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Posts Tagged ‘Front Range’

Let’s take the party outside

by | May 3rd, 2016

Dare we say it? The snow and cold is over so it’s time to celebrate. Because May is such a wonderful (and well-deserved) time in Colorado, you’ll find all kinds of outdoor festivities planned at BackCountry™, Highlands Ranch, and beyond. Sure, that occasional, rogue snowstorm can roll in, so don’t go planting your tomatoes and eggplant just yet. But do plan on hitting a few of the outdoor happenings listed below. Just bring a jacket to be on the safe side.  

Taste of Highlands Ranch-May 6, 6pm-9pm
Eat, drink, and discover your new favorite restaurant. For 21 years, The Taste of Highlands Ranch has brought the community together for food, wine, and fun. Held at the Eastridge Recreation Center, The Taste features sumptuous cuisine from more than 30 area restaurants and all you care to enjoy of wine, beer, and spirits. Savor a cold one outside at the ever popular beer garden with live music. $30 in advance, $35 day of event if not sold out. Must be 21+ to attend. Learn more. 

Cinco de Mayo Festival (Denver)-May 7-8

cinco de mayo Denver

The original inspiration behind Cinco de Mayo is the heroism of the outnumbered Mexican army who fought off the French in 1862. But along with honoring that struggle for freedom, there’s the sheer celebration of Latino culture—from the beauty of dance and music to the fun of Chihuahua races and taco-eating contests. Watch the parade downtown on Saturday at 11am, then make a day (or two) of it by exploring vendor and exhibitor booths and catching live performances.  Learn more.

Five Points Jazz Festival-May 16
Each year since 2004, the Five Points Jazz Festival has treated metro residents to an afternoon of around 40 incredibly talented and culturally diverse jazz performances from across the country: Latin, blues, funk, trios, youth-focused programming, and more. It all happens along Welton Street at eight different venues in the neighborhood. (Five Points was once known as the Harlem of the West, home to several jazz clubs that hosted legends such as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and many more.) Come for the music, food, culture, and fun. Entrance is free. Learn more.

First Film on the Rocks-May 23, 6:30

film on the rocks

Here’s the definition of gilding the lily. Sunset at the awe-inspiring Red Rocks amphitheater. Live concert or comedian. Audience participation contests. And the screening of a cult classic film. Now that’s a delightful evening. This year’s season of Film on the Rocks kicks off with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, preceded by Strawberry Runners and Plume Varia. Doors open at 6:30 pm, bands begin playing at 7 pm, and movies start at dusk. General admission tickets $12; higher on day of show. VIP packages begin at $42. Learn more.

Pool Opens/Memorial Day Celebration-May 27
Come celebrate Memorial Day, the end of school, or just the pleasure of hanging out with neighbors who’ve come out of hibernation too. Located next to the Sundial House, the pool area offers something for everyone with a big pool, splash pad, water feature, lap pool, and lounge chairs. Activities include face painting, games, grilling, and a DJ.

More fun: The best resolution ever.

by | December 30th, 2015

Lose weight. Save money. De-clutter. Yawn. How about a resolution with some real shelf life? “Have more fun this year” is a resolution we can all rally behind, and long past February. (Make your other resolutions, of course, but a few rewards along the way may help you keep them.) Besides skiing and snowboarding, fun activities are a little trickier to find in January—so here are a few suggestions to kick off your happiest year yet.

Winter Cultural Series: Arias and Ensembles-Jan 7, 7pm-8:30pm
Opera Colorado is coming to you, featuring a delightful evening of operatic and musical theater performances at Cherry Hills Community Church, just 10 minutes from BackCountry. Selections will be performed by Opera Colorado’s Young Artists—a talented crew of emerging professional opera singers—just as they would be on stage but without sets and costumes, creating an intimate and engaging experience. Tickets $7-15. Learn more about this and upcoming events in the series.

Highlands Ranch January events

Comedy Night at the Sundial House-Jan. 9, 7pm
What do you get when you cross a bouncer for the Rolling Stones, a veterinarian, and a professional stand-up comic? Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a true Renaissance man, who mines his well-rounded life for lots of laughs. Performing for BackCountry residents at the Sundial House, Dr. Fitzgerald has opened for performers such as Bob Hope, Diana Ross, The Temptations, and The Neville Brothers. And yet he still maintains a busy practice at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital in Denver. All ages, $25 per guest. Space limited to the first 65 residents. Register online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by Monday, January 4th.

National Western Stock Show & Rodeo-Jan. 9-24
Denver may be getting more uber-hip by the minute, but the Stock Show is our annual check-in with our rugged Western heritage—which is pretty cool, too. This 16-day show is a smorgasbord of entertainment and learning opportunities. Choose from rodeos (traditional, Mexican, and African-American), a BBQ Throwdown, Catch-a-Calf contest, fiddle contest, horse shows, livestock exhibitions, and much more. Ticket prices vary.  Learn more.

Princess & Superhero Party-Jan 21, 4pm-5pm
Residents! Hold onto your cape (or tiara): Batman and Princess Elsa are coming to the Sundial House. Which gives your kids the perfect excuse to dress up (again) in their favorite princess and superhero garb. Join us for afterschool snacks and fun, but be sure to RSVP by Friday, January 15 at www.BackCountryLife.org. Open to the first 40 kids who sign up. See a video of last year’s event here.

BackCountry Rapunzel and Spiderman

Southwest Rink at Skyline-through Feb. 16
Free ice skating is a wonderful way to enjoy the season—and maybe assist in another couple of resolutions too. At Skyline Park in downtown Denver, this seasonal outdoor rink invites you to skate, play broomball, and enjoy other activities like face painting, holiday movies, a photo booth, and hot cocoa. Skating is free; rent skates for $2 or bring your own. Free learn-to-skate lessons are offered every Wednesday from 11 am-12 pm and every Saturday 8 am-10 am. Learn more.

September is sneaky. Winterize now.

by | September 22nd, 2015

In September, weather is even more unpredictable than usual. By the end of the month, average temperatures will have dropped 12 degrees. And while temperatures typically soar into the 90s for a day or two, snow shovels can make their first appearance.

If you’re new to BackCountry or Colorado, you’ll want to check out the winterizing tips below. Your beautiful new home and yard require just a little bit of attention this month. Then you can relax, knowing that everything is shipshape for the chilly season that lies ahead.

1) Tidy up your perennials. Colorado’s extreme temperature fluctuations and dry winds can brutalize many of our commonly planted perennials. And, as any long-suffering vegetable gardener will tell you, our first hard frost can land in September—which means that the foliage of most perennials starts to wither this month. If you prefer to remove dead foliage right away, gently apply mulch to protect the plant from the winter elements. (Always remove diseased foliage to avoid the spread of leaf-spot diseases and fungal problems.) Alternatively, you can wait to remove dead foliage in the spring.

2) Keep your plants hydrated. Our winter snows can be heavy and frequent…or irregular and insufficient. Make sure your landscape has the moisture it needs with a layer of mulch that’s several inches thick. Mulch should be coarse and loose, such as shredded leaves, to permit air movement to the roots. Become a mulch expert here. Also, water at least monthly under dry winter conditions. Apply water mid-day, and only when it’s 40 degrees or warmer.

flower bed mulch winterize

3) That goes for your trees, too. If you’re a new BackCountry owner, you should know that new trees are more susceptible to winter drought. Your trees will absorb water best with a slow soak into the soil to a depth of 12 inches. Apply water to many locations under the drip line and beyond, ideally with a deep-root fork or needle. Read the how-tos of tree and shrub watering here.

4) Replace your furnace filter. Even if you’re not turning on the heat yet, you will soon. Be ready for the chill with a nice, clean furnace filter so you can breathe easier and improve energy efficiency. By the way, you should do this every month, since a clean filter minimizes wear and tear on your furnace. Buy a bundle, so you have them ready. Mark the date on each new filter as you install it.

5) Unclog your gutters and downspouts. Naturally you’ll want to do a touch-up after all the autumn leaves have fallen, but cleaning out gutters and downspouts prevents serious damage from trapped rain, snow, and ice. Do it yourself if you’re comfortable, or play it safe and leave the climbing to a pro.

