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Posts Tagged ‘outdoor activity’

Treat yourself to scary good fun.

by | September 29th, 2016

Good news! It’s officially October. Complete justification for grabbing a few bags of the Halloween candy that’s been on display since August. And after you’ve acquired your sweet stash—which, no doubt, will go untouched until the 31st—use our suggestions below to plan an entire month of monstrously good fun. Venture to places like the Denver Zoo or stay close to home; BackCountry and the south Metro area offer plenty to enjoy this time of year.    

Pumpkin Festival at Chatfield Farms —Oct. 7-9, 9am-5pm

Selecting the perfect future jack-o’-lantern from a 10-acre pumpkin patch is one of many activities to enjoy at the annual Pumpkin Festival at Chatfield Farms. (If you don’t know, Chatfield Farms is the Denver Botanic Gardens’ 75-acre native plant refuge and working farm, not far from BackCountry.) Make a day of it with hay rides, face painting, games, antique tractor exhibits, arts and crafts booths, food, live music, and more. Get lost in the corn maze next door for an extra fee. Complimentary daycare for little pumpkins. Ticket prices range from free (2 and under) to $8. Learn more.

pumpkin festival colorado fall

Haunted Forest Backcountry Wilderness Area —Oct. 21, 7:30pm-10:30pm

Behind BackCountry lies 8,200 acres of wilderness—and one unforgettable evening marked by bloodcurdling fun. If you’re feeling brave enough for a bit of a Blair Witch-style experience, visit the Haunted Forest after dark, where anything could be lurking in the shadows. But first, gather your courage with food trucks, an outdoor movie, live animals, and more. Tickets are for specific hour-long time slots and cost $13 per person. Recommended ages 10+; parental discretion advised. Learn more.

BackCountry Haunted House— October 2, 6pm-9pm

Residents: Take the terror indoors at the 2nd Annual BackCountry Haunted House held at the community’s award-winning gathering place, the Sundial House. This year’s theme is “Walking Dead,” so prepare to be scared—and then to recover with games, prizes, and fortune-telling. From 5pm-7pm, the haunted house will accommodate kids ages 3-9, but from 7pm-9pm, it will become an appropriate fright-fest for tweens, teens, and adults. Please bring an unwrapped toy or cash donation for CASA, advocates for children. RSVP at BackCountryLife.org. Learn more.  

bc-haunted-house-costumes

Boo at the Zoo —Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30, 9am-5pm

For two weekends, the Denver Zoo gets (just a tad) spooky, offering 20 trick-or-treat stations, creepy crawly animal demonstrations, and oodles of family-friendly entertainment. Come in costume and enjoy not only the Halloween festivities, but visits with the zoo’s 4,000+ animals and ogle at the countless towering trees in their finest autumn glory. All activities are included in the price of admission ($12-17; free for ages 2 and under). Learn more.

BackCountry Halloween Hot Spot Houses—Oct. 31, dusk-7:30pm

Another perk of a gated community: worry-free trick-or-treating for your kids. At BackCountry, roving bands of candy-seekers—and givers—relax knowing that only residents are part of the transaction. Beyond that, friendly neighbors provide “hot spots” for trick-or-treaters and their parents to stop and enjoy a hot drink and/or snack, plus a little chit-chat. The HOA is looking for one volunteer on each block to open their garage and provide light refreshments. It’s a sweet way to get to know your neighbors and assess the season’s most popular costumes (will it be Pokémon? Ghostbusters?). If interested in hosting, please contact Christa Dellebovi at cdellebovi@ccmcnet.com by Friday, October 21st.

bc-haunted-house

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 BackCountryLife.org 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

Welcome, National Great Outdoors Month

by | May 31st, 2016

If May was our month to tiptoe outside again, June is our full-on garden party. The time to plan something fun to do in the sunshine each and every weekend. After all June is, by presidential proclamation, National Great Outdoors Month. So, in the spirit of compliance with that executive decree, here is a month’s worth of events to tempt you beyond your freshly greened-up, BackCountry™ backyard—as beautiful as it no doubt is. Plus we threw in a few gatherings happening at our very own Sundial House and outdoor amphitheater, too.

