29. Homegrown Hurt
As in locally organized, down-home events. Some, like the Dale Ball Buster, a 13-mile trail run that correspondent Katie Arnold puts on here in Santa Fe, involve no entry fees, goodie bags, or even so much as an RSVP. You just show up. Others, like the Vapor Trail 125, a 125-mile mountain-bike ride—or "celebration of suffering," according to the race director—in the mountains outside of Salida, Colorado, require a bit more organization, but the goal is the same: Go out and have fun.
28. Mountainfilm in Telluride
Still our favorite. Not only does it attract A-list filmmakers, explorers, and journalists—last year we bumped into New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, and this year Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson is on the docket—the laid-back atmosphere makes it remarkably easy to actually meet and talk to (and, ahem, take 2 A.M. shots of tequila with) all the attendees. May 28–31; mountainfilm.org
Buffalo Check Shirt. Wool + plaid = perfection. $90; woolrich.com
26. Wee Mountains
A while back, I was at a party where everybody was making an annoying fuss about this hairy overachiever who climbed K2 last year. I asked him how long it took, and he admitted that, from "training" to "recovery," he'd spent an outrageous five months getting up one lousy mountain. "You know how many mountains I usually climb in five months?" I said. "About 50." He gave an incredulous grunt, so I reeled off a few conquests: Blue Hill (934 feet), in Blue Hill, Maine; Cold Spring, New York's Breakneck Ridge (1,264 feet); the little drumlin on my hippie neighbor's property in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (100 feet?); and dozens of others. The K2 man shook his head and did more grunting—in amazement, I suppose. Though I'm aware many of my fellow mountaineers believe the only worthy summits are those reached with frost-blackened fingers and a bellyful of your frozen friends, I prefer the convenience-size peak. In about the time it takes to do a load of laundry, you can enjoy a moment of windswept victory on a minor crag and return to "base camp" in time to catch your favorite TV show. Not challenging enough? Use my special low-altitude adventurer's diet—half a case of beer and a chicken-fried steak every night before bed—and a scramble up a 400-foot knoll will feel like you've conquered Denali.
25. Cat Skiing
No, it's not as sexy as heli-skiing, but it's a helluva lot cheaper and you're not grounded when it's puking powder. Plus it's suddenly more accessible than ever. Two operations have opened up in the past year in Colorado alone: Powder Addiction (powderaddiction.com), outside of Winter Park, and CS Irwin (crestedbutteguides.com), in Crested Butte.