Kids get opportunity to learn to ski thanks to Buffalo program: ‘I can scratch it off the bucket list’

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COLDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) — When you live in a place like Buffalo, you should embrace the snow and enjoy it. But for many people, getting the opportunity to experience a beautiful day on the slopes isn’t an option.

But a group of kids from the inner city are all smiles, after learning the basics of skiing and snowboarding at Kissing Bridge on Wednesday.

A handful of kids hit the slopes with the Buffalo Police Athletic League (PAL). PAL organizes activities for tens of thousands of kids a year and brings in Buffalo Police officers to help.

“I think we all agree, that for police officers to be effective, we have to be out in the community and the community has to befriend us, and we have to befriend the community,” Lt. Marcus Rogowski said, of the Buffalo Police Neighborhood Engagement Team.

Lt. Rogowski and two other officers learned to ski alongside the group of kids and chaperones from the Hennepin Community Center, which is in Lovejoy. They all received rental gear and a 90 minute lesson from KB instructors for free.

One participant was 18-year-old AJ Lahr, who had never skied before PAL gave him the opportunity. In just two times on the slopes, he was skiing great down the bunny hill.

“(It’s) fun and challenging,” