Best Of » Recreation

Best of 2009: Playing

Biking Trail

New Santa Fe Regional Trail (Central Colorado Springs,

Considering it's in Colorado, this trail possesses a rare, prized quality: It's more or less flat. In places, it's also wide, and even paved. In fact, a large section south of America the Beautiful Park just got a fresh layer of concrete. Known in parts of the Springs as the Pikes Peak Greenway, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail mostly follows Fountain and Monument creeks and spans from Palmer Lake to just outside the town of Fountain. (Sections of it are also called the Fountain Creek Regional Trail.) Kurt Schroeder, manager of the city's parks maintenance, open space and trails, says of this one, "There aren't any significant grades, and it goes through some beautiful areas of town." — JAS

Yoga Studio

CorePower Yoga (1025 Garden of the Gods Road, Suite C, 265-8611 • 623 N. Nevada Ave., 477-9642 •

"My favorite thing about CorePower is the studio's sense of community," says Laura Lantz, the Nevada Avenue studio manager. "It's very amazing — we're like a yoga family." Lantz has worked for CorePower for five years, and feels it has inspired such loyalty via the diversity of styles it offers, as well as programs to help inspire lifestyle changes. Aside from yoga classes and workouts that are challenging and diverse, CorePower offers programs geared toward nutrition, strengthening and circuit training. Its "Yogi Training" teaches students, as Lantz describes, to "take yoga off of the mat and put it into their lives." — SC

Pilates Studio

ReVibe Pilates & Bodywork (2410 W. Vermijo Ave., 231-6430,

Pilates is good for the mind, body and soul — just ask Trish Doyle-Stahl, co-owner of ReVibe Pilates & Bodywork. "It's not just a workout for the body, it's the whole connection," she says. "It stretches and strengthens you at the same time." With decades of cumulative experience, the folks at ReVibe deliver a workout that is "low in impact, and high in results." Afterward, plan to relax with a massage, or check out the hot stone treatment. All things considered, it's hard to imagine why someone wouldn't want to visit this studio. Says Doyle-Stahl: "It helps people get their quality of life back." — KV

Health Club

24 Hour Fitness (3650 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., #197, 262-0024 • 1892 Southgate Road, 633-2442 • 7720 N. Academy Blvd., 244-9532 •

"Everyone has dumbbells; everyone has treadmills," says service manager Orlando Argueta. He claims that what sets 24 Hour Fitness apart is its personal training staff. Offering three one-on-one sessions for $129, insured by a results-driven, full-satisfaction-or-your-money-back guarantee, "We put — what's the saying? — our money where our mouth is," Argueta offers with a laugh. General membership costs range from $24 to $100 monthly, a small price to pay for a place to constructively embrace those random bursts of 3 a.m. energy. — AM

Dance Studio

Springs Salsa & Dance Fitness (2506 W. Colorado Ave., Unit C, 520-1201 • 1220 Valley St., 591-1419 •

People are learning that fitness doesn't have to just be running a 5K, walking a treadmill or swimming laps. Dance fitness takes the best of the nightclub scene and offers options for sweating off the pounds. And Springs Salsa offers more choices (more than 45 classes per week) for this style of working out than any other studio in town. On five dance floors at two different locations, you can try Zumba, Salsa, Masala Bhangra, Yoga Booty Ballet, Pole Dancing or Hip Hop Hustle, and look and feel sexy while getting in shape. — KA

Family Fun Center

Mr. Biggs (5825 Mark Dabling Blvd., 955-7220,

The one and only time I went to Mr. Biggs, I was a teenager. My friends and I had decided the funnest thing we could possibly do that day would be to antagonize little kids in the 5,000-square-foot laser tag playground, and cut them off in the go-kart track. Had we not been there to ruin their fun, they most certainly would have enjoyed the 16-lane bowling alley, 18 holes of mini golf, the BattleTech: Firestorm robot-fight simulator, bumper hockey and the full arcade. — KAK