Summer Kick-Off Concert– June 9, 6pm-8pm
It’s not every neighborhood that has its own annual summer kickoff concert. In its own amphitheater. Surrounded by wilderness and breathtaking mountain views. Summer is, frankly, awesome at BackCountry. This year’s concert features island music by the Tropical Coyotes and Mike’s 2 Kitchen Food Truck (bring cash or a credit card). For the kids, we’ll have a talented balloon animal creator and glitter tattoo artist. RSVP details to come, but in the meantime, email your questions to Christa Dellabovi. (cdellebovi@ccmcnet.com)

Colorado Renaissance Festival-June 11-Aug 7
Ren Fest 2016
Huzzah! It’s time once again for all good lords and ladies to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and tastes of 16th century England. And yes, there will be turkey legs. Entering its 40th season, the Colorado Renaissance Festival offers eight weekends of interactive revelry with costumed royalty and peasantry, jousters, jugglers, artisans, and minstrels. Enjoy hearty fare and multiple stages of performance. Held at Perry Park in Larkspur. Adult tickets $20.50; children $9. Learn more. 

Cherry Blossom Festival-June 18-19
It’s pretty cool that a city of Denver’s size has such a vibrant Asian community. You’d be remiss not to celebrate all things Japanese at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.  Their long list of events includes traditional Shigin singing and poetry chanting, dance, Taiko drumming, bonsai demonstrations, beer gardens, and a lively Saturday night performance by the Cheapsuits with special guest Danny Yamamoto. And the food, of course, will be worth the trip, including favorites such as sushi, somen, panko dogs, and teriyaki chicken. Held downtown at Lawrence and 20th and inside the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple. Learn more.

Geeks Who Drink Trivia Night-June 24, 7pm
At last. It’s time to make use of all that useless information floating around in your head. Back by popular demand, this evening of adult beverages and friendly competition allows neighbors to show off their trivia prowess. Geeks Who Drink is a Colorado-based company that hosts these highly entertaining bar trivia events throughout the nation. Gather up a team of friends and neighbors, bring your thinking caps, and savor the challenge—plus snacks, of course. RSVP through ActiveNet by Friday, June 17. Participants must be 21+. Email Christa Dellabovi at cdellebovi@ccmcnet.com with questions.

Highlands Ranch Music Arts Festival-June 25-26
Highlands Ranch concert
Our metro area is home to many talented musicians. And many of them will be coming to play at Civic Green Park in Highlands Ranch. Lucky us. Bring your lawn chairs for two days of performances in blues, jazz, country, and more. Bring your cooler, too, or make it easy on yourself and enjoy food and drink—as well as arts and crafts—supplied by local vendors. No dogs, please. Learn more. 

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.

The family that plays together…

by | December 3rd, 2015

It’s true. Nothing brings a family closer than an impromptu pillow fight, game of hide-and-seek, or a side-splitting round of Apples to Apples. Happily, December holidays give us more time for the blissfully nonproductive, unrushed moments that we all crave. Whether your family’s traditions tend toward baking cookies or shredding moguls together, we’d like to suggest a few more fun activities, ranging from downtown to right here in BackCountry.

9News Parade of Lights-Dec. 4 at 8pm and Dec. 5 at 6pm
Scrooge himself couldn’t resist cheering on the festive floats at Denver’s most classic holiday tradition. In its 41st year, the Parade of Lights winds its way through two miles of Downtown Denver streets, starting at the City & County Building. This free holiday spectacular features marching bands, ornate floats, and a special appearance by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa himself. Stake out your own spot or reserve limited grandstand seating for $16-19 here or call 866-461-6556. Learn more.

parade of lights

Hanukkah Begins-Sunday, Dec. 6 (sundown)
The large, active Jewish community in the metro area is bursting with ideas for celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah. Bring your family to a yummy Latke Taste-Off at Temple Micah on Dec. 5. The wondrous Festival of Lights (this year in Boulder), presented by the Colorado Hebrew Chorale, is on Dec. 6. And a heartwarming community Menorah Lighting is coming up on Dec. 9.

Cookies with Santa-Dec. 12, 9am-1pm
Holiday headliners are coming to the Sundial House: Santa, Mrs. Claus, and an elfin sidekick too. At this annual tradition exclusive to BackCountry residents, children can share cookies and Christmas wishes with these holiday celebs. Don’t forget your letters for Santa, wish lists, and cameras. Cookies and refreshments will be provided by Royal Crest Dairy. To minimize wait time, residents whose last names begin with A-L are welcome from 9am-11am, while those with a last name beginning with M-Z should plan to come from 11am-1pm. RSVP by Friday, Dec. 4th at www.backcountrylife.org.

santa and cookies

A Christmas Story, The Musical-Dec. 16-27
If you already know about the leg lamp, frozen flagpole, and “you’ll shoot your eye out!” from the 1983 movie, you’re sure to enjoy the musical version, direct from Broadway. Nominated for three 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the play is set in 1940s Indiana, where a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one desperate wish for Christmas: an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot Range Model air rifle. At the Buell Theatre. Ages 4+. Tickets start at $25.

