Ruby Hill DenverOver the past nine years, thousands of kids and adults in the Denver area -- and a few with layovers in the Colorado city -- have only to go to a metro park to get their shreddin’ jones satisfied. This season is no exception.

The original free urban terrain park, Ruby Hill Park Rail Yard opened Jan. 10 – the earliest ever – with ample manmade and natural snow base. A project of Denver Parks & Rec, Winter Park Resort and Christy Sports, the cluster of park features sits on high ground on Ruby Hill just southeast on downtown Denver.

“Thanks to Ruby Hill, those who might not have the means to come to the mountains can still experience the thrill of skiing and snowboarding,” Winter Park’s Steve Hurlburt told SnoCountry.com. ‘”Hopefully, it creates more fans of the sport who wouldn’t otherwise be.”

All participants can hit the jibs from dawn to 9 p.m. – the normal city park hours – as the park has lights for evening shreddin’. Helmets are highly recommended.

On Fridays evenings, and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays, representatives of Christy Sports are on hand to rent out snowboards and skis to youths ages eight to 17 for free, as long as a parent or guardian is present.

The terrain park has eight boxes and rails configured for beginner, intermediate and advanced shredders.  Organizers, which include some 30 volunteers who help maintain the park, also run events and contests at the park.

Since the Denver terrain park opened, dozens of cities across the United States have followed suit. Proponents say they not only introduce the sport to folks who might not have the wherewithal to get to the mountain resorts, it also provides an off-season companion for skateboarding.

Photos: Denver's Ruby Hill is ideal setting for urban terrain park as lights of Denver sparkle (Ruby Hill Rail Yard/Facebook); Urban terrain parks like this one in Denver are sprouting up across the country (Ruby Hill Rail Yard/Facebook)

Ruby Hill terrain park Denver