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May 2015 • Online Edition

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Ride The Rails At Ruby Hill And The Trails At Wellshire | Print |  E-mail

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 activities.

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Anyone can become a Ski Denver member at skidenver.org – membership dues go directly toward developing ski trails. 

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