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Posts Tagged ‘biking’

Everyone loves a Renaissance Man (or Woman)

by | August 2nd, 2016

You know those engaging people who know something about everything? The ones with the hungry—and well-fed—minds that move the conversational needle way past how hot July was? Well, now the darling of the summer cocktail party can be you, thanks to this list of recreational/educational activities. Learn about aeronautics and space travel. How to change your bike tires. Go on a brewery tour. Become a Rockies expert. Try your hand at plein air painting. It’s just another month in BackCountry, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure.  

Cockpit Demo Day at Wings Over the Rockies-Aug. 6, 10am-2pm

If you’ve never visited this historic 150,000-square-foot, 1930s-era air and space museum, now is the time. On Cockpit Demo Day, you and your kids can climb aboard select Wings aircraft and get a pilot’s perspective of the instruments and controls. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum houses a collection of more than 60 aircraft and space vehicles. Test your skills on their simulator, which allows you to pilot aircraft from WWII to Desert Storm, dogfight with your friends, and ride one of ten exhilarating simulated roller coasters. Tickets are $6-$9; children under 3 are free. Learn more.

2nd Annual BackCountry Bike Clinic-Aug. 6, 9am-12pm

With so many trails crisscrossing so much open space at BackCountry, biking is a very popular community pastime. Celebrate the outdoors lifestyle at this Family Bike Festival, featuring bike checks, mini clinics (how to change a tire, etc.), bike demos, prize giveaways, music, food, and adult and child bike riding clinics on the BackCountry trails. The skills clinics will be led again this year by Cindi Toepel of Energy Experience, a five-time World and 10-time National XTERRA Off-Road Champion. Clinic participants will receive a free breakfast. Please RSVP through by Monday, August 1st.

BackCountry Biking

Colorado Rockies Game-Aug. 21, 2:10pm

There’s something magical about watching live baseball on a summer afternoon. Rekindle your passion for America’s pastime on a fun outing to Coors Field with your fellow BackCountry residents. Tuck into a catered picnic at the Platte River Picnic Area at Coors Field, which starts 90 minutes before the game. The menu includes hot dogs, bratwursts, salad, potato chips, cookies, and unlimited fountain sodas. Then, settle in for the game. RSVP through ActiveNet by July 22. Picnic is limited to the first 50 people, so register early. Infield club seats $62; right field box seats $28.

Coors Field

Brewery Tour-Aug. 27, 2pm-6pm

Crisp and clean. Malty and sweet. Hoppy and bitter. Find your beer soulmate—and learn what’s trending in craft beer—on this tasty BackCountry tour of three Denver breweries. Catch the party bus (with snacks and water) from the Sundial House with your friends and neighbors. The Brewery Tour will visit Prost Brewing in the Denver Highlands, Epic Brewing, and Great Divide Brewery & Tap Room in RiNo. Register through ActiveNet by August 19th; space is limited to the first 50 people. $30.

Art Afield at Cherokee Ranch and Castle-Aug. 31

Monet had to start somewhere. And with a Colorado meadow as your muse, who knows where this could go? Breathtaking Cherokee Ranch & Castle invites artists of all levels to paint in an open meadow north of the Highlands Ranch Conservation Area. Disappear into your canvas for the day, inspired by views extending from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak. Dress for the weather, come rain or shine, and bring a lunch, beverage, and art supplies. Tickets $20; beginning instruction available for an extra fee. Learn more. 

Cherokee Ranch Painting

August is American Adventure Month

by | August 4th, 2015

August is an excellent choice for a month devoted to snagging some last bits of summer adventure. School days are looming, so before the kids’ homework and your end-of-year obligations kick in, try something outside the regular routine. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning.

Nature Connects: Art with Lego™ Bricks-Aug. 7-Nov. 1
Boasting a 400 lb. bumblebee, lion, and other creatures built entirely from LEGOs, this traveling exhibit at the Denver Zoo is sure to appeal to animal lovers and diehard fans of the classic toy building blocks. (Many families have both.)  This award-winning display of engineering and art prowess features more than 35 life-size-or-larger animal and plant sculptures. Scattered throughout the zoo, the exhibit makes a leisurely summer day even more of a visual treat. Free with admission, which ranges from $12-17. Learn more.

