Adam Schmidt's snowboard group on Meetup.com is fast approaching 1,500 members, a critical mass that has helped the Boulder Snowboarding Group organize competitions (this year they threw down at Loveland, Vail and Echo Mountain), host demo days with big-name sponsors, take over local bars with party-night "meetups," and wrangle group deals on avalanche safety classes, lodging, lift tickets, and transportation to resorts across Colorado and around the country. The best BSG events are the most informal: Backcountry kicker sessions, moonlight rides on Loveland Pass and "Wax Your Junk" tutorials at local shops help keep the ragtag crew together.

The Denver Curling Club's rookie league welcomed 280 new recruits in the weeks after Canada swept the men's curling competition at the Olympics. First established in 1965, the DCC now has three games a week on Thursday and Saturday nights at the Ice Ranch in Littleton and offers learn-to-curl classes that are almost always full. The game is harder than it looks, but an intro session and a few seasons of shoving stones around in league play should shape up your sweeping game in time for the trip to Sochi in 2014. We're coming for you, Canada.

It's hard to find much to praise about a Mammoth team that's racked up the worst record in the National Lacrosse League and still hasn't managed a win on their Pepsi Center home field. But wiry forward Jamie Shewchuk has been a ray of light in the Mammoth's dark season, both as a scorer and a distributor. His sixteen goals are a team high, and he's added nineteen assists to lead the team in points — so at least there's one lacrosse-related reason to show up at the Pepsi Center this year. Shewchuk and beer: What else do you need?

When we gave this award to Mark Warkentien last year, the Nuggets GM had just pulled off a magical trade for Chauncey Billups, ridding the team of the tumorous Allen Iverson and positioning it to make a run for the conference finals. Since then? He's orchestrated a Draft Day steal for Ty Lawson, acquired back-court depth in the form of Arron Afflalo, and kept the Nuggets in a position to repeat — or even exceed — last year's run. He is, Melo aside, the team's most valuable asset.

Planet Fitness Lakewood

In an age of unprecedented narcissism among Americans, the slickest fitness companies are able to slim down your love handles and your bank account. Planet Fitness breaks the mold. The nationwide company's ongoing special is a $10-a-month membership with a $1 start-up fee. That's $121 a year for unlimited access to the gym, with absolutely no contract. How do they do it? Well, their amenities are admittedly thin — there's no pool or basketball court. What they do offer is a line of top-notch weights, treadmills, ellipticals and the like. It isn't a 24-hour joint, either, but this deal is good for your fiscal health. Plus, if the big, expensive, meathead gyms scare you, you'll appreciate the "judgment-free zone" of Planet Fitness.

Best and Only Free Part of the Denver Aquarium

Sharkey Fun Zone

Downtown Aquarium

The Denver Aquarium is loads of fun, what with sunken temples, re-created flash floods and piranha tanks, but it's also pricey. Between parking fees, multiple gift shops and added activity charges on top of already steep admission costs, a visit there can waterlog your credit card. Luckily, there's Sharkey Fun Zone, a nearly hidden indoor play area at the back of the complex (accessible via a door near the restaurant entrance) packed with giant-sized whales, sharks, octopi and other sea creatures that your kids can romp on for as long as they'd like — for free!

BMX Supercross made its debut as an Olympic medal sport in Beijing in 2008, with American Mike Day grabbing gold and Donny Robinson and Jill Kintner each bringing home bronze medals. All three trained on the ABA-sanctioned track at Pikes Peak BMX, which boasts a replica of the Beijing Olympic track. To start training for London 2012 — or to watch the thrills and spills from the stands — check out the weekly races featuring everything from first-timer's races for kids to serious amateur and pro showdowns.

Telluride Ski Resort

Okay, so it's not exactly a "lift," per se, but the gnarliest new way up a hill this year is Telluride's stairway to heaven in the Gold Hill Chutes on Palmyra Peak. It consists of a pair of steel staircases and a bridge flown in by helicopter that now link Gold Hill Chutes #8 and #9. After a twenty- to thirty-minute hike from the Revelation lift, Gold Hill Chute #9 starts out with a steep, narrow drop-in, then opens up into the Palmyra Basin bowls below. This is in-bounds skiing? Only in Telluride.

Fanny Hill - Snowmass Mountain

Named by TransWorld Snowboarding as one of the top ten sites nationwide, the three different terrain parks at Snowmass — Scooper, Little Makaha and Snowmass Park — cater to shredders of every stripe. There's a 22-foot Olympic-sized pipe in the mix, along with some of the biggest rails, boxes and jump sets in the state. And the best part? You can watch the yard sale unfold from the comfort of your lift chair on the Coney Glade.

Best Guess for When Colorado Will Host the Winter Olympics

2026

Colorado had its chance to host the Winter Olympic Games back in 1976, but after winning the bid, voters — egged on by then-governor Dick Lamm — rejected the award. Every four years since then, Coloradans have debated the economic and environmental impact of making another attempt. The talk is now on for a try at the 2022 Games, but that's four years too soon. Why? 2026 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the last try and give the state sixteen years to get a high-speed train running between Denver and the mountains. Plus, somewhere there's a Colorado kid being born who will grow up to win the gold in snowboarding that year.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of