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Flatirons Golf Course
5706 Arapahoe Ave.,
Runner-up: Haystack Mountain Golf Course
Honorable Mention: Indian Peaks Golf Course
The Flatirons Golf Course has been around since the 1930s and continues to be the standard for golf in Boulder County. With its reasonable prices, full-service pro shop, picturesque tree-lined fairways and greens that are considered some of the best maintained in all of Colorado, a round at the city-owned Flatirons is almost highway robbery, considering how inexpensive it is compared to many golf clubs. Even on beautiful days, the links aren’t terribly crowded, and even if there is a bit of a wait, there is a large driving range adjacent to the clubhouse, as well as several practice greens to work on your putting and chipping. For the dollar there is no better deal anywhere than Flatirons, and if you don’t believe us, just ask Golf Digest, which awarded Flatirons 4.5 stars and named it one of their “Best Places to Play” in 2007-2008.
ALTERNATIVE HEALTH-CARE PROVIDER
Sheila Liewald, L.Ac., Dipl.O.M / Red Aspen Herbs
1909 Broadway, 303-819-1518 Runner-up: Tyler Stroebel L.Ac. / Mountain Acupuncture Clinic
If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional Western way of treating maladies, Boulder is a fantastic place to be. Boulder residents have been exploring health-care alternatives since long before anyone called them “alternative.” Not only do people come here to get healed, they also come here to learn and to teach. As a result, just about any version of medicine you’re looking for can be found in this town, from acupuncture and acupressure to traditional Chinese medicine to naturopathic medicine. But our readers have spoken, and they say that one practitioner stands above the rest. So, if something ails you or you’re searching for a different path to health, check out the services offered by Best of Boulder™ winner Sheila Liewald at Red Aspen Herbs. In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbs, she is also an Actonics® practitioner. She strives to help her patients achieve the balance that enables good health. So if you’re feeling off-kilter, take a stroll into her office and see if she can relieve your disease.
2525 Arapahoe Ave., 303-440-8019
Runner-up: Swan Lake
Honorable Mentions: Café of Life, Whole Body Balance
Life is difficult. You’ve got to deal with the pressures of your family, your job, car payments, the mortgage, bunions, PTA meetings, bird flu, fear of spontaneous combustion, rush-hour traffic and those annoying pop-up advertisements on the Internet that crash your computer every time you get online. Health problems can build up over a lifetime, and the stress of everyday living often settles in your musculoskeletal system. Especially in your back. Chiropractic medicine is a unique health-care approach that has been in existence for more than a century. It often involves the manual manipulation of the spine and other joints to ease pain and improve overall health. Professional athletes often utilize chiropractic care, as well as individuals involved in difficult physical labor, but the methods can be applied to anyone. The Joint in Boulder, which has gained reader accolades for a few years running now, has a highly trained staff of professionals who provide physical care and therapy for suffering patients. If you have chronic pain or discomfort that your doctor has not been able to alleviate, talk to a chiropractor about alternative methods.
Frequent Flyers Productions
Classes held at the Dairy Center for the Arts
2590 Walnut St., 303-245-8272
Runner-up: Boulder Ballet
Honorable Mentions: Lemon Spongecake Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Nouveau
Boulder is home to the only Aerial Dance Festival in the world, put on by the perennial winner of Best Dance Company, Frequent Flyers Productions. Out of only a dozen or so professional aerial dance companies in the United States, Frequent Flyers specializes in a unique form of low-flying trapeze spectacles. The company, founded in 1988 by artistic director Nancy Smith, has produced Theatre of the Vampires, The New Comic Book Heroes and most recently Straighten Up & Fly Right. The spring 2009 performance includes the artistic use of stilts, fabric, hammocks, invented apparatus and trapeze. The 15-member dance company has performed with Cirque du Soleil and at the Democratic National Convention. Frequent Flyers teaches students of all ages and levels the joy of flying and offers specific community programs for at-risk youth and high school science and math students. Watch out for Frequent Flyers 11th annual international Aerial Dance Festival this August in Boulder.
