SkateStart owner Patrick O'Toole started his skating career as many people do: by falling down constantly while skating a faulty board. He wanted to spend time with his skateboarding cousins, so his father bought him a generic, unresponsive deck from a big-box store. It barely rolled and always cancelled their playtime last minute to watch soap operas. His junky equipment and lack of knowledge kept him from keeping up with his peers. It wasn't until his father surprised him with a safe, professional skate set that his cousins finally slowed down and began teaching him the ins and outs of thrashing cement waves.
Now in his 20s, Patrick makes it his professional mission to teach the next generation of skaters the proper techniques they need to enjoy the sport. He and his team of certified instructors use his patent-pending skateboard system that shows beginners where to place their feet to push off, perform an ollie, and avoid tripping a board's self-destruct countdown. In addition to imparting fundamental skills, their lessons also build up the confidence necessary to tackle more complex maneuvers.
Nature meets the city at CommonGround Golf Course. As golf balls crest through the air, the verdant Colorado Front Range and the steely Denver skyline both stand proudly behind the 18-hole terrain. A lengthy undertaking at 7,229 yards from the back tees, the course was designed by architect Tom Doak—former student of the legendary course designer Pete Dye and creator of four courses currently listed among Golf Magazine’s top 100 in the world. Mr. Doak installed four sets of tees so that players of all skill levels could navigate the densely lush fairways, putt on the carpet-like greens, and sketch loving portraits of him into the frequent bunkers.
Alongside the 18-hole championship course lies the nine-hole par 3 course, a testament to CommonGround’s commitment to growing the game. Youngsters will enjoy the kid-friendly length, with holes averaging a shade over 100 yards.
Stretching across 6,609 yards of verdant, tree-lined grounds, Eagle Trace Golf Club offers a challenging but fair course for links-loopers of all abilities. Tickle the sweet-spot of your driver to send dimpled spheroids into the stratosphere and through the grassy midsection of the course’s kempt fairways, evading on-course impediments including five lakes, 65 sand traps, and 12 disoriented jurors known for claiming wayward orbs. With majestic, native cottonwood trees peppered against a peeper-pleasing backdrop of Rocky Mountain vistas, the par 72 course’s scenic surrounds temper more trying elements such as the slick bent-grass greens that make for hard-to-read putts and fine-print chips. An obedient golf cart is included to help duos track down slices and snap-hooks while preserving their energy for tearing divots and smashing wedges.
As a teenager, Master Mauricio Zingano studied under members of Brazilian jujitsu's founding family, the Gracies, including Grand Master Helio Gracie himself. Nowadays, at Zingano Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he and his seasoned staff—which includes his wife, UFC fighter Cat Zingano—relay the Gracie family's teachings to students young and old. Although their main program is Brazilian jujitsu, they also fit mixed martial arts, muay thai kickboxing, and youth martial arts classes into the jam-packed schedule.
Golden Bear Bikes is an outdoor sporting store that caters to myriad biking needs––housing a bundle of bike apparel, tools, and accessories, as well as offering various tune-up services. Rainy-day riders can shield themselves from cloud tears and exploding soy-sauce packets with the water-resistant Bontrager Clearly Seen rain shell ($34.99), and bodybuilding bikers can comfortably curl their pedal-propelled road ponies with a pair of Gore Bike Wear Countdown Summer lady gloves ($39.99). A quick tune-up ($55) adjusts the front and rear brakes and derailleurs, lubricates the cables and drivetrain, checks the ball bearings, and ensures cycles roll smoothly over inconveniently placed birthday cakes.
LA Boxing’s four fight-centric Denver-area gyms ditch the polished look of wood-floored workout studios for gritty, competitive spaces filled with 150-pound punching bags and intense workouts. Like a baker molding gingerbread men, LA Boxing sculpts six-packs with boxing, kickboxing, and mixed-martial-arts classes. Although instructors and students agree that the gym’s atmosphere may enkindle intimidation in first-time attendees, most experience boosted self-confidence after conquering their first class. Private training sessions further stoke courage with workouts that leave patrons with the exhilaration of having survived 12 rounds in the ring or five minutes in a high-school lunchroom.