Well, it is only the middle of December, but we finally got that fresh powder and those flurries we have all been dreaming of. For those of you who want a snow-filled adventure but aren’t up for driving up to the mountains or investing in season passes and extensive snow gear, here are the top five places to get your sledding on between Boulder and Denver. Grab a buddy and those summer inter-tubes, x-ray sheets or sleds and get out.
Harlow Platts Park
Where: 1360 Gillaspie Drive, Boulder
Nestled between Fairview High School and the South Boulder Rec Center, Harlow Platts Park may not offer the steepest of sledding hills, but it certainly boasts the best views. The locale offers the scenic panorama of Viele Lake and the breathtaking vista of the flatirons. This one is a fun stop for all you SoBo dwellers and a good place to start sledding with the little ones- smooth grounds, a medium slope and plenty of slip length at the bottom.
Scott Carpenter Park
Where: 1505 30th Street, Boulder
Fun fact, one of Boulder’s prime sledding locations was formerly a landfill. Next door to Scott Carpenter pool, if you are looking to fulfill your need for speed, this hill is your place. With a nice, steep descent this park yields nothing but smooth, fast sailing ending in an ample runoff far from the busy traffic of 30th Street. The top of the hill provides a large, flat standing space for watchful parents or those not participating and simply providing moral support. With free public parking, we recommend first starting your snow adventures here- the east-facing open space is typically one of the first to see snowmelt.
Where: Hanover Avenue & South 46th Street, Boulder
With arguably one of the steepest sledding inclines in Boulder, Tantra Park also expands one of the largest powder terrains- stretching almost the length of a football field. This hill is a great place to learn to ski, board or catch some serious air- some locals have been said to have hit speeds of up to 20 miles an hour. Do be sure to wear a helmet if you decide to slide your way into this snowy autobahn, the bottom of the hill does not have the largest runoff and is lined with trees and a jungle gym that can bode as quite dangerous. Patrons can find parking in the bordering neighborhoods.
Foothills Community Park
Where: 800 Cherry Ave, Boulder
Another Boulder spot with a beautiful backdrop, the Foothills Community Park lies at the base of rolling hills and spreads across 65 acres of open space in North Boulder. The best section for sledding of the park is actually closer to the intersection of 6th Street and Locust Place- a half dome that is traditionally speckled with the erected snow ramps built by the locals.
Ruby Hill Park & Ruby Hill Rail Yard
Where: S Platte River Drive & W Florida Ave, Denver
The best spot in the Mile High City for some weekend sledding mischief, Ruby Hill Park is situated at the crosshairs of West Florida Avenue and Platte River Drive. With the largest designated sledding space in Denver, the park boasts a variety of trails, picnic table areas and a stunning view overlooking downtown Denver. The park upped its game over 10 years ago when they added the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, an urban space composed of eight boxes and rails which can be combined to fulfill all skill levels for snowboarders and skiers. A collaboration between Winter Park Resort, Christy Sports and Denver Parks and Recreation, the three strived to create a free winter adventure space in the confines of the bustling metropolitan capital of Colorado- the first of its kind in the whole country. The terrain is supported by a team of over 30 volunteers who open the space in January of each year. To see more information about the various events they put on, visit Winter Park Resort online.
Jefferson Park Bowl
Where: 2201 Clay Street, Denver
Just a stone’s throw from the Children’s Museum of Denver, Jefferson Park is Denver’s other hot spot if you are in the mood for a more low-key sledding experience. The secluded, tree-lined park has a large run off space and a humble hill incline. The prime sledding zone is on the west side of the park, at the corner of West 23rd Ave and Eliot Street. The locale likely gets its nickname, Jefferson Park Bowl, from the subtle bowl shape that that side of the park bows into. For those of you who tend to be a little more wary of plastic objects zooming over icy terrain and want something a bit more laid back, this one is your go to place.
Honorable Mentions: Chautauqua Park (be sure to ask the rangers what areas are open for sledding on that day), Casey Middle School and Meadow Glen Park.
All photography by Nisa Sedaghat.