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Watch the sun rise over Denver from the summit of Boulder’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Courtesy of Eric Schuette

Top of the Town 2017: Sports, Fitness & Outdoors

There’s no shortage of ways to work up a sweat, both in the wild and in the city, in the Centennial State. These are simply the best.

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Sunrise Hike

Sugarloaf Mountains 
Editors’ Choice

Boulder County rules say you can begin the moderately steep, half-mile hike to the top of this 7,842-foot peak at sunrise (5:36 a.m. on July 1). Of course, it will take Denverites 45 minutes to drive there first. Translation: You’ll need to wake up in the middle of the night to be on Sugarloaf’s exposed summit near dawn. Or you could cheat by scoring a first-come, first-served camping spot close to the trailhead. Either way, the reward is 360-degree views of the morning’s pink-gold hues lighting up the Denver skyline and Eastern Plains while also silhouetting the toothy peaks of the Front Range.

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Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Readers’ Choice 
18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, 720-865-2494

Camping

Deckers 
Editors’ Choice 

If you’re car camping close to Denver, you’re probably not going to get the kind of remote Into The Wild experience glorified in Patagonia ads. (Everyone seems to forget how Christopher McCandless’ story ends. Spoiler alert: not well.) But near the fly-fishing mecca of Deckers, you’ll find streamside campgrounds nestled among the ponderosas as well as plenty of other less obvious—but totally legal—pull-offs in Pike National Forest. Yes, some of the campgrounds feel like little more than corrals for cars and RVs (we’re looking at you, Ponderosa Pine). Others, however, like the 10-site Platte River Campground, host generously spaced tent areas complete with fire pits and picnic tables and reside within casting distance of the trout-rich, Gold Medal waters of the South Platte River. At a little over an hour from Denver, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a prettier and more accessible place to scratch your wilderness itch.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Readers’ Choice
92 Crawford Gulch Road, Golden, 303-582-3707

Terrafly-Pilates
Yael Trainer, owner of Terrafly Pilates. Courtesy of Annaleisa Friednash

Pilates Studio

Terrafly Pilates 
Editors’ Choice 

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Contrary to what the makeup of your neighborhood studio class might suggest, Pilates isn’t just for women. In fact, Yael Trainer, owner of nearly year-old TerraFly Pilates, has made it her mission to make the sport more inclusive with classes like Fly Bros & Beer, a bimonthly 55-minute, all-male class that targets Pilates-curious guys by serving free brews afterward. Trainer, a former modern dancer, also wants to get the next generation interested early. She holds classes to teach the strength-and-flexibility discipline to children (through a mix of dance moves and standard Pilates sequences) and does private sessions called Parents & Progenies, specifically designed for families of two to four—creating a great way to bond with the kids. 13 E. Fourth Ave., 720-432-7190

PH7 Pilates
Readers’ Choice
4928 W. 29th Ave.; 1162 Madison St.; 720-235-2131

Running Event

Colfax Marathon Relay
Editors’ Choice

We’re constantly pinkie-swearing with friends to run marathons. Training begins with a bang—up at dawn, no sweat—before we eventually regress to our natural state of semi-atrophy. The leap from zero to 26.2 miles just seems too great. The Colfax Marathon Relay in May, however, splits up the distance into five easily accomplishable segments. The route starts and ends in City Park, and each team’s five members run different legs (they range from 3.5 to 6.5 miles and have catchy names like “No Groans at Sloan’s,” where racers loop around the lake). Whether you’re running with your besties or co-workers, camaraderie comes easily thanks to the cheering crowds and barbecue and beer at the post-race festival in City Park. There, you can dance with your group to live music, browse the farmers’ market, replace a few of your spent carbs with free Michelob Ultras, and spring for a well-deserved massage.

