If Gov. John Hickenlooper’s post-election November endorsement of Cheetos and Goldfish as the official snacks of potheads were extended to sports, snowboarding would be the winner by a vertical mile. Michael Phelps may have made headlines when pictures of him hitting a sizable bong were leaked on the Internet, but snowboarder and gold-medal winner Ross Rebagliati was the reason THC was banned from the Olympics in the first place. The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show at the end of this month at the Colorado Convention Center couldn’t be better timed, then, for snow-sports enthusiasts who appreciate a good smoke shack as well.
While there are industry parties spanning the entire week, here are a few suggestions for snow-lovers and ski-industry folk who are feeling a little lost while not strapped to something, hurtling down a mountain:
Southwest Rink (Free, $2 skate rentals)
Skyline Park, 16th and Arapahoe, downtown
While it may not live up to the adrenaline rush of riding some “pow pow gnar gnar” as the kids say, just lacing up some skates and being able to stand for longer than three seconds is one of my biggest thrills. It’s also no Rockefeller Center, as this pop-up rink runs from November to February. However, it is extremely cheap, and watching people take spill after spill is the type of schadenfreude we can all get behind. Show up on Thursday night and take in some Broomball, where coed teams battle to score goals in this skate-less version of hockey. Forming a one-time team is $200, and it is not BYOB (bring your own broom).
Icelantic’s Winter on the Rocks ($52.80 before service fees)
Jan. 31, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
In what’s becoming an annual tradition, the historic Red Rocks Ampitheatre outside Morrison opens for its first show of the year, daring concert goers to brave the elements for the low, low price of $52.80. Sponsored by Colorado’s own Icelantic ski company, this show always brings some of the best in hip-hop, with past headliners including Atmosphere and Macklemore. This year it’s Jurassic 5, and despite not having a major record release since 2006, they continue to sell out venues across the country. 2014 also marks their first return to Colorado since reuniting last year at Coachella. Look for me in the lot for a “safety meeting” before the show commences. Also playing: Ghostland Observatory
Lodo Wellness Center (Prices vary)
1617 Wazee St. Unit B, downtown
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, closed Sunday
The closest recreational shop to the convention center just happens to be the one I recently copped some Bruce Banner #3 from. With a decidedly Asian-influenced waiting area that features lots of rugs and buddha statues plus a cool dog running around when I visited, it’s definitely a chilled-out vibe that was clearly done with some finesse to avoid seeming too dormroom-esque. As I noted, the line wasn’t bad at all when I stopped by mid-afternoon, but the dispensing area has a distinctly “cocaine-factory-in-a-movie” feel to it. A first table has the display herb and a pair of budtenders, while two guys behind them are caught in a seemingly endless loop of filling jars. Thankfully they don’t do it in their underwear, but a pair of gloves would be nice.
Armida’s (No cover)
840 Lincoln St., Denver
4 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
This is THE karaoke institution of Denver, and what business trip would be complete without too much drinking and too little inhibition? There’s serviceable Mexican fare (split the Macho Nachos with a high friend) and cheap draft beers served in mugs that will give your forearms a workout to be enjoyed while your co-workers beg you to join them on-stage for their “Don’t Stop Believin’” tribute. A recently opened second karaoke room is housed upstairs and is great if you’re actually hoping to sing more than a song, as Armida’s packs them in. A hat tip to Casey Garrity — dealer service rep for Spyder — for giving me the down-low on an informal karaoke battle that some of the smaller ski companies arrange, usually on a Thursday or Friday: “It’s ridiculous. People get smashed.” I’m so ridiculously in.
The SIA Snow Show runs Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at the Colorado Convention Center. There will be an on-snow demo/ski-ride fest as well as a nordic demo at Copper Mountain Resort Feb. 3-4. Click here for more info.