A Night in Vienna-Dec. 31
After all that family time, how about a New Year’s Eve for just the two of you? Sit back and enjoy a Viennese-style concert of polkas, waltzes, and marches performed by the Colorado Symphony at Boettcher Concert Hall. Afterwards, stroll hand in hand down to the 16th Street Mall for fireworks and still be home to BackCountry long before the clock strikes midnight. Tickets from $29-$89.

 

Good stuff for guys at BackCountry

by | October 29th, 2015

Ok, let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. BackCountry is wonderful for both genders. And of course, men and women like plenty of the same things. But are there aspects to BackCountry that men seem particularly to like? Definitely.

Hop onto one of BackCountry’s trails and you’ll probably run into several of the community’s very active bikers. The in-neighborhood trails connect to trails within the South Rim, the community’s private wilderness of 467 acres, and then to 26 miles of challenging trails within the greater acres of the Backcountry Wilderness Area. Bikers never get bored here. As resident Craig Wilmes says, the trail systems “are very well-maintained and offer various degrees of difficulty from ‘not-too-bad’ to ‘that was really hard.’” An avid biker, Craig hosted a community bike clinic in August and encourages fellow bikers to join him and a group of fellow riders each Saturday during seasonable months.

BackCountry Colorado south rim

And while we’re on the topic of the Backcountry, some residents have enjoyed taking advantage of the Highlands Ranch-organized activities there, such as archery, camping, and hunting deer, elk, and wild turkey. Best of all, these activities, like the Backcountry Wilderness Area itself, are limited to Highlands Ranch residents to prevent overuse.

Six years ago, BackCountry resident David Angard organized the very first BackCountry Golf Tournament as a way for residents to get to know each other. This annual charity fundraiser, held at the Highlands Ranch Golf Course, is still going strong. Prizes, lunch, and game rehashing are always part of the fun.

Another resident, Doug Teague, put together a basketball team, the BackCountry Coyotes, that plays in the Highlands Ranch Men’s Sunday Night 35+ League. Doug says he’s met a “ton of great people from BackCountry” and is “always looking for good players and beer drinkers to join the team.” If you’re interested, contact Doug at dougt@csmdirect.com

BackCountry biking Colorado

Two other man-friendly options are monthly Cigar Nights and Poker Nights. Cigar Nights typically rotate between host homes, and include cigars, drinks, food, and conversation (women and non-smokers attend too, by the way). For more information, contact Tommy Yionoulis at tommyycomic@mac.com. Poker Nights are just getting off the ground, so contact Howard Wolsky at hwolsky@gmail.com if you’re interested.

Gents, here’s the bottom line: between the abundant, outdoor activities and active, highly social residents, BackCountry is an excellent place to be—dude or not.  

Fall. It’s more than pumpkin spice lattes.

by | October 8th, 2015

Finally, the days are cooler, the leaves are changing, and so are the coffee flavors at Starbucks. Life is good. But if all that is not enough for you, here are other ways to enjoy the month, including Halloween fun that goes beyond answering the door with a bowl of Skittles. So get out there and revel in one of the months Colorado (and BackCountry) does best.

BackCountry Colorado Halloween pumpkins

Honey From a Hive-Oct. 13, 2-3:30pm
Ok, so the bad news is that all your tasty homegrown tomatoes are gone. But the good news is that it’s now time to harvest honey. (Fun fact: It takes two million flowers to make one pound of honey.) Join Highlands Ranch’s resident beekeeper for an engaging program about honeybees, how they make honey, and how they do their crucial job of pollinating flowers. You’ll taste honey from different areas and meet some of these hardworking bees. For all ages. Residents $10, nonresidents $12. Group rates of $6-7 for three or more. Held at Metro District Parks, Recreation & Open Space Service Center, 3280 Redstone Park Circle. Register here

Denver Zombie Crawl 2015-Oct. 17, starts at 9am
Zombies on a screen just can’t compare with those in the flesh—or perhaps, remnants of flesh. Just in time for Halloween, the “largest zombie gathering in history” will get your heart racing one way or another as zombie hordes run, walk, or crawl around downtown Denver solving clues and reaching checkpoints along the Organ (yes, Organ) Trail for cash prizes.  Part Amazing Race, Fear Factor, and haunted house, the event also includes music, games, a parade, and after parties. Free and open to all ages, but do bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Bank of the Rockies. Please register so organizers can get an accurate count and set the world record. Held at Skyline Park. Learn more.

