Coors Field

CarGo took off in the second half of the 2010 season and made a run at the triple crown. He settled for a batting title, leading the league in hits, a third-place finish in NL MVP voting and the Players Choice Award for best player in the league. He did this while playing through a wrist injury that stole his power over the final month of the season. Then, in the off-season, Gonzales capped it all off by signing a seven-year, $80 million extension before he hit free-agency. While his yearly salary will escalate over the life of the contract, the Rox will pay $1 million and $5 million, respectively, over the next two seasons for what appears to be a top-five player in the league.

These women are officially the most badass skaters in the land. In November, the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls beat reigning champs the Oly Rollers of Washington to win the roller-derby world championship and bring the trophy — a silver skate mounted on an artful piece of twisted metal — to the Mile High City. This year, they'll fight to keep it here when the 2011 world championship is hosted in Colorado. But winning isn't all they do; the Rollergirls also give back. In the past year, they helped start a junior derby league, the Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks, and shepherded a resolution through the state legislature, recognizing how the sport of roller derby empowers women.

MVP honors went to jammer Portia "Frida Beater" Hensley when the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls skated their way to the world championship. Beater beat her way past the Oly Rollers for a total of 51 points in the bout, including the last-second score that sealed the deal in a nail-biting finish. But the five-year roller derby vet gets high marks for her nickname, too, a twisted take on a children's classic that should keep other skaters on their toes.

Gabrielle Begeman isn't as Fonda Payne as she is of dishing it out, and the 2011 co-captain of the 2011 Mile High Club — the Roller Dolls' premier team — is also its top skater. In fact, Denver native Begeman, a jammer since 2008, was voted most valuable league member, most valuable skater and MVP of her team last year. Wanna feel the Payne? Head to 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, where the Dolls roll.

Copper Mountain Resort

As if the Rocky Mountain Super Pass (Copper Mountain, Winter Park, six days at Steamboat Springs) weren't already one of the best season-pass deals in the U.S., Copper Mountain upped the ante this season with its $99 Snow Day Pass. For less than the price of a lift ticket at some other nearby resorts, Snow Day pass-holders got unlimited access to the mountain on any day Copper reported at least four inches of new snow. That turned out to be at least thirty days this year — one of the snowiest seasons on record — in case you were wondering why some of your colleagues have been taking so many "sick" days lately.

Mountain Top Children's Museum

Ski towns are great for grownups, less so for the wee ones. Unless you're a baby version of Bode Miller, there's not a whole lot that's designed for the kindergarten set. One exception is the Mountain Top Children's Museum in Breckenridge. The colorful indoor play area just off the main drag packs a lot of fun into cozy quarters, from a mini-planetarium and kid-sized rescue helicopter to a dress-up stage. As is often the case in Breck, admission is a bit steep, but, hey, it's still cheaper than a lift ticket.

Oh, the Melodrama, how it pained our souls. Our local sportswriters had every angle of the Carmelo Anthony trade covered, but it took a major media voice from out of state to big-up Denver on the national stage. (Sorry, Woody.) Amid overt suggestions that our town isn't good enough or big enough or exciting enough, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons represented, calling Denver "quite possibly" the most laid-back American city. "I have been to Colorado multiple times, twice for book signings; it's an extremely pleasant, unassuming, upbeat place," he wrote on January 13. "After I ripped Anthony in November for holding Denver fans hostage, I was stunned by how many e-mailed me; not to pile on to the rant or add additional thoughts, more to thank me for sticking up for them. The recurring theme? 'I'm glad someone outside of Denver noticed.'" We are, too.

Baseball announcers are second to none when it comes to obnoxious homerism and "I played the game back when it meant something" rambling. So the fact that Drew Goodman avoids these two habits puts him in an elite class. Add in clean play-by-play, useful information and appropriate pace, and Goodman is the town's best sports voice. He usually masters the ability to match the excitement of a moment without over-blowing it, and his greatest gift might be managing to make analyst and former relief pitcher George Frazier sound useful from time to time. Oh, and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association has named Goodman Colorado Sportscaster of the Year seven times. Goodman can play ball.

Prickly Pete's

Prickly Pete's is the kind of place you can fall in love with after putting just one foot inside the door. It's a rock-solid sports bar with eighteen fifty-inch plasma TVs, substantial platters of wings, nachos and pulled pork, and frequent beer specials. But Pete's separates itself from other joints with its large patio, where, thanks to three fairly sizable TVs dangling above the doors, you don't have to worry about missing any of the action going on inside. And since most folks hanging out at Pete's are from the surrounding neighborhoods and impart the space with a laid-back, welcoming vibe, you won't find the amped-up craziness of downtown spots.

This season's story could have been one of tragedy, but instead, it's that of a near miracle. During an October 30 game, University of Denver Pioneers center Jesse Martin was hit while in the corner and suffered three fractures in the C2 vertebra near his brain stem. He was lucky his spinal cord wasn't severed, and through hard work, he's made great strides in his recovery. Martin is even entertaining thoughts of playing hockey again. Meanwhile, the Pioneers ranked in the top fifteen in the country in both scoring offense and defense, and finished the regular season ranked sixth nationwide.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of