by Newly West
If Old Man Winter decides to bless
the Front Range with some cold weather and snow in the coming weeks, urban
skiers and snowboarders could have a pair of inner-city options for sharpening their
high-country chops without standing in long lift lines, draining the family
budget and burning up expensive gas in the process.
SAVE YOURSELF THE ANGUISH OF A RIDE UP I-70 IN SKI TRAFFIC, and still get your workout in. Denver Parks and Recreation is bringing back Ruby Hill Rail Yard for boarders and skiers, and rolling out a first-time program offering free cross-country skiing at Wellshire Golf Course.
By the time you read this,
crews from Winter Park Resort should be cranking up the snow-making guns in an
effort to lay a boardable base on the slopes at Ruby
Hill Rail Yard at W. Florida Ave. and S. Platte River Dr. in Ruby Hill Park.
Snowboarders will find a series of rails ideal for skill levels from novice to
slope-ready shredders. The average season runs from mid-January to late
February as temperatures allow.
In its eighth season, the
Rail Yard is the result of a partnership between Denver Parks and Recreation,
Christy Sports, and Winter Park Resort: Winter Park provides the rails, terrain
park design and staff; Christy Sports gives free equipment (ski, snowboard and
boot) rentals to the community (kids 8-17 need a permission slip signed by
their parents to be kept on file on site); and Denver Parks and Recreation
kicks in the physical space and support for the youth programs that utilize the
Rail Yard. Last year, Jack In The Box also helped make the Ruby Hill Rail Yard
possible through generous financial support.
Info: the “Outdoor
Recreation” link under “Activities & Programs” at the website: denvergov.org/parksandrecreation.
While Ruby Hill was
envisioned primarily with snowboarders in mind, cross-country skiers will get
their due when free groomed-track skiing becomes available at Wellshire Golf
Course, 3333 S. Colorado Blvd., should enough snow fall to allow for grooming
While a few details
remained to be finalized at press time, Denver Parks officials have arranged
that starting this winter, groomed cross-country trails will be accessible free
to the public at Wellshire when golf operations are
closed and there is sufficient natural snow.
The new program is being
facilitated through a partnership with the Denver Nordic Ski Association (Ski
Denver), Denver Parks and Recreation, and Denver Golf, with financial support
from Devil’s Thumb Ranch. When enough snow falls, Ski Denver volunteers will
groom about three kilometers of trails using Ski Denver equipment, for the
public to enjoy at no cost. In addition to providing another close-in
recreational opportunity, it is hoped the new program will mitigate the negative
impacts of skiers who already ski at Wellshire when
the clouds release good snowfall.
Ski Denver is looking for
interested volunteers to get involved, and can be reached by emailing
Anyone can become a Ski Denver member at skidenver.org – membership dues go
directly toward developing ski trails.