BolderBoulder
Readers’ Choice
303-444-7223

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Venture-Tempest
The Venture Tempest board. Courtesy of Venture Snowboards

Ski/Snowboard Company

Venture Snowboards 
Editors’ Choice 

The news that Silverton’s 18-year-old Venture Snowboards was manufacturing decks again after taking a year off was met with many a fist bump—and for good reason. Husband-and-wife team Klem and Lisa Branner’s handcrafted boards have long had a rep for helping experienced riders access deep snow (many models can be made as splitboards). Now, Venture’s new snowboards—like the versatile Paragon as well as the Oracle and Tempest, the company’s first decks built with a tighter stance specifically for women—aim for broader, all-mountain appeal. Because everybody deserves the opportunity to ride these San Juan–tested beauties. 4 Mears Ave., Silverton, 970-387-5078 

Never Summer Industries 
Readers’ Choice
3838 Eudora Way, 303-320-0170

Outdoor Gear

Bentgate Mountaineering 
Editors’ Choice 

Since its founding in 1994, this shop’s expertise (the staff boasts a collective 200-plus years of climbing experience) has earned it respect from adventurers. If you’re a seasoned weekend warrior ready to ramp up your excursions, Bent Gate’s collection of DPS skis, splitboards from Venture Snowboards (see “Ski/Snowboard Company” above), Hilleberg tents, and Backcountry Access avalanche safety gear will help you top new peaks. Burgeoning climbers will also appreciate the Golden store’s expertly curated and convenient equipment packages: The Intro to Trad Climbing bundle ($605), for example, features five Black Diamond C4 Camalots, three Metolius Ultralight Master Cams, and a set of Black Diamond Stoppers. You can expect the same level of attention when it comes to putting together your I-just-moved-to-Colorado-and-my-gear-closet-needs-help skiing and backpacking collections, too. 1313 Washington Ave., Golden, 303-271-9382 

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REI
Readers’ Choice 

Multiple locations

Crested-Butte
Shred the feet of snow that Crested Butte received this past year. Courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Ski Resort

Crested Butte Mountain Resort 
Editors’ Choice 

During a 10-day span in January, Crested Butte Mountain Resort received more than 101 inches of snow. All that pow necessitated a whole lot of POW!: Over the course of the season, ski patrollers lobbed more than 4,000 explosive hand charges to provoke avalanches before skiers accidentally did so themselves. When the smoke finally cleared, Crested Butte could open many zones of the mountain, such as Moosehead and Teo 2 Bowl, that hadn’t been navigable in years. So while a few other Colorado mountains got more white stuff this year, the Butte’s epic accumulation provided rare experiences that ski bums, daytrippers, and tourists will remember for decades. 12 Snowmass Road, Crested Butte, 844-993-9545

Vail Mountain
Readers’ Choice 
970-754-8245

Place to Buy a Bike

Pedal Pushers Cyclery
Editors’ Choice

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This 3,000-square-foot bike store in Golden doesn’t just stock a ridiculous range of mountain bikes, from Kona to Intense Cycles and priced from $125 to $10,000. It also knows how to make them move: Pedal Pushers prides itself on suspension setups, even devoting a section of the shop to ensuring customers get the ride they want no matter their size or riding style. While waiting for the staffers to get your groove right, order a pint from the new on-site bar, Bikes & Beer, which pours four local brews from taps made out of old handlebars and suspension forks. Just don’t drink so much that you can’t take your new ride for a spin. 710 Golden Ridge Road, Golden, 303-365-2453

Wheat Ridge Cyclery
Readers’ Choice (tie)
7085 W. 38th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 303-424-3221
Campus Cycles 
Readers’ Choice (tie) 
 2102 S. Washington St., 303-698-2811