Clear out rain gutters for winter

6) Flush the water heater. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, hindering the unit’s efficiency. Flush the water through the drain valve to clear out the material and keep your heater healthy and long-lived. Because who wants a frigid shower on a cold morning? Watch this how-to video.

7) Rotate ceiling fans clockwise. And you thought ceiling fans were just for summer. Use these smart energy-savers year-round by reversing them in a clockwise direction. That way, fans will push the hot air near the ceiling down towards the floor.

8) Inspect your chimney. New Colorado fireplaces are gas-burning, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the chimney altogether. Critters sometimes move in—which can spell disaster. Call a chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and clean out any hazardous debris.

9) Protect your pipes. Temperatures can get ugly around here fast, so don’t leave your pipes vulnerable to the freeze, thaw, and burst cycle—which can create a world of water damage and icky mold growing.  Weatherproof your plumbing by shutting off the supply of water to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems, and then drain them. (Depending on your irrigation system, you may also need a contractor to blow out any excess moisture with compressed air.) Read more about how to protect your pipes while you’re away from home.

Water heater maintenance

10) Just say no to CO. That is, carbon monoxide. Before winter hits, make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and replace old batteries. If you cook on a gas range, use the fan on your stove hood to vent to the outside and reduce your carbon monoxide exposure. Adjust your burners so you get a nice blue flame; a yellow-tipped flame produces more emissions.

Cherokee Castle & Ranch: A castle for us commoners

by | June 9th, 2015

No trip over the pond planned this summer? That’s okay. Now you can skip the jet lag and still feed your obsession for all things British with a mere 25-minute drive down to your local 15th century Scottish-style castle. Yes, BackCountry residents can easily access this truly stunning blend of European elegance and Western charm—and sample fun and educational events.

This 3,400-acre sanctuary in Sedalia is home to secluded open spaces, wildlife, and 22 historic structures, including the iconic stone castle, a 1920s landmark with echoes of 1450s Scotland. The 24-room castle features towers, turrets, gargoyles, eight fireplaces, soaring wooden arches, and intricate cut-stone walls. Historical paintings, furniture, and other accessories are on display, along with drawings by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. An expansive terrace offers breathtaking views of the Front Range, stretching from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak and beyond.

Photo courtesy of Cherokeeranch.org

Photo courtesy of Cherokeeranch.org

In addition to ogling all the fine art, architecture, and views, plan to take in some of the castle’s countless events. From June to December, a performing arts series features the work of Colorado Symphony Chamber Music, Denver Center Theatre Company, Denver Brass, and the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. Other performances showcase local and regional talent, while additional events include castle tours, fancy afternoon teas, and educational programs that focus on culture and the arts, environmental science, Colorado and Western history and heritage, wildlife, and ranching. Possibilities abound with onsite resources like 13th century Indian caves, an 1840s mountain man trail used by trappers and traders, mid-1860s homesteads, and more. See the event calendar here.

On a castle tour, you can learn about the history of the property, which stretches back to the late 1890s, when it was divided between the Flower and Blunt Homesteads. The land was put to agricultural use then, growing potatoes, wheat, and sorghum, and grazing cattle. In 1924, the castle was built by the Johnson family, who sold the property to Tennessean Mildred “Tweet” Kimball in 1954. (Just one of the place’s many interesting stories…Tweet took ownership of the castle after her ex-husband told her he’d buy her anything as long as she stayed west of the Mississippi.) Tweet lived at Cherokee Ranch until her death in 1999, and thanks to her vision and generosity, the property is now under the watchful care of the Douglas County Open Lands Coalition. Very good news for all of us living south of Denver…and far west of the Old World.  Learn more here.

Foodies, this month’s for you.

by | March 5th, 2015

If there’s one thing everyone can rally around, it’s a good meal. Sure, preferences will vary, but that’s the beauty of this month’s bounty of culinary events, ranging from swanky Broadmoor cuisine to St. Patty’s Day comfort food. Bon appétit, BackCountry!

Broadmoor
Broadmoor Taste & Savor
-March 5-8
What better place to sample ambrosial delights than The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs’ iconic, five-star resort, framed by the majestic Rockies? At this inaugural Taste & Savor epicurean weekend, you’ll rub elbows with acclaimed chefs and beverage experts from around the country, savor gourmet dishes, world-class wine and craft cocktails, and attend seminars and panel discussions. Two- and three-night packages include events, a gala, and brunch starting at $750 per person. Learn more.

