We finally made it to Maple Ski Ridge! Really, I feel silly that we hadn’t gone before. Everyone told us that it was a great easy trip and perfect for learning skiers. Somehow, I had a mental block that there couldn’t be anything worth a trip that wasn’t, you know, a trip.
But we had a wonderful time! We loaded up our car so that we could go directly from church and ate lunch en route so that we wouldn’t miss more time than necessary. It was a quick trip to Rotterdam for us, but when we arrived I was concerned. First, the wind was positively whipping all over the place, and Cute W was parking while I ran (okay, stomped) inside to buy tickets. The line was long. There was definitely an early-afternoon rush. So I fretted about the children becoming demoralized little Popsicles. When the crowd parted I could get a glimpse of them through the windows, but the crowd parted infrequently. And of course I’d forgotten my cell in the car, so I couldn’t call Cute W to ensure that he’d joined the children and that no one was getting frostbite.
Luckily this wait won’t have to be repeated. This year they’ve started a new system, the Sweet Pass, which is a card that you can refill online. We paid $5 for the cards themselves, which each person keeps in a pocket instead of one of those hang tags. Then next time we go, we can “reload” the card so that we don’t even have to step into the lodge. Unless we want cocoa.
As it turns out, the kids were fine and Cute W had scored an unbelievable parking space. Which wasn’t too difficult, since the place is small. But honestly, Maple Ski Ridge was perfect for us. There are two rope tows and two lifts. We were novices with the tow rope, but everyone did relatively well. By the end even J was reaching back to put the handle behind her so that she could sit back and relax her way uphill. M was overjoyed and did terrific with all the skiing–she barely paused in 3 1/2 hours. J would have preferred to snow plow straight down every hill. She’d fall and get frustrated on some of her turns, but generally she had a wonderful time. Our biggest problem was that she’d speed up and then we’d be going alongside her yelling “Pizza! Make a PIZZA!” But the best was that, for us at least, there was hardly ever any wait time at all to get back up the hill. And that was a Sunday afternoon after a snowstorm.
It was also a new experience for us to run into various acquaintances while skiing, so it felt almost like a neighborhood get-together. Some parents were clearly just hanging out in the lodge and checking for their kids through the windows. The food prices looked relatively reasonable (again, I’m cheap, so we’d packed snacks). It was, as I’d heard, pretty crazy-busy in the lodge, with people camping their stuff all over the tables.
All in all, it was a great place for the beginner & young skier. We’ll visit other places, too, but we’ll absolutely ski there again. It was an excellent family outing for us, and it’s nice for the kids to have a place where they can feel pretty comfortable just about anywhere. And it’s especially nice that it’s so close to home!