Spring is in full swing, bringing many folks around Colorado out of the doldrums of winter with the promise of outdoor recreation.
For folks who aren’t fans of “traditional sports” — think baseball, basketball, football, soccer — there are plenty of unique, exciting alternatives throughout the Centennial State. From roller skating to parkour, there is no shortage of variety in Colorado’s recreation options.
Roller skating, roller hockey and roller derby
Roller sports are alive and well in Colorado. Folks have quite a few options for activities revolving around wheeled feet; from roller skating to roller hockey to roller derby, there is no shortage of options.
Roller skating lovers have a plethora of skate parks in the metro area and can get all of their gear — and some lessons — from the newly-opened Denver Skates Shop in Arvada. The store provides fittings and skating lessons for folks ranging from novices to experienced park skaters.
Brina Wyss, a sales associate and coach at Denver Skates Shop, said that roller sports experienced a surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic that’s since died down, but has nonetheless roughly doubled the community’s size.
“I think there was a big surge in interest in wheels and skating during the pandemic, but it was a trend” Wyss said. “I people had a lot of spare time and were looking for something active to do. The community has definitely grown at least twice as much during the pandemic.”
Wyss participates in roller derby, which is played at the professional and recreational level in Colorado. Wyss said the competitive nature and team atmosphere of roller derby came to be a replacement for volleyball, which she played competitively growing up.
“A lot of people do (skating) for joy and exercise,” Wyss said. “I do it as a way to escape, and it’s also a great way of community meeting.”
Denver Roller Derby operates a large number of recreational and traveling teams and has opportunities for new players.
Folks looking for a non-contact alternative to ice hockey might find roller hockey appealing — Skate City operates rinks in Arvada, Westminster and Littleton that offer roller skating and hockey, while Rocky Mountain Roller Hockey operates youth and adult leagues out of the Foothills Fieldhouse in Lakewood, and the Parker Fieldhouse also hosts youth and adult roller hockey.
Ultimate frisbee/ disc golf
Frisbee sports have come into favor in Colorado recently — a semi-professional ultimate frisbee team kicked off their inaugural season in Golden this month — with two main ways to play.
Ultimate frisbee resembles American football in that teams must complete passes in an end zone to score points. As the name suggests, disc golf resembles “traditional” golf, but is played with a disk instead of a ball.
The Denver Summer Ultimate League is the oldest ultimate frisbee competition in the state, and just finished registration for its 2023 season.
Disc golf fans may find more frequent playing options. In Arvada, the Johnny Roberts Disc Golf Course and Birds Nest Disc Golf Course both operate at city parks. Colorado Christian University operates a disc golf course in Lakewood, and Foothills Parks and Recreation operates the Fehringer Ranch Disc Golf Course in Morrison.
For those looking for a more secluded experience, the Wondervu Disc Golf Course in Golden is considered to be one of the most scenic — and challenging — courses around.
According to gym owner Lorin Ball, the definition of parkour is simple: “Using environment to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.”
Ball is the owner of Flow Vault, a parkour and ninja warrior — yes, American Ninja Warrior — training gym in Thornton. Flow Vault opened in 2008 and offers classes to people ages 5 and up. His gym has even graduated some ninja warriors to the popular NBC show.
“It’s a full curriculum, similar to that of gymnastics, where you have different levels of progressions,” Ball said. “We’re training people to be more intentional with their movement and apply that to other sports or physical activities that they do.”
Other parkour gyms in the area include APEX Denver, Path Movement in Littleton and Ninja Intensity in Parker.
Finally, Colorado has no shortage of aerial adventure options. Ropes courses and adventure parks are plentiful in the Centennial State and are often and family-friendly way to recreate uniquely.
The Colorado Adventure Center is based in Idaho Springs, The EDGE Ziplines and Adventures is in Castle Rock, and the Treehouse Adventure Park is based in Bailey.