Watching the Olympic Games in Beijing this winter, it is hard to resist the inspiration to get outside, improve your athleticism, and work on your own physical abilities. With athletes that make the impossible look so easy, the dream of picking up a pair of ice skates and gliding smoothly across the rink is easily crushed, but in Denver, there are opportunities to start winter sports at any age and any skill level. In this article, we will outline the best places and resources to hone your inner athlete and practice the skills you are seeing on the Olympics this winter.

Figure skating

While it is unlikely that an average person will pick up skates and quickly learn to do a triple axel, learning to ice skate, even at the novice level, brings a number of benefits to one’s physical health. Forcing participants to master the art of balance, skating improves stability and coordination while building up strength in the leg and abdominal muscles that are engaged to ensure balance and control. It is also a great cardio workout that increases the heart rate and moves blood around the body. As a full body workout, it benefits flexibility and joint health.

If you’re in Denver, consider enrolling in a course at Denver Ice Programs which runs an Adult Learn to Skate program for newcomers or those looking to improve their existing basic skillset.


With the opportunity to get outside, snowboarding offers great mental health benefits as participants can spend time in the sun and get fresh air even during the winter months. As a full body workout that engages the core in order to provide balance, snowboarding will result in stronger legs, a strengthened core, and a cardiovascular workout that is great for calorie burning and weight loss. Plus, the range of motion required to navigate the twists and turns without falling over means your flexibility will increase and you will improve overall mobility.

Here in Denver, we are so lucky to be right next to the Rocky Mountains which provide the best opportunity for downhill sports. If you are new to snowboarding and looking to get lessons as a beginner, check out Colorado Ski School to find the right program for you.

Cross Country Skiing

For many beginners, cross country skiing is a great alternative and a less intimidating option than downhill skiing. Plus, it is a great social sport that allows you to get outside with friends or family of all ages and abilities. Cross country skiing is great for your health and provides a variety of benefits as it is an aerobic workout that doesn’t stress any individual muscle, but works the whole body at once, elevating the heart rate, and burning calories.

For the best cross country skiing around Denver, check out Ruby Hill Park, the Highline Canal Trail, Roxborough State Park, or Eldora Mountain Nordic Center.