ChefLeahAtBackCountryHighlandsRanch
Cooking Class with Chef Leah
-March 10, 6-8pm
Not long ago, local Philippines-born Chef Leah Eveleigh sliced and diced the competition on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. Now this winning chef will be on your team, teaching you to make this Taste of Asia menu: miso soup, shrimp and vegetable tempura, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, and sticky rice with mango. Best of all, you’ll sit down together and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labors. Feel free to bring your own bottle of wine. $50 per person at the BackCountry Sundial House, 6 – 8pm, Residents only; minimum of 12, maximum of 16. RSVP by March 9 through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House.

BackCountryHighlandsRanchStPatricksDay
Adult St. Patrick’s Day Event
-March 13, 7-10pm
Lucky you, there’s a fun St. Patty’s Day party right in your neighborhood at the Sundial House. Join the gang for Irish-inspired food, drink, and toe-tapping music from Ruby Rakes. Don’t forget to wear green for a session in the photobooth! Menu includes mixed field greens with fresh vegetables and balsamic vinaigrette; chicken breast in Jameson Irish whisky cream sauce; colcannon potatoes; Irish heritage cabbage with Irish bacon, nutmeg, and red wine vinegar; and dinner rolls. $15 per person before March 1. After March 1, $17. RSVP through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House.

StPatricksDayDenverParade
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
-Mar. 14, 9:30am
This year’s theme, “Emerald Mile,” captures the close ties Colorado maintains with its Irish heritage. After all, Denver’s parade is the largest this side of the Mississippi, attracting more than 350,000 cheering wearers o’ the green. Enjoy the floats, bagpipers, marching bands, dancers, horses and stagecoaches, and more Irish-themed fun with Western flair. Learn more.

HighlandsRanchEaster
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
-March 28, 10am
Sweet surprises lay hidden for this year’s roving band of Easter egg gatherers, but no hunting is required for the doughnuts and other refreshments kindly provided by Royal Crest Dairy. Beyond enjoying all the tasty treats, children can hobnob with the Easter Bunny and Little Bo Peep, and ooh and ahh over a petting zoo full of furry animals such as rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, donkeys, and a miniature horse. To keep things fun and fair, The Easter Egg Hunt will be broken into three age groups: 3 and under, 4-6, and 7 and up. Children MUST bring their own baskets to collect eggs. RSVP through ActiveNet no later than March 21.

The Quintessential Coloradan’s Bucket List

by | February 23rd, 2015

Our thriving economy is one logical explanation of why people keep moving to Colorado. But really, how many people do we know who came here on vacation… to college… to visit friends and family… and got hopelessly hooked on the state? It’s the natural beauty—and the endlessly fun, associated activities—that just keeps ‘em coming, year after year.

So as a welcome to all the newbies and a refresher course for you natives and long-timers, here’s a selection of “must-do” Colorado activities that capture the flavor of our state across the seasons. If you’ve already checked these ideas off your list, explore a more fine-grained rundown of ideas published in last month’s article in 5280 magazine. And be sure to share your bucket list with us on our Facebook page.

TellurideSkiResortCom
Ski at Telluride

Ranked the best overall ski resort in the US by powderhounds.com, Telluride Ski Resort Colorado Telluride offers stellar skiing and snowboarding far from the maddening weekend pilgrimage on I-70. That’s the beauty and curse of Telluride, of course, as its southwest Colorado location makes it a bit of a hike from metro Denver. But the rewards, beyond the powder, are a unique town with an extra-laidback vibe, colorful mining history, and its awe-inspiring canyon setting with steep mountain vistas. Learn more.

Bike on Independence Pass
Jaw-dropping gorgeous and a wee bit harrowing, thanks to narrow lanes, hairpin turns and dramatic drop-offs, traversing Independence Pass is truly a Colorado rite of passage. Driving the road is a badge of honor all by itself, but biking can take your Colorado cred to a whole new level. Start at Aspen and end at Twin Lakes, and in between, log 37.6 miles and gain 4,187 feet—while taking in magnificent, jagged vistas thick with aspen and evergreen. Open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, due to high altitude and winter road conditions. Check for road closures here.

