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Best Ski Run--Extreme
Crested Butte

Suffice it to say that the U.S. Extreme Skiing Championships were held at this Crested Butte site in March. This daunting "technical chute" descends 1,475 feet from a summit of 11,400 feet, at an average slope of 35 to 38 degrees. That's steep, folks, even for hotshots. Not only that, but the whole thing is studded with boulders and trees. Clearly not for the fainthearted. Or for visiting Texans.

Best Dog Run
Eagle Open Area
55th St., north of the Boulder Reservoir

Some dogs pop a wheelie and race around like terriers on espresso beans without any stimulation other than an open field. Others, however, require some human interaction (e.g., human-propelled tennis ball). This is where the Eagle Open Area comes in handy. Somebody helpfully stocked the area with about a gazillion prairie dogs, which, unlike the squirrels in city parks, are still possessed of a survival instinct. With little urging, your hound should be sprinting from one hole to another as the prairie critters pop up and down. You, meanwhile, stroll about leisurely. When your dog is exhausted, place him gently in the back of the car and return to the city.

Best Skiing Within an Hour of Denver
Loveland Basin
I-70 at Loveland Pass

Loveland spares the big-ticket resort trappings in order to spoil the skier--acres of champagne terrain ranging from heavenly slopes for beginners to extreme inferno for technical experts. Loveland's no-frills style is reflected in the low-price lift tickets and the easy commute--from Colfax to cold powder in a little less than an hour. You won't find any "ski village," expensive sleepovers or celebrities--this area is strictly for people who think skiing is a challenging mountain sport, not a chillier substitute for Hollywood. Best way to be mistaken for a local? Ski here instead of Vail.

end of part 1

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