Lego Nature Connects Denver Zoo
BackCountry Bike Clinic
-Aug. 8, 9am-12pm
BackCountry residents, grab your ride (dusty or much-used) and head over to the Amphitheatre for BackCountry’s first-ever bike clinic. Tuned to beginner and intermediate riders, the clinics will be led by Cindi Toepel of Energy Xperience, a five-time World and 10-time National XTERRA Off-Road Champion. Bike safety checks, a snake presentation, food, beer, and more add to the fun and learning. Kids’ clinic from 9:15am-10am and adults’ from 10:30-11:45. Register at by Aug. 5. Open to BackCountry residents & their guests only.

USA Pro Challenge Bike Race-Aug. 17-23
Kicking off in Steamboat Springs, cruising through eight host cities, and then coming to a grand finale in Denver, this prestigious race offers plenty of places to watch the altitude-busting ways of the world’s top cyclists. New destinations this year include Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Pass, and Copper Mountain, but the Golden-to-Denver stretch makes the viewing easy for us locals. Learn more.

USA Pro Challenge go ride

Film on the Rocks: The Breakfast Club-Aug. 26, 7pm
Got your summertime Red Rocks fix yet? Don’t let the season slip by without a trip to this world-renowned venue. Without the hefty price of a concert, Film on the Rocks lets you enjoy a vintage film, live music, and spectacular views. This go-round features music by Jen Korte & the Loss with The Dirty Femmes, a Violent Femmes cover band, followed by The Breakfast Club, the coming-of-age classic about a cross-section of ‘80s high schoolers stuck together in detention.  $12. Get tickets here.

BackCountry End of Summer Luau-Aug. 28, 6pm-8:30pm
Somehow saying “aloha” to summer feels so much better than “goodbye.” Luau with your BackCountry neighbors at the Amphitheatre, enjoying dinner, dancing to the summery sounds of the Margarita Brothers, Hawaiian-themed balloon artistry, and a message-in-a-bottle craft for the kids. Reserve your spot at by August 20.

Aloha beach writing

Bike trails and clinics and snow cones, oh yes.

by | July 15th, 2015

With three separate trail systems winding through the breathtaking open space behind the Sundial House, it’s no surprise that BackCountry is a biker’s dream come true. Or that BackCountry has planned its first bike clinic.

Scheduled for 9am-noon on Saturday, August 8, the BackCountry Bike Clinic will be led by five-time World and 10-time National Xterra Off-Road Champion Cindi Toepel, of Energy Xperience. But don’t let her prowess intimidate you. This clinic is geared toward beginner and intermediate riders who will learn how to properly stay upright, handle corners with ease, negotiate small obstacles, and minimize the boo-boos. Instruction will be followed by a trail ride. While all levels are welcome, advanced riders may prefer to contact Cindi directly for advanced instruction outside of the event.


Kids (stable riders ages 7-11) will have their own clinic from 9:15am-10:15am, while adults (ages 12 and up) will meet from 10:30am-11:45am. Both clinics will take place on the BackCountry trails just behind the Sundial House.  A local bike shop will offer bike safety checks and a Highlands Ranch Park Ranger will talk about BackCountry wildlife you might encounter. Music, snacks, and drinks—including beer—will be available after the adult clinic.

This inaugural event is hosted by residents Craig Wilmes and Marni Hall, realtors at Realty One Group Premier. As an avid biker, Craig hopes the event will tempt even more people out on the trails. Craig hits the trails three to four times a week, meeting up with 8-10 neighbors on Saturday mornings. One set of trails is private to BackCountry residents, consisting of two big loops with two smaller inner loops. Craig says, “These trails are fairly tame, well maintained, and I like them because I can basically figure eight the loops however I like.”

These trails connect to the Douglas County East-West Regional Trail system and the Highlands Ranch private trails. “Both systems are very well maintained and offer various degrees of difficulty from ‘not-too-bad’ to ‘that-was-really-hard,’” says Craig. “Make sure to carry your Highlands Ranch ID card with you as I’ve actually been stopped twice by Park Rangers to make sure I was a resident.” (Which means that your lovely backyard wilderness area will never feel overrun with cyclists from all over the metro area.) On the trails, you might see prairie dogs, owls, coyotes, turkey, deer, and the occasional eagle.