2590 Walnut St., 303-443-0028
Runner-up: Motion Underground
Honorable Mentions: Alchemy of Movement, Kakes Studio
In the 1984 movie Footloose, Kevin Bacon moves to a small town called Beaumont where the local elders have outlawed dancing. He falls for the preacher’s trampy daughter, and decides to rebel against her fascist father by organizing a senior prom. Toward the end of the movie, he stands up in front of the conservative townspeople and gives an impassioned speech, which concludes with this monologue: “This is our time to dance! It’s our way of celebrating life. That’s the way it was in the beginning. That’s the way it’s always been. That’s the way it should be now.” And then he walks defiantly out of the room.
It’s a cheesy scene, but audiences eat it up because people love to dance. Dancing is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression in human civilization. In fact, it’s so ancient that no one knows when it actually began. Boulder Ballet continues this unique form of artistic communication by putting on some of the most amazing dance performances in Colorado. They have put together a truly outstanding group of dancers and choreographers over the years, and it shows in their productions. But they also offer classes for kids — both girls and boys — and for adults interested in achieving the grace, poise and fitness that come with ballet.
2600 Canyon Blvd., 303-440-0711
Runner-up: St. Julien Hotel & Spa
Honorable Mentions: Sensorielle, Gold Lake
Many people believe that you have to be a rich Hollywood actress or the spouse of a powerful CEO in order have a relaxing day at the spa, but it’s just not true. Over the years, pampering one’s self has gone from being viewed as a luxury to being recognized as a necessity. Everyone goes to spas these days, even if it’s only once in a while. Even if you’re a burly lumberjack, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about taking some time off and getting a nice massage. Essentiels provides an escape from everyday life, offering everything from sunless tanning, butter wraps, and facials to eyelash tinting, waxing and a variety of massage therapies. The spa offers special packages for weddings, as well as a VIP package that enables you to try every treatment that Essentiels offers. And, yes, you lumberjacks will be happy to know that Essentiels also offers services for big guys like you, including the all-important back wax.
24 Hour Fitness
2900 Iris Ave., 303-209-9274
Runner-up: Flatiron Athletic Club
They say Boulder’s all about transformations. Well, it took a little while, but the sad, yawning void once occupied by Albertson’s in the shopping center on Iris between 28th and 30th, occasionally visited by seasonal SNIAGRAB events, did its own makeover with the arrival of a shiny, well-designed 24 Hour Fitness. Rows of treadmills, a full-sized b-ball court, kids’ center, banks of flatscreen TVs, a decent lap pool and a free-weights center quickly sent this state-of-the-art facility to the top of the heap in this year’s survey... which is really saying something in the self-described “fittest city on the planet.” Membership includes access to all the other 24 Hour Fitness centers around the nation (more than 400 of them), which is a nice plus for folks who travel, and the sheer bliss of being able to burn a few calories off at 3 in the morning is an indulgence that only a true cardio-junkie could appreciate. Flatiron Athletic Club, this year’s runner-up, is South Boulder’s long-tenured sweat station. It’s well-equipped, meticulously maintained, well staffed and one of the few places in town with good tennis courts.
Mt. Sanitas Hiking Trail
Trailhead is five blocks west of Broadway on Mapleton St.
Runner-up: Mesa Trail
Honorable Mention: Chautauqua Meadows Trail
Let’s get one thing straight — Mt. Sanitas is not your everyday hike. Though it may be a bit more difficult than most hikes around town, it is well worth the payoff. If you’ve got a few hours, a decent set of knees and plenty of water, the Mt. Sanitas hike can be a perfect trek. Hikers can start the loop downtown, but wind up with a view of the whole city from the summit — not to mention an astounding glimpse of Indian Peaks. For three miles, you can trek up to the 6,863 summit of Mt. Sanitas and not feel the pain and exhaustion of heading out of town to climb a 14er. Dogs are allowed, but in addition you’ll have the benefit of seeing some other creatures. Foxes, deer and coyotes make for good company and help you re-attune your senses to the natural world, which, when you’ve been sitting at a desk all day, can seem terribly far away.