StrawberryHotSprings
Soak at Strawberry Springs

This destination is the perfect complement to your ski trip or summer vacation in Steamboat Springs, http://www.steamboat.com another must-see destination. Just outside of town, these hot springs clock in at about 104 degrees—a perfect contrast with the literally adjacent, frigid river. (One favorite diversion is to dip, courageously, from one to the other.) These mineral pools are of the more naturalistic type, with rocky, tree-filled surroundings, but there are private massage huts if you want to glam up the experience. Be warned: come evening, clothing is optional. Learn more.

Ogle at Bridal Veil Falls
Let’s say you went skiing at Telluride and fell in love with that charming town. Be sure to go back in summer and explore its many warm-weather pleasures, including Bridal Veil Falls. With a 365-foot drop, these are the tallest free-falling falls in Colorado. It’s a 4.2 mile trek to the top of the falls with a gain of 1,650 feet, so let that inform your decision whether to hike, bike, or four-wheel drive up the road. Learn more.

manitouincline
Quiver on the Manitou Incline

Rare is the hiker whose thighs will not jellify on this incline, the former site of a cable car ride. After a rockslide in 1990, the Manitou Incline was closed and locals started (illegally) hiking up the remaining ties for a lung-searing workout. The incline was officially opened to the public in 2013 and is a popular, challenging hike of 2,741 steps—a one-mile ascent with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Good luck! Learn more.

Learn at Mesa Verde
While Mesa Verde National Park is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, warmer months are a better bet for fully enjoying this national treasure. This park was once the home of ancestral Pueblo people from 600-1300 A.D. who lived both on the mesa tops and in dwellings carved into the rock below. These cliff dwellings are some of the country’s best-preserved. While you’re there, you can explore a variety of cliff dwellings and learn about the Puebloans’ way of life from well-informed park rangers. Nearby camping is also available. Learn more.

georgetownlooprrcom
Time Travel on the Georgetown Loop

This one’s an idyllic way to spend an afternoon with everyone from kids to grandparents. Nose around Georgetown, with its charming historic buildings, and then hop a classic train on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, built in 1884. This three-mile, 1-1/2 hour loop takes you through the mountainous terrain between Georgetown and Silver Plume, another quaint mining town. Options include mine tours, dinner, wine and hors d’oeuvres, and “ales on rails.” Learn more.

So much to love in February.

by | February 3rd, 2015

There’s a lot more to February than Valentine’s Day. And we’re not just talking about Groundhog Day. Thankfully, we found plenty of delightful diversions to get you through this hunkered-down, not-yet-spring stretch, especially if you live in BackCountry. Here are our sweetest suggestions for all: singles, couples, families.

Highlands Ranch Mansion Valentines Day
Father & Daughter Sweetheart Ball
-Feb. 6, 6:30-8:30pm; Feb. 7, 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Daddies, you may think this ball is all for your girl, but you’ll actually be making some of your favorite, heart-tugging memories. (Sadly, dancing with Dad seems to lose its luster during the teen years.) Choose from two nights of dancing and dining at the elegant Highlands Ranch Mansion, where each girl will receive a corsage, a father-daughter photo, refreshments and a special gift. $25 per person; $33 per person at the door, if not sold out. Learn more about 2/6.
Learn more about 2/7.

BackCountry Sundae Lovin Party
Sundae Lovin’ Ice Cream Bar
-Feb. 9
Hey BackCountry tweens, this one’s for you—and your sweet tooth. Head over to the Sundial House and concoct your tastiest-ever ice cream sundae. We’ll provide the goodies; you provide the creativity. Kids ages 9-13 are welcome from 5:15-6:15pm. Open to the first 40 kids. In order to have enough ice cream, residents please register at www.backcountrylife.org by Friday, February 6.

Denver Restaurant Week 2015
Denver Restaurant Week
-Feb. 20-March 1
Why fight the perennial Valentine’s Day crowd? If you just wait a week, you’ll have a whole city of restaurants to explore for the tasty price of $30 per person. Make your reservations now for the 11th annual Denver Restaurant Week, when local (and traveling) foodies enjoy multi-course dinners at a pain-free price. It’s a fabulous way to explore some of Denver’s top restaurants or revisit your favorites. Hundreds of restaurants participate each year. Learn more.

