Best Ego-Boosting Blue 2017 | Whispering Jesse | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Speed demons flock to Whispering Jesse at Snowmass for its prudent grooming and well-varied terrain. The steep and rolling cruiser — which shares its name with a John Denver song — starts at the top of the Big Burn and makes its way alongside several gladed sections, between which it opens up with enough space for skiers and snowboarders to let 'er rip. The wide-open boulevard means beginners can take it slower, picking up the pace during the less-steep sections, while serious screamers just lap it, stopping for a breather at the picnic area located on the upper part of the run.

Billed as the steepest man-made, lift-served run in the lower 48, the aptly named Rambo at Crested Butte Mountain Resort is brutal, unrelenting and usually somewhat terrifying to the uninitiated. A standout on a mountain already known for its abundance of double-black-diamond trails (Crested Butte is host to many an extreme-skiing championship), Rambo offers a sustained pitch at between 50 and 55 degrees. The view from the top is often enough to turn away all but the most confident, but once you let go, you're in for slightly less than two miles of teeth-clenching, quad-cramping fun, complete with unexpected ledges, rocks and bushes, with plenty of time to practice jump turns and a few trees along the side for the truly fearless.

Readers' Choice: Prima Cornice, Vail

There's no question that Crested Butte Mountain Resort is one of Colorado's best ski areas, and it's one that relatively few ever check out. A great incentive for taking on the mountain's epic steeps, though, is the Gunnison-Crested Butte Getaway deal from the resort and the town of Gunnison, which sits just a half-hour's drive away (and you have to pass through there, anyway). Starting at $69 per person per night, you get lodging at one of eight properties and a lift ticket — and considering that lift tickets are usually $111 a day for adults, this is pretty sweet. Added enticements: Kids twelve and under ski free early- and late-season at CB, and there's a free round-trip shuttle from Gunnison to the mountain.

Readers' Choice: Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus

Beautifully maintained fairways — especially for a municipal course — and three different nines with varying difficulty make it tough to get bored at Fox Hollow at Lakewood. Greens fees are reasonable — less than $50 during peak season for eighteen holes — and the Meadow/Canyon eighteen-hole option plays like a championship course. Meanwhile, your backdrop is downtown Denver on one side and the Rockies on the other, and the fact that the course abuts Bear Creek Lake Park means it's quiet and pretty, with lakes and streams inviting wildlife to stop by. In addition, on-site restaurant the Den sports a patio that looks out at the mountains and serves three meals daily, including a really good burger.

Readers' Choice: Legacy Ridge Golf Course

Taspen Organics

Taspen's Organics is all about the healing, and if there's anything that needs a little restoration, it's the travel experience. From tinctures and creams for things like arthritis and migraine relief to non-toxic sunscreen, anti-anxiety tea and aromatherapy sprays that will scent the funk right out of your surroundings, the Colorado-based mini-chain makes organic and natural remedies for so many things that ail us when we take a trip. Not headed out of town anytime soon? There's a Taspen's Wellness Center in Conifer, and a restaurant, Taspen's Cosmic Kitchen, in Aspen Park.

A, B and C Concourses

Readers' Choice: Tattered Cover

Keystone Resort

Besides the fact that your ball flies farther in our thinner air, the best reason to golf in Colorado is for the views. At River Course at Keystone, the first tee offers up the Continental Divide, seemingly at eye level from the 9,300-foot vantage point, and the Snake River winds through, as well. That altitude will also buy your balls some mileage on this sagebrush-dotted, wildflower-carpeted course designed by Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry, who endeavored to maintain migratory patterns throughout. Don't be surprised if an elk or two ask to play through, and be sure to have a smartphone handy to take a photo of Lake Dillon on that last hole. Bonus: The elevated tees and hilly switchbacks offer quite the workout.

Readers' Choice: Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks

Herons and foxes and muskrats, oh, my! You're likely to see them and much more at the Wetland Park, the Heron Pond, Bluff Lake Nature Center and the Morrison Nature Center, all of which can be found alongside the Sand Creek Regional Greenway, a fourteen-mile trail that goes from Commerce City to Aurora via Denver and Stapleton, with parking at either end and several points along the way. With connections to the High Line Canal and the South Platte River Greenway, Sand Creek is paved in parts and lined with gravel in others, which makes for a serene and scenic nature ride, in sections running right next to its namesake waterway. Check the website for navigation details — this is an urban trail, so construction occasionally calls for detours — and keep an eye out for joggers and horses.

Readers' Choice: Cherry Creek Trail

Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery

Lucky Bikes is the local hub for Trips for Kids Denver Metro, part of a national string of nonprofits providing bike-related opportunities for young people. Trips for Kids keeps at-risk youths ages ten and up rolling in several ways: first, by sending them on daylong mountain-biking adventures; second, by teaching them bicycle-maintenance skills and safety rules in order to rebuild and earn a bike of their own; and third, by employing high-school students in the shop. Along with being a training ground, Lucky Bikes is also a used-bike store, offering repair services and refurbished wheels to the public. What goes around comes around.

City of Golden

There's no denying that Denver's B-cycle bike-sharing program is a boon, but what if, instead of B-cycle's somewhat pricey, one-size-fits-all model, you could borrow a bike that's just your size and style and ride it for free for the first two hours? That's the difference at Visit Golden's bike library, located at the downtown Golden Visitors Center, where your whole family can hop on a bike from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays during the summer and fall months. Daily rentals beyond the two-hour period top off at $10, and there are provisions to return bikes after hours if you want to stop for dinner. Each bike comes with a helmet, a lock, a free water bottle and a golden ticket offering discounts at Golden businesses. And even if it's more of an amenity for tourists and not really intended for use by hard-core daily commuters, a deal's a deal.

Chocolate Spokes Facebook

Bike shops can be chilly places where dude-bro hipster mechanics make customers feel stupid. Fancy chocolate shops can be snooty, too. Ski and snowboard stores — you guessed it, the same. Fortunately, cyclists, skiers, snowboarders and chocolate gourmands alike have a home at Chocolate Spokes, an unpretentious Five Points shop where community-minded decency reigns. As you wait for your bike or skis to be fixed, you can nosh on creative chocolate made in the U.S. The mechanics are skilled and friendly, whether helping you fix a flat tire, tuning up your rusty old bike, waxing your board or making major repairs; they'll treat you like a real person while offering first-rate service.

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