the country. It's busy but never packed, clean but not stuffy, and it's got a juice bar. Go forth and get sweaty.

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