Highlands Ranch Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
-Feb. 21, 12pm-5pm
Happy New Year—again! This celebration may be even more memorable, thanks to dazzling stage performances that include lion dances, folk dances, traditional music, martial arts, and a children’s chorus. An all-afternoon cultural fair will showcase traditional Chinese folk art displays, costumes, crafts, calligraphy and brush paintings, shops and refreshments including dumplings, noodles, and more. Cultural fair 12-5pm and stage performances 1-2pm and 4-5pm. Tickets $7 in advance and $10 day of event, if not sold out. Children ages 0-2 are free on parent’s lap. Held at the Recreation Center at Southridge, Debus Wildcat Mountain Auditorium (map) Learn more.

Show Winter Blahs the Door: FREE Winter Activities!

by | January 15th, 2015

If winter seems to be stretching on a bit too long for your taste, maybe it’s time to shake up your routine. And don’t worry about breaking those “spend less” resolutions just yet, as all of the boredom-busting suggestions below cost absolutely nothing.

Hudson Gardens Bird Tour
Free Day at Hudson Gardens
– Jan. 26, 9am-5pm
While this is a no-brainer destination in the growing season, Hudson Gardens is a beautiful place to explore this time of year, too, from the conifer grove, ponds, and wetlands, to the adjacent trail that runs for miles along the Platte River. Learn more.

Free Day at Four Mile Historic Park-Feb. 6, noon-4pm
Travel back to 1859 at this Denver landmark, where you’ll pan for gold, tour the city’s oldest structure, meet many farm animals, and enjoy a snapshot of frontier life. Learn more.

Denver Mint-Every Monday through Thursday, 8am-3:30pm
Take a free, 45-minute guided tour to learn about the history of the United States Mint and the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins. And don’t miss the gift shop for unique memorabilia. Reservations required.

NOAA Weather
National Center for Atmospheric Research
-Seven days a week
Through exhibits, self-guided tours, and guided tours (held on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon), learn about global warming, the 21st century’s hottest topic. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes, and get an up-close look at how lightning is created. Learn more.

Colorado State Capitol Tour-Weekdays, 10am-3pm
Tour the just-repaired, golden-domed Colorado Capitol Building, which boasts 200 ounces of 24k gold. Stand at exactly a mile high on the 13th western-facing step. Marvel at Allen True’s beautiful murals, the rose onyx wainscoting, and the live shenanigans of Colorado General Assembly. Learn more.

Celestial Seasonings Tea Tour
Celestial Seasonings Tour
-Mon.-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun., 11am-3pm
A 45-minute tour gives you the inside scoop on how the largest specialty tea manufacturer in North America blends, packages, and ships its teas. Prepare yourself for the sinus-opening Mint Room, then enjoy free samples of every variety and discover a gallery of original artwork from their famous tea boxes. Learn more.

Colorado Sports Hall of Fame-Thurs.-Sat. 10am-3pm
Housed on the west side of Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum honors the legacies of the city’s greatest sports heroes, and features the Gallery of Legends, a “Great Moments in Colorado Sports” exhibit, and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado sports. Guided tours are 75-90 minutes and include both the museum and stadium. Learn more.

Best resolution ever? More fun.

by | December 30th, 2014

While there’s nothing wrong with losing weight, saving money, and writing the Great American Novel in 2015, be sure to add some entertainment to your resolution list. A little balance just might make those other goals easier to reach. Kick off the brainstorming with these ideas. Happy New Year!

Stock Show Facebook Page
National Western Stock Show
– Jan. 8-25
If you’ve never been, it’s high time to enjoy the abundant western charms of this iconic show. New events this year include a BBQ Throwdown competition and the CINCH® Super Shootout Rodeo—a battle of the world’s most elite rodeos. Perennial favorites include the lavish Mexican Rodeo, mutton bustin’ competitions (there’s nothing quite like seeing a five-year-old riding a panicked sheep), horse shows, exhibitions of award-winning chickens and steers, children’s activities, and much more. Ticket prices vary. Learn more.

john-crist-greenroom
BackCountry Comedy Night with John Crist
– Jan. 17, 7 pm
Coming to BackCountry’s own Sundial House, award-winning stand-up comedian John Crist has appeared on Live at Gotham and has opened on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers. Crist’s interactive and improvisational skills ensure that no two shows are exactly alike. His edgy-yet-clean comedy has made him popular among fans of all ages. Space is limited to the first 65 residents. $20 per person. Register online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by Monday, January 12.

