Longform

SPORTS & RECREATION

part 2 of 3

Best Late-Spring Ski Trip
Quandary Peak
West side of Hoosier Pass

For those who didn't get enough skiing in during the season and have the energy to climb a 14,000-foot-plus peak for one more run, Quandary Peak is the place. The mountain is between Hoosier Pass and Blue River off Highway 9. A subdivision, elevation about 10,500, lies at the bottom of the mountain for easy access. Stick your boots in a pack, strap your skis on the sides and start climbing. Depending on the year's snowpack, May is generally the best time--too soon and the climbing can be tough and may require mountaineering gear; too late and you'll be skiing rocks. Start early to reach the top for lunch, take a gander at the view, then jump on the boards for a long cruise. Recommended for advanced skiers in good physical condition only.

Best Summer Snow
Mount Evans
Hwy. 103, south of Idaho Springs

Be sure to dress for the arctic blast, even in mid-July. Mount Evans has the highest paved road in the world, and the altitude keeps the climate frosty and the snowpack crisp and deep all year round. Though the way is impassable during the winter months (and a bit of a nail-biter even after it's reopened in June), it's not unusual to see ski tracks aplenty from those diehards willing to hike up in order to schuss down. If summer skiing isn't your bag, the cooling drive up or bike down from the top is the best antidote around to a hot spell in the city--and it's 35 miles from Denver.

Best Cross-Country Ski Trip to a Hot Springs
Conundrum Hot Springs
Conundrum Pass, near Aspen

Ten miles up Conundrum Creek are natural hot springs that are a hundred yards above timberline, giving bathers a gorgeous view of the surrounding area. A bare-bones Forest Service cabin offers shelter, although it's wise to bring a tent and winter sleeping gear in case it's overly occupied (rare in the winter). The area has been picked clean of most firewood, so pack in your own cooking stove or pick up wood in the valley below. To get there: Turn south off Highway 82 just west of Aspen at Maroon Creek/Castle Creek (the big stone church is a good landmark). Take the Castle Creek fork for a couple of miles, watching on the right for a Conundrum Creek sign and a small parking area. The trail follows the valley floor. Start early, and watch for avalanche indications on the hillsides above.

Best Hot Springs
Indian Springs Resort
Idaho Springs

Although the Indian Springs Resort looks like something Jed Clampett might build around his cee-ment pond, don't be fooled. The hotel is a closer-in and lower-priced alternative to the more luxurious accommodations in Glenwood Springs. Better yet, the water's not loaded with sulphur, so the place doesn't stink like rotten eggs. Indian Springs has a large public pool, gender-segregated tunnels with hotter-than-hot baths cut into the stone, and several outdoor tubs for steaming under the stars. The hotel boasts a linen-tablecloth restaurant and a bar for nightcaps. The spartan but comfortable rooms are convenient if you're too boiled to drive home. But the best feature is the private baths for singles, couples and families, where you can stretch and float away from prying eyes.

Best Shvitz for Ladies
Lake Steam Bath
3540 W. Colfax Ave.

Walking into the Lake Steam Bath for the first time can be a little intimidating--it's the nearest thing to the close-knit society of a Middle Eastern harem this side of Tel Aviv--but once the initial shock of seeing so much plump, grandmotherly flesh in one place is over and the steam, sauna, Jacuzzi and massage therapists have kneaded all the attitude out, you can sit comfortably in the kosher deli and munch bagels just like one of the family. Now that the character of the neighborhood has changed, the shvitz has become a truly cross-cultural and cross-generational experience--and still a great place to dish.

Best Ladies' Locker Room
Denver Athletic Club
1325 Glenarm Pl.

Most first-class clubs now stock their locker rooms with a lengthy list of supplies such as shampoo and conditioner, hand lotion, deodorant, mouthwash, hair spray, electric hair dryers and curling irons. The Denver Athletic Club has all that plus an ironing board, facial pads, hot rollers and a comfy sofa to throw your exhausted body on--or to wait upon stoically while your friend primps, preens and uses up her supply of free toiletries.

Best Holistic Adventure for Women
Keystone Women's Mountain Tune-up Mini Spa
Keystone

Caffeine, doughnuts, greasy nachos and cigarettes? Isn't it time you stopped right in your tracks, ladies? There's a place for you at Keystone Resort, where every summer for four years running, women have had the opportunity to slow down, stretch out and change their wicked ways. Sunrise hikes and mountain-bike sojourns are only part of the four-day package--the rest of the time is filled with low-fat-cooking classes, relaxation instruction and even a round of personal doctor's advice for each woman participating. Top all that off with yummy, healthful meals and restful massages and you'll be a new woman in no time.

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