Boulder Community Hospital
1100 Balsam St., 303-440-2273
Runner-up: Foothills Community Hospital
Honorable Mention: Boulder Medical Center
Anyone that has visited an unexpected accident outside of the fair city of Boulder can tell you: “emergency room” and “waiting five hours for stitches” seem to be synonymous. Even though we all would like to be treated immediately — can’t you see we’re bleeding here? — our bogged down health-care system can sometimes make this difficult. But Boulderites are a bit more fortunate than the rest of the country. Perennial winner Boulder Community Hospital consistently proves that top-notch care can be a high priority for a medical facility. And while no one really cares much for trips to the hospital, BCH succeeds in making you feel as comfortable as possible, with friendly staff and an inviting atmosphere. It might not ever be your favorite destination, but for those necessary visits, you can’t find much better.
INDOOR CLIMBING GYM
Boulder Rock Club
2829 Mapleton Ave., 303-447-2804
Runner-up: The Spot Bouldering Gym
There are hundreds of reasons to live in Boulder. But if you are a climber, they all revolve around the same thing: getting up a giant slab of vertical rock. With so many spots in the area to do that, one might wonder why on Earth Boulder would need an indoor climbing gym. We just have one word to explain: winter. And when those cold months are in full swing and snow is covering all the favorite climbing spots, Boulder’s monkey-folk have a favorite indoor gym at which they get their fix. Boulder Rock Club not only offers a spot to get high during the cold, dark months, it also has a weight room, classes, programs, coaching, training and much more. So, even if you aren’t reaching great heights just yet, you can head for the Boulder Rock Club to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be at the top of the first Flatiron.
Boulder Eyes / Dr. Craig Beyer
1810 30th St. # B, 303-554-5855
Runner-up: InSight Lasik
Honorable Mention: Eyecare Center of Northern Colorado
Has this ever happened to you? You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, when suddenly a grizzly bear jumps out from behind a bush and growls at you. In an effort to defend yourself, you punch the grizzly bear in the nose and run away. Later, you find out that it wasn’t a grizzly bear at all but an extremely hairy police officer with asthma. Unfortunately, you weren’t wearing your glasses at the time and couldn’t tell the difference. You are arrested for attacking a policeman. In court, you mistake the judge for a can-can dancer you used to know in Paris and ask her to dinner. The judge sentences you to 300 years in prison, and your life is ruined.
Perhaps this hasn’t happened to you yet. It hasn’t happened to us, either, but we have had the experience of losing our glasses on a backpacking trip and looking like Velma in Scooby Doo while on the side of a 14er. Not good. Glasses fall off, get lost, break and take up space on your face. Not everyone can wear contacts, which can be costly to maintain and replace. LASIK can fix your near-sightedness once and for all. But you can’t trust just anyone with your eyes. When it comes to getting good results with LASIK, the doctor’s experience is known to be one of the most important factors, and Dr. Craig Beyer of Boulder Eyes has been performing LASIK surgeries longer than any eye doctor in Colorado. And with no-interest financing, the operation is probably cheaper than whatever you’d pay in bail money.
Essentiels Spa at Halcyon Days Salon & Spas
2660 Canyon Blvd., 303-440-0711
Runner-up: Massage Specialists
Honorable Mention: Boulder College of Massage
It’s not that your husband doesn’t want to give you an hour-long full body massage; it’s just that he’d rather have sex. What is one to do? Well, for starters, withhold. Then make an appointment at Essentiels Spa for a way better massage than the selfish jerk could ever give you anyway. The winner of this year’s Best Massage vows to surpass your expectations and create memorable moments — both things we doubt your husband has done in a while. And since you work your butt off in every aspect of keeping your lives running smoothly, we figure you probably deserve to be pampered, which is exactly what Essentiels Spa will do. From the moment you walk in the door, you’re greeted by a cascading waterfall, which is intended to remove your cares. The soft music and fragrant aromas, in combination with an extensive array of spa services, are sure to seal the deal and make your muscles melt into goo. And that, we think, might even feel better than sex.
MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL
The entrance to Hall Ranch is on Highway 7, one mile west of Lyons
Runner-up: Walker Ranch
Honorable Mention: Betasso Preserve
Like so many other popular trends in modern American culture, it all started in California in the 1970s. A couple of avid bikers moved to the mountains in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and began to experiment with new types of fat-tire bikes. They would haul their converted cruisers to the top of a mountain and then come flying back down, often risking life and limb in their solitary pursuit of the perfect ride. Eventually, the technology improved, providing mountain bikers with treaded tires, disc brakes, multiple gears and dual-suspension shock absorbers. Today, mountain biking has gone mainstream, and there are millions of people around the globe who are still searching for the perfect ride.
As a mountain community, Boulder has become a mecca for professional and amateur mountain bikers alike. Located between the mountains and the plains, Hall Ranch is a perfect location for those who want to cruise around enjoying the scenery and those who want to get vertical. Not only is the landscape beautiful, the wildlife is also amazing. Just be careful and don’t run over any ruby-crowned kinglets while you’re up there.
Eldora Mountain Resort
Honorable Mentions: Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper Mountain
No surprises here. Eldora has been Boulder’s “local’s mountain” for decades — a fine and fancy ramble up the canyon and a squirrelly climb up the notorious Shelf Road west of Nederland, a relief from the monoxide crawl of I-70 in the height of the season. Eldora’s terrain (longest run: 3 miles) is among the best in the state for smaller mountains, ranging from kid-friendly beginner slopes to the fate-tempting black diamond tree runs off Corona Bowl, and the general vibe there exudes a classic laid-back, altitude-chilled Colorado ski experience. ElDo is big enough to keep the Type A’s testing the outer limits of Newtonian physics, small enough that you’re likely to see someone you know on any given day, and close enough to get home to let the dog out in time. Eldora also features a terrific system of Nordic trails for the level-grounders and quality instruction at every level. Vail clocks in as our runner-up this year, one of the world’s great ski mountains and one of the jewels in Colorado’s ski resort crown. Winter Park/Mary Jane gets its props for great terrain, quality and affordable amenities, the ever scenic run up Berthoud Pass, and the estimable ocean of moguls of its sister mountain, Mary Jane.
MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO
1750 30th St. # 22, 303-938-1275
Runner-up: Boulder Quest Center
Honorable Mention: Tran’s Martial Arts
We’ve all seen the movie. A gang of bloodthirsty outlaws attacks an innocent village. The passive villagers are powerless to defend themselves. The outlaws kill, pillage and generally make a really big mess of things. But then, just when it seems all hope is lost, a lone stranger arrives to save the day. Using his bare hands and feet as weapons, he proceeds to beat the ever-loving crap out of the ruthless outlaws. The outlaws surround the stranger and attack him all at once, but it makes no difference. The stranger easily deflects their pathetic punches and comes out victorious. The end.
In reality, martial arts take a lifetime to learn, and they are more about balancing the mind and body than they are about round-housing the bad guys. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu carries on a long tradition of teaching young and old the art and philosophy of self-defense. Their staff is composed of professionally trained experts in the field, and they are able to teach everyone from beginners to experts. Because you never know when you’ll need to fight off an army of ninjas and save the day.
1801 13th St. #150, 303-247-9932
Runner-up: Avanti Skin Care Center
Honorable Mention: Marianna’s L’Esthetique
Even with the most recent rain and snow showers, Colorado is still lagging behind in terms of its annual precipitation accumulation. And while it might have been a nice break to have had such a mild winter, it’s bad news for our forests — and for your skin. No matter how much lotion you slab on, it seems that our arid climate is on a mission to deplete any moisture your skin might want to retain. Luckily, Sensorielle is here to fight the good fight. A longtime local skin-care favorite, Sensorielle’s main focus is replenishing your skin’s natural moisture — no matter what your income. Though many think that the sensual day-spa experience is reserved for those with an expendable income, Sensorielle operates on a “pay-as-you-can” system, with suggested prices for their services. But their open honor system doesn’t mean they skimp on quality — Sensorielle is all about top-of-the-line products — it just means that they support community enough to extend the organic approach into its company practices, earning them the loyalty and gratitude of many B-dub readers.
