Denver officials, not content with being the only city in the world to offer an urban snowboard park, recently disclosed that they are planning the first-ever downhill mountain bike course built in the inner-city.
Scott Robson, deputy manager for the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, told city council last week that his department was collaborating with Winter Park Resort to construct a downhill dirt obstacle course in Barnum North Park, which is surrounded by neighborhoods with some of the highest crime and poverty rates in the city.
Robson says that young people in these areas might not have access to the outdoor recreation activities enjoyed by their suburban peers. "But we figure that most kids have bikes," he says. Opening next spring, the "skills course" will feature jumps, embankments and platforms of varying degrees of difficulty.
The project is an extension of Ruby Hill Rail Yard, a wildly popular free ski and snowboard course entering its third year in Ruby Hill Park on the west side. Winter Park donated the specially designed rails, boxes and jumps, as well as the snowmaking equipment, in an initiative to bring "multicultural youth" into the traditionally lily white sport. The ski resort is also paying for the construction and maintenance of the bike course, though Robson couldn’t offer any details about the design.
But to get an idea of the possible layout, take a look at the resort’s summertime Trestle Bike Park, which mixes aspects of BMX, Trials and Mountain bike racing. In other words, it won’t be your typical dirt hills. If all goes well the first year, the city plans to move the course over to Ruby Hill Park during the off-season – or on-season, depending on your sport. -- Jared Jacang Maher
Trestle Bike Park
Ruby Hill Rail Yard