Free skiing and snowboarding returns to the Ruby Hill Park rail yard

Even the gear will be free!

Gabe Alhussaini flies off a jump at the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Gabe Alhussaini flies off a jump at the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

kyle harris

Skiing is a rich person’s sport, right? You need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to trek to the mountains, pricey gear, and eye-poppingly expensive lift tickets (and lessons, if you don’t know what you’re doing).

But there are some cheaper ways to ski in the area than a trip to Breckenridge. You can even enjoy winter sports for free, right here in Denver.

After COVID-19 shut down last year’s season, Parks and Recreation is once again offering free skiing and snowboarding at Southwest Denver’s Ruby Hill Park. The park, which has turned out to be one of the city’s most glorious, was once a toxic dump and superfund site. Now it offers some of the city’s best sledding hills and dirt bike tracks, along with the stunning live music venue, Levitt Pavilion.

The rail yard boasts ten rails and boxes for skiers and snowboards of all skill levels.

Assuming the weather stays cold, the rail yard will be open into March. Yep, that’s a much shorter than normal season, but a season nonetheless.

For the first time ever, starting on Feb. 17, Parks and Recreation will be offering free gear to the public — snowboards, boots and helmets — on Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The city will celebrate the launch on Sat. Feb. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with games, music, food and a youth rail jam competition. That will be followed by more activities through this short season.

For those who want a say in Parks and Recreation’s alternative sports offerings, the department is working on its Outdoor Adventures & Alternative Sports Master Plan. Take a break from shredding and tune into a public meeting about the process on Thursday, Feb. 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Zoom.

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