Alpine Hospital for Animals
3210 Valmont Rd., 303-443-9661
Runner-up: Gunbarrel Veterinary Clinic
Honorable Mentions: Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Arapahoe Animal Hospital
In many parts of the country, dog is considered man’s best friend. In Boulder, however, dogs are our super ultimate BFF. And cats don’t lag far behind. For small pet owners who think the world of their fur-buddies, Boulder’s Alpine Hospital for Animals is tops. Their staff cares about your pet about just as much as you do, which means that they’ll get the best in care across the board. Alpine succeeds in offering comprehensive services for your pets. This can mean anything from small injuries to surgeries to medicine. But, unlike a lot of animal clinics, Alpine offers alternative approaches, as well. Behavioral consultations and acupuncture are available to help make sure that your animals are getting the help they need in the most holistic way possible. No one may ever be able to understand your BFF in the exact same way that you do, but the vets and staff at Alpine will certainly try.
645 27th Way, 303-497-9642
3280 28th St., 303-440-3930
Runner-up: öm time
Honorable Mention: Yoga Pod
The yoga craze took over Boulder County a long time ago, but it continues to grow rapidly. With more than 20 yoga studios in the Boulder area, there are a lot of options for both the yoga enthusiast and the new yoga convert to choose from. This year’s winner, CorePower Yoga, has two locations with heated, climate-controlled classes. The studio offers CorePower Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, Yoga Sculpt and Hot Power Fusion, providing a little something for everyone. Yoga Sculpt combines hand weights with yoga postures to enhance strength and tone every muscle group. CorePower takes it one step further, taking yoga off the mat in their customized lifestyle programs — the Nutrition Program, Yogi Training and Bootcamp. The programs provide personalized support and guidance to help each person “live an extraordinary life.”
1037 Walnut St., 303-444-3747
Runner-up: Urban Pearl
Honorable Mention: Floyd’s Barbershop
It’s been several years since our friend has had a haircut. Appalling, we know. But she’s scared — and understandably so. You’d understand, too, if you’d seen the last haircut she got. It gave new meaning to the word “butchered.” It was so bad, she even considered purchasing a flowbee (Remember that thing? You hook it up to your vacuum and suck your hair into it for “Fantastic haircuts… Every time!”) Fortunately, we were able to talk her out of that mistake (although, seriously, it probably would have been better than that last haircut). Instead, we said that she should go to the Best of Boulder™ winner for best hair salon, The Parlour. Having served Boulder’s hairstyle needs for more than 14 years, The Parlour has stylists who are experts in cutting, coloring, perming and styling hair. They receive continual training so they’re up on the latest techniques, styles and products. When you place your hair — however much you have — in their hands, you’ll get a great cut and color, with no need for the Flowbee.
Dr. “Bob” Murphy / North Boulder Dental Group
2601 N. Broadway, 303-447-1042
Runner-up: Comfort Dental
Honorable Mentions: Dr. Susan Takemoto, Studio 1 Dental (Dr. Donovan Martin)
In Ancient Egypt, dentistry consisted of yanking teeth out or whittling a piece of lapis or turquoise and cramming it into your cavities. As cool as that may sound, it probably wasn’t very comfortable. Fortunately, what we lack in style we make up for in Novacaine. Dr. Bob Murphy was picked as this year’s best dentist in the county. They say he has a sense of humor that will keep you laughing without the gas, as well as a laid-back manner that can put you at ease more than a Valium. North Boulder Dental Group, where Dr. Bob practices, handles everything from pediatric dentistry to routine adult dentistry, restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. We’re not sure how Dr. Bob would feel about being asked to stick turquoise in your teeth, but you can give it a shot. (No pun intended.)
1670 30th St., 303-447-8844
Runner-up: Tans To Go
Boulder County has more than 300 days of sunshine a year. But for some, that’s just not enough. Those who are looking for a tan in the dead of winter or before they get in a bikini for the summer go to Verdana Sun, this year’s Best of Boulder™ winner for best tanning salon. Verdana Sun has 20 beds, but also offers the custom airbrush tanning for those who are looking for a tan without the aging effects of the sun or orange hands that result from using self-tanners. The salon wins customers over with its small-town service and big-city atmosphere. And, of course, they remain the number one choice of Boulder tanners by offering the highest quality and cleanliness while making customers comfortable in an environment that makes you look good and feel great.
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