BackCountry Family biking

Although Craig and his family have lived in BackCountry since 2011, he only ventured out onto the trails two years ago. After just one ride, he was hooked. “I love the BackCountry trails,” he said. “And the community too, the look of it and all the events.” And now he’s kicking off an event that he hopes turns into a regular one. To his fellow residents, he says, “Don’t wait like I did to jump on your bike and give it a try. If you’re ever interested in going out with other riders, meet our group at the corner of Tiger Lily and Meadowleaf Lane around 8am on most Saturdays throughout the summer.”

Please note that the clinic is a free event, but you must register and sign a waiver at by Wednesday, August 5. The event is open only to BackCountry residents and their guests. You must provide your own mountain bike, helmet, and water. For questions, please contact John Lyon at the Sundial House at 303-346-2800 or Craig Wilmes at 303-810-7299.

Learn. Laugh. Dance. Ride. It’s all happening this September.

by | September 1st, 2014

What are you in the mood for? Chances are good you’ll find an activity in the metro area to match your disposition this month. Between Denver events, Highlands Ranch happenings, and BackCountry’s own calendar of activities, it’ll be easy to get everyone in the tribe to switch off the electronics and tune into some real-life fun.

Highlands Ranch Days
-Sept. 4-6, 9am-2pm
Learn the history of Highlands Ranch—while making some of your own. Ideal for the whole family, this annual event features historical reenactments, blacksmithing, weaving, Native American dancers, a petting zoo, raptor demonstrations, an 1800s tepee, a real chuck wagon, livestock displays, and more. Take a tour of the Highlands Ranch Mansion and hop on a hayride for views of the property rarely seen by the public. Adults $4, children $2; free if under age 2. Held at the Highlands Ranch MansionLearn more.

Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival-Sept. 7, 5pm
After a highly successful first year, the world’s biggest comedy tour is back and in Colorado’s favorite setting—Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Backed up by amazing city views, the festival’s impressively varied lineup of comedians will keep the jokes coming for every taste: Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Demetri Martin, Aziz Ansari, Chris Hardwick, DJ Trauma, Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron, Whitney Cummings, among others. Oddball 2014 will include two stages, the Cut Throat Freak Show (a roaming troupe of misfit performers), tasty treats, libations, and more. Presented by the comedy website Funny or Die. Tickets $99 + fees. Learn more.

Highlands Ranch Mansion
Big Band Dance Night at the Mansion
-Sept. 12, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Dust off your dancing shoes and prepare to swing at this unforgettable evening of big band music and dance, featuring the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra. Hosted by the Highlands Ranch Mansion and Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs. Very light appetizers included and cash bar available for beer and wine. Ages 21 and up. Advance tickets $25; $30 day of event if not sold out. Doors and cash bar open at 6:00 p.m. Learn more.

Blues & Brews-Sept. 13, 4pm-7pm
Somehow the blues feel right as we say goodbye to another season of concerts at the BackCountry Amphitheatre. Pack a picnic dinner and listen to the Delta Sonics, a fine Colorado blues act known for solid musicianship and exciting live performances since 1992. Enjoy local brews at a discounted price, take home a portrait by a caricature artist, and bedazzle your kids with free glitter tattoos. Open to BackCountry residents and their guests. RSVP at www. by Friday, September 5.

Pedal the Plains Bicycle Tour
-Sept. 19-21
Whether your bike riding tends toward the hardcore or the lollygagging, don’t miss The Denver Post’s one-of-a-kind Pedal the Plains bike tour. Pedal The Plains invites riders of all abilities to celebrate the agricultural roots and frontier heritage of Colorado’s Eastern Plains. The 2014 tour will venture to three charming communities in Northeastern Colorado: Wiggins, Fort Morgan, and Sterling. Cyclists will taste food grown in the region, learn from local experts, explore points of interest, meet local farmers and ranchers, and try their hand at local crafts and farming techniques. Each evening, riders will trade in their Lycra for Levis and settle into good eats and libations, homespun entertainment, and live music. Learn more.

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