Outdoor Place to Pop the Question
Park Within City Limits
Place for a Blind Date
Place to Climb
Place for a Picnic
Tourist Destination

Garden of the Gods (1805 N. 30th St., 634-6666,

'Good things come in small packages"? What a load of bull. Big, beautiful Garden of the Gods is indisputably the best gift Colorado Springs ever received. The sprawling property, filled with unusual sandstone formations, was given to the city in 1909 by the family of Charles Elliott Perkins. Since then, it's become a favorite spot for hikers, bikers, picnickers, climbers, lovebirds and tourists who later send holiday cards featuring themselves holding up Balanced Rock. But love and Best Of awards won't alone protect the Garden in 2010; unless voters opt to approve a tax increase in the November election, park patrols and city-funded park programs could be axed. — JAS

Country Club / Golf Course

Patty Jewett Golf Course (900 E. Española St., 385-6934,

For many of us, whether a golf course is good depends on how the carts drive. However, with 27 holes, a view of Pikes Peak, and low prices, Patty Jewett isn't so bad for golfing, either. "It's a relatively easy golf course that still has enough teeth to challenge the advanced players," says Dal Lockwood, golf manager. On the third-oldest public course west of the Mississippi, you get a clubhouse, driving range and an 18th hole that changes weekly — all for $30 or less. The full package might even tempt you to get out of the cart and swing a club a few times. — JK

Place for a Wedding

Briarhurst Manor Estate (404 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-1864,

Misconceptions about the Briarhurst abound, says president Ken Healey. Here's one: It's really expensive. In fact, Healey says, if you were to host a decent-sized wedding ceremony and reception at home — with rented linens, china, tables and chairs, etc. — it'd probably cost more than the Briarhurst doing it for you. Another: On your wedding day, you might have to share the site with another party. Actually, if you want to pay a little more, you can reserve all five acres and 15,000 square feet, whether you want the actual ceremony indoors in the conservatory, or outdoors on the patio or by the stream. All this must explain why one misconception — that there are better places for a wedding — is not so common. — KW

Hiking Trail

Red Rock Canyon Open Space (3615 W. High St.,

Because its loops hook together for 13 diverse miles, joining up with the Paul Intemann Memorial Trail and Section 16, giving intrepid and intimidated hikers alike plenty of options. Because Manitou's Incline and Barr Trail are crowded and dull next to the comparatively deserted Red Rock Canyon trails that roll through some of the prettiest topography in Colorado. Because, for free, you can picnic comfortably with your family and Fido, then spend the afternoon exploring cliffs and marshes. And because, in addition to the Chaco-wearing dog-walking crowd, runners, rock climbers and equestrians are also welcome. — DS

Downtown Location for Fox Watching

Writer's Pick

St. Vrain Street at Monument Creek

Where I grew up, we'd often spot a young red fox sitting beneath our apple tree, steadying an afternoon snack between his front paws. This vaguely anthropomorphic habit, along with the fact that we didn't have a henhouse, endeared me to the species. So it's been a great delight to repeatedly glimpse a reasonably friendly fox near the top of the steps that go down from St. Vrain to Monument Creek. In my experience, foxes are cuter than coyotes and dingoes, and much less likely to run off with your baby. Definitely worth a visit, assuming some local Elmer Fudd doesn't get there first. — BF

Local Outdoor Blog

Writer's Pick

UltraRob's Adventures (

About five years ago, Rob Lucas, a former co-worker of my husband's, took on a new personality: UltraRob the Blogger. When his blog began, it clearly emphasized cycling, Lucas' passion. But today, he posts on topics ranging from Springs open-space advocacy to outdoor product reviews. And to help broaden his reach, in August he added a writer familiar to many Indy readers, Deb Acord. Hardcore (and lightish) outdoor enthusiasts would do well to drop by for a daily dose of UltraRob. — KA


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