Adult_Visitors_Lecture_FivePoints
Five Points: The Cradle of Jazz in the Rockies
– Jan. 20, 7-8:30pm
Denver’s Five Points neighborhood has deep connections to the city’s early black history and culture. Through story and song, this special event at the History Colorado Center shares tales from the “Harlem of the West,” which attracted such jazz legends as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong. Led by jazz musician and historian Purnell Steen and his group Le Jazz Machine. Tickets from $6.50-8.50 for museum members; $10-$14 for non-members. Learn more.

BackCountry Highlands Ranch Superhero Party
Superhero & Princess Party
– Jan. 21, 4pm-5pm
BackCountry kids, grab your tiaras and capes. It’s time for some after-school magic at the Sundial House. Come in your best superhero or princess outfit and enjoy a snack and special appearance by Rapunzel and Spiderman. In order to have enough snacks for all, please register via ActiveNet by Friday, January 16. Open to the first 50 kids.

glowga
Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga
– Jan. 24, 5:30pm-7:30pm
It’s like yoga in a parallel universe, where the mellow, vinyasa flow includes upbeat music, black lights, a disco ball, and best of all, cocktails. Bring your own yoga mat, wear white or neon yoga clothing, and don glow-in-the-dark accessories (if you have them) to make the room glow. Ticket price also includes a glow necklace, one glass of wine or beer, and appetizers. Cash bar available. 75-minute, all-levels class. Ages 21+ only. Recreation Center at Southridge (map). Tickets $25 in advance, $30 day of event if not sold out. Learn more.

Gilbert-and-Sullivan-Pinafore
Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore
– Jan. 24 at 7:30pm and Jan. 25 at 1pm
Subtitled The Lass Who Loved a Sailor, this classic comic opera opened in 1878 and was Gilbert and Sullivan’s first international sensation. This lighthearted story of love between the captain’s daughter and a lower-class sailor skewers the British class system, politics, and other timeless topics. Tickets $22-84. Learn more.

Zip up your parka and go!

by | December 22nd, 2014

Macaroni Kid Family Skiing
There really is more to winter than hot cocoa and movies. Yes, non-winter-sporty types, we’re talking to you. When it comes to enjoying winter instead of just enduring it, knowledge is power.

To tempt you out of your bunny slippers and into the chill, let’s start easy, with snowshoeing right here in the BackCountry neighborhood. Did you know that residents can borrow snowshoes whenever there’s 12” or more of snow on the ground? Pick them up at the Sundial House, no charge. All you need is good hiking or waterproof boots. Strap the snowshoes on and walk around the wilderness trails in the snow—and check out all the different animal tracks.

How about sledding? You can barrel down fun hills in the BackCountry neighborhood and at nearby ThunderRidge High School, but be sure to explore this exhaustive list of Douglas County sledding hills and ice rinks.

Southwest Rink Denver
Outdoor skating is (temperatures permitting) just up the road on C-470 at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, at the Streets of SouthGlenn, and, a bit farther afield, in downtown Denver, or at Evergreen Lake, with its beautiful mountain views and free hot chocolate at the lake house.

When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, start with a visit to Colorado Ski and Get Out Skiing for an overview of your options. Many feel that Breckenridge and Copper Mountain offer the best beginner terrain, while others prefer the small size and unintimidating vibe of Granby Ranch and Loveland.

First-time skiers will be wise to take a lesson. Sure, you can save money by letting a knowledgeable friend or family member teach you, but your experience may go a lot more smoothly with an expert. Be sure to dress warmly—which may seem obvious, but there really is strategy involved in staying warm (not overheated) and dry. A cold, wet day can send any newbie running from the sport, so learn more about smart alpine dressing here, and pick up lots of other good tips for novice skiers and snowboarders here.
Skiing Colorado

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