Concrete Jib-Yard

The city of Denver is taking it back to the concrete streets. Over the past few years, the Ruby Hill Rail Yard has shattered the mold for urban skiing and set the bar for other cities around the country. Did we mention it’s free, and it opens this weekend?
Publish date:
Ruby Hill

Establishing a model sure to be followed by many cities in the near future, Ruby Hill Rail Yard is a free (yup, free), urban terrain park located in Denver’s Ruby Hill Park, which makes it possible for people who might not otherwise get on snow to ski. Because, in case you were wondering, skiing is expensive.

In preparation for last Saturday’s opening, more than an acre of snow has been pumped into the park in the last few days and final grooming touches are being made by Winter Park Resort, which also provided rails, design, and crew.

“With Ruby Hill Rail Yard, we are excited to again be able to bring the mountains to the metro area. Skiers and riders can expect a different layout this year with an additional rail and a lot of snow,” said Bob Holme, terrain park and youth marketing manager at Winter Park Resort. “The conditions are perfect, we have more snow than we have ever had.”

The Rail Yard is more than just an urban oasis for park rats. Denver Parks and Recreation will offer youth programs and free rentals throughout the winter. “Our vision is to continue to grow the sport and to offer a terrain park experience to those who may not have access to the mountains,” Holme says. Ruby Hill is funded, and manhandled into existence by volunteers, private donations, and partnerships with companies like Christy Sports and the Snowboard Outreach Society.

Eliminating nearly every excuse not to go skiing, the city has seen a great response from the park in years past, which makes us excited for the future.

The city of Denver has announced the opening of the Rail Yard at the intersection of Platte River Drive and Jewell Avenue this Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.


The Ruby Hill Rail Yard will be open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. through the end of February, weather permitting. Freeski and snowboard rentals will be available for kids ages 8 to 17, beginning January 14, 2010 with the following schedule:

Fridays: 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturdays: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sundays: 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more info check out:


Craig DiPietro, Somewhere between Keystone and Breck

The Hillbilly Haute Route

Who can afford to ski the real Haute Route during a recession? What we need is a domestic version, a tour connecting, say, nine ski areas in Colorado. It’s out there for any mountain yokel willing to hoist a heavy pack, bribe snowmobilers, and break trail where trails aren’t meant to be broken. It starts in luxury and ends with nearly rotten mayonnaise—conditions permitting.

19.  Copper Mountain, Colorado

Copper Mountain

Unlike many resorts in the area, enjoy free parking and a shuttle to the base of the hill. Get there early for first tracks—the bus runs starting at 6:30 a.m.

Barenaked Ladies

Vail Snow Daze

EVE 6 and a few other more well known bands, like the Barenaked Ladies, are playing free shows in Vail this week and weekend.

Contrary to popular belief, even on a completely bluebird day in January atop the highest lift in Vail, you’re not getting vitamin D from the sun. Vail, or any other ski hill in North America for that matter, is too far above the equator to receive the type of direct sunlight needed to create vitamin D during the winter months. Which is a bummer because this recently popular “sunshine vitamin” plays a key role in boosting the immune system. In particular, it triggers and arms the body's T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. Last year, scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses, and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. Vitamin D can be obtained through the diet, though very few foods naturally contain it. The foods that do include fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs. Smaller amounts are found in meat and cheese. A person’s vitamin D status is determined by measuring the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood serum.  Current lab ranges are 30-80 ng/mL, though most functional healthcare practitioners recommend levels be at least 50 ng/mL - even higher in some cases. Though the RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU/day of vitamin D, most health experts are suggesting closer to 5,000 IU/day for optimal immune function. So to up your chances of not getting sidelined by a cold or flu this ski season, be sure to follow these three guidelines. That way you can spend your “sick days” skiing.  

Inside Line: Mary Jane & Winter Park

Mary Jane—named for a mining-era lady of the night—and its sister area, Winter Park, offer plenty of prospects for good skiing, including bumps and powder-filled bowls. Forming one of the closest major resorts to Denver, the two areas spread across five mountains and 3,078 acres. Add 3,060 feet of vertical, 30 feet of snowfall, and a direct train from Denver and it’s no wonder why the Front Range packs the place on Saturdays.