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Family ties run deep on these slopes

Maple Ski Ridge to host 50th anniversary celebration

Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam is celebrating a half-century on the slopes this year. This photograph shows a skier hitting the slopes around the 1970's,

Maple Ski Ridge in Rotterdam is celebrating a half-century on the slopes this year. This photograph shows a skier hitting the slopes around the 1970's, Submitted photo

— The Capital District’s only ski and snowboarding destination actually started as the brainchild of a child.

Decades ago, William and Elizabeth Mulyca were taking their children to Scotch Valley Ski Resort, which is now closed, and their children started talking about cutting down some trees and brush on their family’s farmland property. Eventually, the parents agreed and a bulldozer started to clear the hill that’s known today as Maple Ski Ridge. But it would take several years for the area to become the resort-style retreat it is today.

“Friends and family and the neighborhood would come over and it kind of developed in that way,” said Kate Michner, marketing and special events coordinator of Maple Ski Ridge. “Our grandfather William was a very ingenious man. … Every year, the place just got bigger and bigger.”

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William Mulyca, founder of Maple Ski Ridge, tends to the landscape of the ski area's hills around the 1970's.

The first rope tow was installed around 1967 and the first chair lift opened in 1972. A year later the owners got into snowmaking when powder failed to materialize. A second chair lift, a triple, was added in 1989.

Today, Maple Ski Ridge has eight trails, two lifts, a rope tow and a handle tow. The entire Ridge property totals around 120 acres, but not all of it skiable or used for recreational purposes.

“It has been in our family the entire time and we are hoping that it stays there,” Michner said.

To celebrate Maple Ski Ridge’s 50th anniversary there, will be a weekend of events from Thursday, Jan. 17, to Sunday, Jan. 20. It starts with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Chamber of Schenectady County on Friday, with $10 lift tickets offered along with retro specials from the lodge’s kitchen. On Saturday, there will be a “Ski, Dance and Sing” with Mountain Music DJ starting at 5 p.m.

The celebration ends on Sunday with a traditional Polish dinner featuring kielbasa, perogies, sauerkraut cooked with pork, kluski, vegetables and rye bread. Food will start being served at noon for around $10, with take-out available. Pre-orders are appreciated and can be made by calling 381-4700.

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