Try out a variety of features at Ruby Hill Rail Yard, the free urban terrain park just south of downtown Denver. Photo courtesy Denver Parks & Recreation
by Jamie Siebrase
If you aren’t ready to fork over the cash for lift tickets, or you’re trapped in town on a cold and snowy weekend, grab the family and head to Ruby Hill Rail Yard, where a partnership between Denver Parks & Recreation, Christy Sports, and Winter Park Resort brings the mountains directly to the city.
When it launched in 2007, Ruby Hill Rail Yard was the first free terrain park in a downtown area, says Brittani Hanchett, a spokesperson for Denver Parks & Recreation. Entering its 11th season, Ruby Hill’s urban slopes will draw thousands of folks from across the state eager to experience eight to 10 features that vary in both configuration and skill level.
Winter Park Resort provides the rails and terrain park design, plus the equipment that about 30 Denver Parks & Recreation volunteers use to make snow. “The Rail Yard is weather dependent,” explains Hanchett, but Denver Parks & Recreation anticipates opening its Rail Yard in the first or second week of January. If the weather cooperates, the site will remain open for approximately six to eight weeks.
“It’s a great place for families,” Hanchett says, noting that Ruby Hill Rail Yard accommodates skiers and snowboarders of all ages.
“For our younger residents, this free urban rail yard experience helps them stay active when outdoor activities are more limited during the winter months,” says Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “In many cases, (it) gives them their first exposure to the mountain sports that make Colorado one of the top locations worldwide for skiing and snowboarding.”
No skis? No problem. As the program’s equipment sponsor, Christy Sports provides free ski and snowboard equipment—including helmets—for use at Ruby Hill Rail Yard. Rentals are available Friday through Sunday, and can be obtained at an on-site facility.
If you have the time, pack a lunch, and make a day of it. When the sun’s shining and the weather’s mild, outdoorsy families can ski or snowboard at the Rail Yard then do a few bike tricks at the adjacent Ruby Hill Bike Park, which opened last summer. You’ll find plenty of sledding hills throughout Ruby Hill Park, and younger kiddos can romp around a massive playground located atop Ruby Hill Rail Yard’s anchoring hill.
Check it Out
Inside Ruby Hill Park, located at the intersection of Platte River Dr. and Jewell Ave., Denver
Need to Know
Open daily during normal park hours, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
It’s not often families get a chance to ski at night! For older children, tweens, and teens, Ruby Hill Rail Yard is lighted every day, from dusk until 9 p.m.