Young and old hit the Ridge

Madison Willey's skis each look to be about 3 feet in length.

This is her first season out here, says her father Chris Willey of Rotterdam.

"We were here this past Wednesday, so it's her second time out so far."

Madison Willey is 2 years old. She is dressed in a pink ski jacket and pullover cap and she glides slowly on her skis as her father holds her shoulder.

This is a common scene at Rotterdam's Maple Ski Ridge where the motto is "Ski Close, Ski Often."

As the only ski and snowboard park in the Capital District, Maple Ski Ridge has been the home of area skiers and snowboarders for more than 40 years, and continues to give children who are new to the sport, like Madison, a chance to learn the ropes before moving on to other out of area, and more difficult slopes.

But Maple Ski Ridge isn't only for beginners. For experienced winter athletes like Matthew March, 12, a snowboarder, Maple Ski Ridge is like a second home.

March frequently goes snowboarding after school and he makes it a high tech affair. Equipped with a small handheld camera, March and friends hit the Ridge Freestyle Terrain Park, which offers challenging jumps, rails and slides to snowboarders and skiers alike.

"Check this out," says March, showing the camera's screen to his mother Melanie inside the Ridge's rustic lodge, which smells of coffee and hot concession food. March's video turns out to be a blooper of one of his friends falling hard off of his snowboard.

"He's okay though," says March, who turns to another friend and shows the video again.

The lodge is also the home of the Schenectady Ski School, which offers seven weekly classes to "ski tykes" and "ski stars" alike. There are also private lessons.

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