Best Of » Recreation

Best of 2008: Training Ground


  • Jeremy Eyman

Yoga Studio

CorePower Yoga

1025 Garden of the Gods Road, Suite C, 265-8611

623 N. Nevada Ave., 477-9642

In the six short, but sweat-filled years since founder Trevor Tice opened the first CorePower in Denver, the company has extended itself (zing!) to 24 locations across Colorado, California, Oregon and Minnesota. How's that for proof that regular yoga practice helps one thrive and be bountiful? Aspiring yogis and yoginis of all levels love the vinyasa, flow approach with options for hot, power, fusion and sculpting classes, among other offerings such as teacher trainings. Me: I just can't wait for each class' ending shavasana asana, where I can flop down fatigued but fulfilled. Because as anyone who's tried it can vouch, nothing beats that post-yoga bliss. MS

Health Club

YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region

Multiple locations

From Merv Bennett, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region: "We are honored to be named the best health club, but we are so much more. Our programs include child care and child aquatics ... teaching children to swim ... and Camp Shady Brook. We care for spirit, mind and body." The local YMCA journey began in 1878 when city founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer would wash his horse in the pool. No, that's not true. The local YMCA began that year with a reading room on South Tejon Street, a place where the townsfolk would come to sit and read a large collection of classic literature. Then, of course, they'd all take a shower. RT

Place to Meet up with Sex-Crazed Animals

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, during elk-mating season

You haven't lived until you've encountered a bull elk when he's looking for love. His eyes flash red. His neck quivers. His call seems to pierce your eardrums. If you're lucky, you can experience this Rocky Mountain rite of fall at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, where ranger-led fall hikes help you find the best locations. DA

  • L'Aura Montgomery

Dance Studio

Springs Salsa & Dance Fitness

2506 W. Colorado Ave., Unit C, 520-1201

If you don't think dancing can give you a workout, then I'm going to wager you haven't done much dancing. Ever. Springs Salsa takes it to another level with dance fitness programs like Zumba, Masala Bhangra and Yoga Booty Ballet. (OK, the name made me smirk when I first read it.) Plus, it offers the more traditional salsa lessons, bellydancing and not-so-traditional pole dancing. Could soccer moms skip the candlelight yoga (also offered here) and pick up pole dancing as a new form of exercise? At Springs Salsa, sure. In fact, there's a senior discount. MM

  • L'Aura Montgomery

Place to Climb

Outdoor Place to Pop the Question

Place for a Picnic

Tourist Destination

Garden of the Gods

1805 N. 30th St., 634-6666

After he died, Charles Elliot Perkins' children donated the land on which Garden of the Gods sits to Colorado Springs, with the intention of keeping such a natural wonder open to the public, free of charge. Nearly 100 years later, Garden of the Gods is a haven for bloody-knuckled climbers, stammering would-be fiancs, nature-junkie picnickers, fanny-packing tourists and virtually everyone in between. Just be sure to watch out for the dreaded rattlesnakes, because if they start biting, Garden of the Gods just might stop winning every category. And we wouldn't want that. KAK

Place to Skateboard

Goose Gossage Skate Park

3225-3950 Mark Dabling Blvd.

Equipped with two pools, a couple of fun boxes and X Games-style dirt jumps, Goose Gossage Skate Park offers the basics that any BMXer or skater could want: dirt and cement. In fact, according to, a clearinghouse for international skate park information, Gossage can break your bones with a "Crash Up Derby" factor of 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Which means you'd better bring your helmet. And you'd better believe that this place won't become a ghost town even after the long-awaited, competition-grade skate park opens in Memorial Park a few weeks from now. KAK

  • Brienne Boortz

Hiking Trail

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

3615 W. High St.

What is it about Red Rock Canyon that makes it the best? Its idyllic ponds? Its collection of rock formations loved by both paleontologists and climbers? Or maybe the fact that it contains a contemplative trail, named, built and watched over by the Garden of the Goddesses Club? Each of those characteristics alone is enough to endear Red Rock to those who visit. Put them all together, and you've got the city's newest open space, a wildly popular gathering place for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, dogs and their owners, artists, photographers and, well, contemplatives. On weekends, Red Rock is a bustling place, but on a weekday morning, it offers solitude and an occasional glimpse of resident mule deer, black bears and coyotes. DA

Writers' PICK Place to Spy Big Bird

Fountain Creek Regional Park

320 Peppergrass Lane, Fountain, 520-6745

It's true: Bigger is better. At least it is when you're talking birds. Members of one of the largest bird species in the United States hang out at Fountain Creek Regional Park, and in the springtime, choose the giant cottonwoods on the creek banks there to build their nests. The majestic great blue heron stands 4 feet tall and has a 6-foot wingspan. It's a prodigious angler but sometimes doesn't show great judgment herons have been known to choke to death by trying to swallow fish that are too large for their slender necks. ("Junior! I told you that your eyes are bigger than your neck!") DA

  • Jon Kelley

Park Within City Limits

Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Road

When I picture the idyllic park, I see rolling grassy knolls, kids swarming around picnics and swing sets, and dogs chasing cats. Palmer Park meets an entirely different expectation, but in a very good way. Perfect for biking or walking, with ample pull-off parking on scenic, windy roads, Palmer Park accommodates virtually all people who enjoy the outdoors. Though it's accessible from several busy roads, it's a fantastic escape from city noise. And Palmer Park's dramatic Grandview Overlook, aptly named, makes for a great lookout, and a great spot for making out. LA

Biking Trail

New Santa Fe Trail

Northern Colorado Springs

You love the New Santa Fe Trail because it's long, scenic, wide and well-groomed. But really (let's be honest here, folks), you love the New Santa Fe Trail because it's mostly flat. And a trail that doesn't demand a grueling 45-minute climb in our fair state is a rare gem, indeed. The New Santa Fe Trail starts in Palmer Lake and heads south. You can continue to follow the path through the Air Force Academy and connect with the Pikes Peak Greenway. The trail has excellent views of the mountains, plus plenty of grassland, ponderosa pine and wildflowers. And since the trail is mostly smooth, it's a great ride to do with the kids. JAS

Golf Course/Country Club

Patty Jewett Golf Course

900 E. EspaƱola St., 385-6950

We don't specify whether this is the readers' favorite course to play, or just what they think is the best course in town. Regardless, it's phenomenal that a public course like Patty Jewett continues to win every year (as it has since 1994). Why? Well, The Broadmoor's immaculate East course merely hosted the 2008 U.S. Senior Open, and the county has other classy layouts from Eisenhower Blue and Silver at the Air Force Academy to the Country Club of Colorado, and many others. Yet Patty Jewett prevails, with some of the better views you'll find on a municipal course anywhere, and plenty of holes that have character. RR

Family Fun Center

Mr. Biggs

5825 Mark Dabling Blvd., 955-7220

When my daughter turned 8, she had a pirate-themed party at Mr. Biggs, then ran around for three weeks shouting "Arghhh!" But fun doesn't have an age limit at the family fun center. Whether big or small, you can let out your inner scalawag and enjoy a 16-lane bowling center, batting cages, a NightRider go-cart speedway or a 5,000-square-foot laser tag playground. If that's not enough, you'll also find more than 80 arcade games, 18 holes of mini-golf, a kiddie carousel and Little Biggtown, where the smallest members of the family can dress up and play in a kid-sized fire station, beauty shop, bakery, dinosaur sand cave, pirate ship and other make-believe settings. At Mr. Biggs, parents can enjoy a break and let their kids and imaginations run wild. JT

  • Jeremy Eyman


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