The 700-acre Big Burn area is one of the most popular spots at Snowmass for its combination of rolling intermediate cruisers and expert glades. But for years, most of the traffic has been concentrated on the west side, served by the Big Burn high speed quad, while the east side has been underutilized because skiers were reluctant to hop on the unbearably slow Sheer Bliss two-seater built in 1975. The lift was so unpopular — especially in cold and windy weather — that the resort only ran it on weekends and busy days. That all changed in November with the opening of the $7 million Sheer Bliss detachable quad. The new, re-aligned lift takes skiers up 2,212 vertical feet — 155 higher than it used to in nine minutes instead of sixteen — and it can carry 2,000 people in an hour, twice as many as before, thus easing congestion on the west side and introducing the east side to a whole new audience of riders.
Telluride Ski Resort
Though it might sound like the creation of a clever marketing pro, Revelation is actually the longtime name of this bowl overlooking the Bear Creek Basin. Above treeline, wide open and situated on a northeastern aspect so that it gathers huge amounts of snow from Telluride's predominantly westerly storms, Revelation Bowl sits directly off the back side of the famous Gold Hill and Chair 14. It's long been the envy of skiers standing atop the mountain, looking for a less traveled path. Now, with the addition of the Revelation quad lift, the resort has opened up 52 new acres of variable terrain. Ridgelines in either direction offer steep pitches and rock features, while the center has rolling advanced terrain and even a groomed cruising path. But it's the breathtaking scenery — views of La Junta Peak, Wasatch Mountain, the San Joaquin Ridge and the San Sophia Range, which looks down on the town of Telluride — that gave Revelation Bowl its name and makes it a place worth celebrating.
Pepsi Center
Basketball isn't an individual game — or at least not at its best. But the addition of a single player can make an enormous difference, as Chauncey Billups proved when he joined the Nuggets early this season. In a matter of days, the Nugs were defending better, sharing the ball more often, passing up contested shots to get their teammates better ones, demonstrating discipline rather than a lack thereof, and generally playing like a team. Granted, he's not a miracle worker, as a late-season skid has demonstrated. But he's improved the Nuggets more by his own excellent example than even the biggest fans in his home town might have dreamed.
Washington Park
Flickr/Jeffrey Beall
You can keep your sandy beaches and squeaky hard courts; for our money, the best volleyball is played on grass — shirtless and shoeless, in the sun — where you're still able to run and jump (unlike on the beach, where even decently athletic players are rendered virtual invalids). There are plenty of places to play, but none is more convenient or idyllic than Washington Park. On nice days, the park's grass becomes a sea of fluorescent nets and flying bodies, with several matches going at once. And for those who like structure, there's some method to the madness: Games are often organized beforehand, at http://volleyball.meetup.com.
Red Rocks is one. So are Winter Park and Genesee Park (where the city's buffalo roam), Echo Lake, at the foot of Mount Evans, and Lookout Mountain, home to the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave. In fact, the Denver Mountain Parks system, created in 1912, includes 47 unusual properties totaling 14,000 acres. Because of their location outside the city, however, the parks have been underfunded. But that's changing, two quarters at a time. Beginning this year, the parks will get 50 cents from every Red Rocks ticket sold and use the money to create trail maps and make much-needed upgrades. The best part: Most of the parks are free. So get out of town and enjoy Denver!
Outdoor Divas
Outdoor Divas prides itself on catering specifically to sporty women and the understanding that what works for the gander isn't always good for the goose. That's why these women's gear shops now feature women-specific snowboards from Colorado's Never Summer Industries and other major manufacturers. Aside from just being pretty, these boards sport features designed to increase flexibility and accommodate a better fit for smaller feet. Just the thing for cunning carvers.
There are plenty of quality miles to pedal on the Front Range, but you didn't buy that trick, free-riding dual suspension just to ride the foothills. The Monarch Crest trail is one of the finest rides on the planet; starting at over 11,000 feet in elevation and running along some jaw-dropping sections of the Continental Divide, it's not your average Sunday ride, so true that wheel, fill up your hydration pack, and make sure you've been doing your cardio for the past two months. You'll experience above-treeline grandeur, killer switchbacks that laser through dense alpine forests, and a descent that offers nearly 7,000 feet of now-would-be-an-excellent-time-to-adjust-my-brakes singletrack. There are even a number of shuttle-for-hire options outside of Poncha Springs that will do the driving for you, so you can spend more of your day feeling like a god with a handlebar, not some lost, citified touron in a Subaru. Just make sure you pack oxygen if you haven't been hitting the StairMaster, because this is a mile high times two.
Gamma Gallery
Whitewater kayaking is not just about having the right gear, though Confluence Kayaks sells it. It's not just about scoring the right price, though you'll find that here, too. And it's definitely not about a staff that simply regurgitates a sales brochure. What the folks at Confluence Kayaks give you is the confidence that comes with having poked the Grim Reaper with a stick and quickly run away. Not only has owner John Kahn been the man to see when it comes to buying boats in Denver for nearly fifteen years, but he and his staff have been there: staring into the bottom of the s-turn hole on the Arkansas, dropping Skull Rapid on the Westwater stretch of the Colorado, braving the rude waters of Gore Canyon every spring. Translation: Kahn and company know how to float your boat because they're half fish, and they've got the gills and the guts to take you along for the ride.
Jump-Street
Wouldn't the world be oh-so-much sweeter if we all lived in one big bouncy castle? While such a paradise only exists in our dreams, we're one step closer to it thanks to Jump-Street, a gigantic family fun center where a trampoline covers almost every surface. Somersault across the floor, pinball off the walls — anything's possible (as YouTube clips of Jump-Street regulars attest). There's even trampoline dodgeball — quite possibly the greatest concept since the ham sandwich.Best Year-Round
At NBA games, the best seats in the house are on the floor, which means the rich and the gaudy are front and center rather than tucked away in skyboxes. Check out the enormous bodybuilder guys in silk shirts and the buxom babes squeezed into zany zebra stripes. Take a gander at the old guys with rings on every finger, ponytails and berets, or chance a guess at which synthetically boobed and tanned women are wives, which are trophy wives and which are mistresses. You'll see playas, big shots, CEOs, homies and hotties all dressed to the nines. The Nuggets are exciting, but some of the best action is definitely off the court.

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