Blake Street Tavern

Three years ago, the Blake Street Tavern moved from the modest warehouse spot it had occupied for almost seven years to a massive space a block south, with a great back patio, a big bar, an ambitious kitchen, an arcade area and plenty of room to watch games — or just the people around you. And now bigger is becoming even better. Blake Street is moving its arcade area to the basement — which is almost as huge as the first floor — where it will offer bocce, cornhole, shuffleboard, Skee-Ball, basketball, leagues and other fun activities, as well as a bar that can accommodate two dozen beers on draft. That will cement Blake Street's reputation as not only one of the town's best sports bars for watching games, but definitely the best sports bar for playing games.

Chopper's Sports Grill

If you're serious about watching the game, any game, head directly to Chopper's Sports Grill, which takes its sports very seriously. Chopper's, which has stood its ground in Cherry Creek for decades, is named for Bob "Chopper" Travaglini, the late, beloved Denver Nuggets trainer, and it's a real sports bar, with memorabilia and TVs hanging in every nook and cranny of the big space — bathrooms included. The menu includes not just bar chow, but big, manly steaks for those who are as serious about their meals as they are about their sports. This is not the place to go if your only mission is to get toasted — but if you want to toast the Nuggets' incredible winning streak, there's no better spot. Let the games begin!

The race for college basketball dominance in Colorado is on, and we're hoping it continues for years. This season, the CSU Rams lost their only head-to-head match-up with the University of Colorado, but on the whole, Colorado State had an excellent season, finishing second in the Mountain West conference and getting into the NCAA Tournament alongside their rivals from Boulder. And while some might point to the competition disparity between the Mountain West and the Pac-12, look again: Both conferences have five teams in the tournament, and the Mountain West had an average seed of eight, while the Pac-12 has an average seed of about nine. You decide which is more impressive.

Oh, what a sweet feeling it is to look forward to a Broncos season. It hasn't been that way for a while, either because of overt mediocrity or cosmic flukery of the Tim Tebow variety. Peyton Manning has changed all with his work ethic and his incredible skill set, not to mention durability (so far) that's surprised even some of those who were confident his neck wouldn't shatter after that first sack. And while the off-season has had its ups (acquiring Wes Welker) and downs (the Elvis Dumervil fax-gate debacle), the signs as a whole are more than positive. To put it another way, fans won't have to be wildly drunk to believe a long-delayed return to the Super Bowl is possible.

The Breckenridge Park & Pipe crew dug in early to roll out the white carpet for the Dew Tour's Ion Mountain Championships in December, then rocked it all season long with five different terrain parks and an Olympic-sized 22-foot superpipe. Some of the park's features are first-timer-friendly, offering a safe progression toward the bigger and burlier elements. The biggest and burliest of them were designed with the Breck Pro Team, a group of 26 top-tier sponsored athletes, in mind.

Earlier this year, History Colorado's sprawling diorama of circa-1860 Denver was brought up from the basement, where it underwent a thorough cleaning and restoration, and placed in the lobby under special glass that will hopefully protect its Lilliputian landscape for years to come. The best part of that landscape? Tiny cats the size of ants who are perched on the Early Denver diorama's tiny fences, keeping an eye on the even tinier chickens.

Denverites are still mourning the loss of the Ski Train to Winter Park, but the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is a hell of a consolation prize. Although the owners of this company weren't able to pick up where the Ski Train left off, they offer incredible trips across southern Colorado, where the vistas are scenic, indeed — through tunnels, around horseshoe curves and over mountain passes. Theme excursions range from Wine Tasting Trains to Rails and Ales to concert trips that stop at an outdoor amphitheatre. But any trek on this train, which runs between Alamosa and La Veta, is memorable, whether you're standing in front of the open observation car, right behind the hundred-year-old steam engine, or sipping wine in the comfort of the City of New Orleans club car in back. All aboard!

Sports is sometimes described as the toy department of TV news — but it matters mightily to a lot of us, and to Vic Lombardi, too. Far from seeming bored by decades of watching guys and girls run around, he comes across as passionately engaged with the glories and goofiness of athletic competition — awestruck when something unusual or remarkable happens, but able to laugh along with us when things get silly. On top of that, he still offers the sort of commentary that used to be a staple of newscasts but has been left by the wayside at too many stations: He has opinions, and he isn't afraid to use them.

The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls league has a minimum age requirement of eighteen for its adult teams, but has been building its recruit pool (and fan base) with a year-long junior program that has become a statewide and national model after being prominently featured in Robin Bond's 2012 documentary Derby Baby. The Rocky Mountain Rollerpunks welcomes "Littles" Division girls and boys ages six to eleven (aka 5280 Might Club) and Juniors Division girls ages twelve to seventeen, some of whom have been graduating directly into the adult league. The Rollerpunks have been dominating the fledgling junior derby scene in Colorado and have started making a stamp on the national scene as regional junior tournaments begin popping up. Catch the Rollerpunks in action as the pre-bout or halftime show at upcoming Rollergirls bouts at the Fillmore and at the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls' War*house practice facility to see what all the fuss is about.

If you habitually (cough, cough) check the snow reports from your favorite resort before deciding whether or not to go to work in the morning, then join the club at Opensnow.com. Already a winner last year, the site got even better this season, upgrading its reporting tools and adding several new forecasters for national perspective (the site now offers detailed reports from Colorado, Utah, Tahoe, New England and the Mid-Atlantic). Boulder-based meteorologist/ski bum Joel Gratz, the site's co-founder, has become the go-to guy for local powder predictions and storm forecasts, thanks to his Colorado Daily Snow dispatches, which you can also get delivered straight to your inbox. Our favorite feature is the Powder Finder, an at-a-glance view of where to find the most snow in Colorado and across the country.

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