Denver Zombie Crawl Organ Trail

BackCountry Haunted House-Oct. 22, 5pm-9pm
Everyone’s favorite place to hang out will take a turn for the terrifying when the Sundial House transforms into BackCountry’s first-ever haunted house, complete with ghosts, witches, werewolves, prizes, games, fortunetelling, and more. From 5pm to 7pm, the haunted house will be designed to accommodate kids ages 3-9, but from 7pm to 9pm, it will become a scare-zone fit for tweens, teens, and adults. Please RSVP at backcountrylife.org by October 16.

Trick or Treat Train-Oct. 31, 10am-4pm
Not only is the Colorado Railroad Museum a safe place to take the kids trick-or-treating, it’s a wonderful spot to while away a morning or an afternoon. Catch a ride behind a historic locomotive in vintage passenger cars hosted by costumed conductors. At special stops you can fill your treat bags, visit a not-so-spooky haunted railcar, the Olde Railroaders “graveyard,” and a pumpkin patch for a cute photo op. Museum members and children under two are free, $5 for ages 2-15, $15 for adult, and $10 for seniors over 60. Learn more.

trick or treat train

BackCountry Halloween Hot Spot Houses-Oct. 31, dusk-7:30pm
BackCountry is known for its friendly ways, and here’s one more example: neighborhood “hot spots” for trick-or-treaters and their parents to enjoy a hot drink and/or snack, plus a little chitchat along the way. The HOA is looking for one volunteer on each block to open their garage and provide light refreshments. It’s a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors and see all the spooktacular costumes. If you’re interested in hosting, please contact John Lyon at jlyon@ccmcnet.com by Friday, October 23.

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 http://backcountrylife.org 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 www.backcountrylife.org 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.

backcountrywildernessarea

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 www.backcountrylife.org 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.

July events: Pick a festival, any festival

by | July 3rd, 2015

With reliably warm weather, July is the quintessential festival month here in Colorado. Which ties in nicely with the celebratory mood the Fourth puts us all in. While you’ll find wonderful festivals to explore all over the state, there’s no need to travel given this perfect lineup of events in our own backyard.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival-July 3-5
It’s hard to imagine Denver without it, but it was 25 years ago that the Cherry Creek Arts Festival made its grand debut. (Today it’s ranked #1 among the nation’s art festivals, drawing in 350,000+ visitors each year.) This year celebrates that anniversary with an opening gala, daily anniversary cake, and surprise performances, along with the regular joys of purchasing and admiring the work of acclaimed artists, boogying to live music, eating delicious food, and trying your own hand at a community mural.  Held in Denver’s Cherry Creek North Shopping District. Admission is free. Learn more.

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

Colorado Black Arts Festival-July 10-12
Immerse yourself in three days of art and culture presented by the creative talents of local, regional, and national African-Americans. With a theme of Rock Steady, this 29th annual festival invites you to enjoy two stages of jazz, blues, reggae, gospel, traditional African drum, and dance performances; watch the family-favorite Boogaloo Celebration Parade; stroll the Watu Sokoni (People’s Marketplace); go on a cultural scavenger hunt; and “rock steady” in the streets, dancing to the music of one of Denver’s hottest DJs. Held in historic City Park. Free. Learn more.

Colorado Black Arts Festival

Patriotic BBQ & Country Music Concert-July 11, 5:30pm-8:30pm
Pumpkin seed spittin’ and lasso jumpin’ are just a few of the antics planned for this favorite event at the BackCountry Amphitheatre. Headlining the evening is Chris Daniels & The Kings, one of Colorado’s hottest country rock bands. Buffalo Bill, a uniquely talented cowboy, will preside over the spitting and lassoing contests while teaching rope tricks, too, and a “branding station” will affix some glittery tattoos. BBQ is available: adults $13, kids $6 each. Please order meals online through ActiveNet or at the Sundial House by July 6.  If you plan on attending but not ordering a meal, please RSVP at backcountrylife.org.

4th of July at BackCountry

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival-July 18-19
Here’s a feast for the senses! Held at Sloan’s Lake Park each year, this Asian festival features dragon boat races between 53 teams. (A 2,000-year-old tradition, dragon boating is a sport that happens all over the world now.) Five stages offer 100+ music and dance performances honoring various cultures and, of course, authentic Asian food vendors, including one who won an Iron Chef Competition on the reality show Cutthroat Kitchen and two more currently showcased on the Food Network. Learn more.

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

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