Best Golf Course 2019 | CommonGround Golf Course | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Hot-shot golf course architect Tom Doak really outdid himself with his 2009 renovation of Lowry's absolute goat trail of a municipal course, Mira Vista. Now called CommonGround, it's a breathtakingly perfect collection of varied terrain and confounding angles and has nearly enough fairway width to make the quick, subtle and cavernous greens seem downright fair. Almost. Beyond that, CommonGround is walkable, offers an affordable annual pass, and has top-notch practice facilities, including a grass range and a lovely par-three course. Book your tee time well in advance, because this place cooks in the summer.

As far as Aurora golf goes, Aurora Hills does not have the pedigreed, pardon-me-miss demands for accuracy of Meadow Hills. It doesn't have the no-holds-barred, chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out intensity of east Aurora's treacherous Murphy Creek. What it does have is one hell of a breakfast burrito. Tin Cup's breakfast offering is fresh, hot, spicy, full of chorizo and perfectly portioned. Pro tip: Order your burrito, tee up before 7:30 a.m., and re-up at the turn to get to the kitchen while it's still serving breakfast.


Take it from us: Few things are more satisfying than spending the day shredding a ski hill and the night slamming mai tais at a tiki bar. It doesn't even have to be a good ski hill or a good tiki bar — but as luck would have it, Denver has easy access to both. Back in town after a day full of powder, head straight to Adrift, where you'll step out of the cold and into a welcoming island paradise. Shed the snow gear and let your mind drift away at Adrift.

Skiing is expensive. Passes will set you back a couple hundred dollars, and even "skinning" up mountains to catch some backcountry turns requires a whole setup of specialized equipment. But what if you could use your skis or snowboard to shred some technical runs at no cost? Hitchhiking rides up Loveland Pass has long been a local strategy. After taking Exit 216 along I-70 westbound (right before the Eisenhower Tunnel), go 1.8 miles up Loveland Pass, until you reach a wide hairpin turnout. This is where runs from the top of the pass bottom out. Park here and join your fellow ski bums hitching rides to the top of the pass. Once you're there, get into your gear on the tunnel side of the road and make your way down.

Last season, Arapahoe Basin opened 468 acres of new terrain. Nearly 340 of those make up an area of intermediate to advanced runs called the Beavers, which is now served by a four-person chairlift. But the remaining 129 acres, known collectively as the Steep Gullies, are intended for experts only and comprise the most challenging skiing at A-Basin. All of the narrow chutes have sharp pitches and are designated double-black-diamond runs. But don't let that intimidate you: The Steep Gullies also has some of the most un-tracked snow on the mountain, mainly because all the runs empty out onto an access road, requiring skiers and snowboarders to make the long hike back to the Pallavicini lift.

Arapahoe Basin is known for its proximity to Denver, for the otherworldly Bloody Marys at 6th Alley Bar and Grill, and for the Beach, a free parking lot at the base of the resort (for those up early enough to snag a space during the ski season, the Beach hosts Denver's best tailgating from November to June). But A-Bay has a new bragging point for the 2018-2019 season: a high-speed quad that serves the Beavers, 339 acres in the often-ogled, seldom-shredded bowl just west of the formerly out-of-bounds terrain. Bring your charcoal grill for the end of the day or fight your way through 6th Alley for a Bloody — after a day exploring new terrain, you'll have earned it.

Readers' Choice: Winter Park gondola

Flickr/Bureau of Lane Management

Silverton Mountain's Spring Unguided Season Pass includes twelve unguided days at the mountain, $89 standby skiing during its guided season, a $39 heli drop and 42 days at a collection of partner resorts around the U.S., including three days each at Monarch, Sunlight and Powderhorn mountains. At $499 a pop, you're paying market rate for those six days if you don't make it to Silverton. But this pass has been known to go for — drum roll, please — $149 during early-bird pricing. So keep your eyes peeled for the deal, because it's truly a no-brainer.

Readers' Choice: Epic Local Pass

Brandon Marshall

Just try and throw a snowball without hitting at least three Colorado residents who wouldn't pick a hard, white winter over summer. In fact, we're so well known for our winter activities that we routinely attract trade shows big and small that appeal to our wild hearts. Our favorite is the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, which gathers around 800 outdoor-lifestyle vendors annually in Denver so they can show off next season's goods. The swag is pretty sick, too; free beer flows in the afternoon in brand-name tumblers, trail guides autograph copies of their books, and you'll walk away with enough free lip balm to carry you through the harshest of Colorado winters.

Specializing in more than one thing isn't always such a great idea, but Lenny's has been making it work for nearly forty years, providing not only top-notch golf gear and expert repair, but also nailing ski and snowboard rentals and sales alongside stellar customer service from a staff that knows its snow sports. Tucked away in a plaza, the dual-purpose shop offers high-quality gear, including ski jackets and pants, for rent or purchase, as well as great seasonal rental rates for kids and end-of-season deals on demos. No appointment is necessary for repairs or tuning, either, and if you call ahead, Lenny's will try to put a rush on it — but more often than not you'll get same-day service, getting you back on the slopes sooner.

Readers' Choice: Christy Sports

It's not hard to miss Berkeley Park Running Company: Located in a tiny house on Tennyson, the shop's street-facing wall is emblazoned with a Colorado flag-based mural featuring a jackalope silhouette jumping across the C. Inside, the two-story space is packed with shoes, clothing, accessories, nutritional supplements, sunglasses, hydration packs, you name it — much of it from local vendors. Oriented primarily toward trail and ultrarunning, the shop nonetheless attracts a fair number of road runners looking for gear advice and camaraderie. In addition, this community-oriented store sponsors group runs and several area races, hosts guest speakers and parties celebrating all things running — and offers a sweet discount if you drop off your old shoes for charity.

Readers' Choice: Runners Roost

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