Yoga Studio

Yoga Pod LoDo
Editors’ Choice

During yoga, you should focus on how your mind and body feel—not on how you look. That’s a tall order, though, when you’re in happy baby pose next to a stranger. At Yoga Pod’s LoDo studio (the franchise has 11 locations in Colorado), instructors encourage socializing before and after class by welcoming pop-up vendors like BootayBag (a local underwear subscription service) to the studio and hosting brunch at fun spots like Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox (see “Music Venue That’s Not Red Rocks”). Once buddied up, you and your yoga tribe can challenge yourselves with the YogaTone class, which strikes the right balance between strength training and calorie burning with upbeat music, hand weights, and bursts of cardio. Plus, the pastel pink, green, and blue color scheme has a fanciful, springlike feel that generates the perfect ambience to pursue rebirth, enlightenment, and, of course, new friendships. 1956 Lawrence St., Suite 100, 303-593-0018

Kindness Yoga
Readers’ Choice
Multiple locations 

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Fitness Studio/Gym

Green Door Fitness
Editors’ Choice 

The best thing about a personal trainer is the convenience: All you have to do is show up and she has a routine designed to meet your unique, personalized goals. The worst thing? That would be the exorbitant price of said convenience. This three-year-old boutique gym just south of City Park, however, provides specialty service to any Joe Schmoe who can shell out $149 a month (that’s for unlimited access; you can pay less for fewer days). A trainer staffs the floor at all times. Gymgoers simply walk in the door and tell her what they’d like to work on that particular day. For example, we wanted a total-body regimen, so Sarah Maestes designed a devilish circuit of spinning, rowing, and weights that punched us directly in the cardiovascular system. Despite overseeing a handful of other victims, er, exercisers at the time, Maestes also still managed to correct our side-lunge form and, even more important, encourage us when our willpower began to wane. 2404 E. Colfax Ave., 720-541-7163 

Core Progression Elite Personal Training 
Readers’ Choice 
16255 W. 64th Ave., Unit 3, Arvada, 303-940-2060; 10693 Melody Drive, Northglenn, 303-484-1170


All-Weather Wares

No matter your favorite season to spend outdoors (hint: in Colorado, it’s all of them), we’ve selected the best gear of the past year to help upgrade your adventures.

Copper-Spur-Platinum
Big Agnes’ Copper Spur 2 Platinum tent. Courtesy of Big Agnes’

Summer

With Big Agnes’ Copper Spur 2 Platinum, you’re going to spend a lot ($600) for very little. And that’s a good thing. Big Agnes’ lightest two-person shelter weighs roughly three pounds so you can forever bid farewell to arguments over who’s carrying the tent. Plus, the Copper Spur’s stout polyester mesh body stands up to wicked winds but is also see-through enough to provide a great bedtime view of the stars spread over the Centennial State’s shimmering summer sky.

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Fall

Staunton State Park in Pine recently opened a trail to the base of 75-foot Elk Falls. It runs 12 miles round-trip, so you’ll need a comfortable, practical daypack. Osprey’s Skarab 32 Hydration Hiker Pack ($120) can carry 2.5 liters of water, offers plenty of space for turkey sandwiches and Bobo’s Oat Bars, and features a novel suspension system that distributes the weight of your load (recommended max: 25 pounds) across the entire mesh back panel to ensure sore shoulders don’t distract from the stunning sight of aspens turning from green to gold in autumn.

Winter

Denver’s Flylow spent years developing a ski bib specifically for women, and according to just about everyone who tested the Foxy Bib ($390), it was time well-spent. Made with Flylow’s proprietary three-layer stretch fabric, which is both breathable and waterproof, these powder overalls provide insane mobility and protection for backcountry shredding. The trim cut around the waist and thighs was designed with the female form in mind, and a zipper (to provide quick access when nature calls) that runs down the outside of the left leg is handy, too.

Spring

You never know what weather a Colorado springtime will deliver—but it’s a guarantee that at some point, you’re going to need shades. Zeal Optics manufactures its new Incline polarized sunglasses ($149) using an innovative thin-injection process that cuts the weight of the frames nearly in half. No matter how rowdy you get, rubber inlays on the bridge and at the temples stop the Incline from slipping down your sweaty snout.

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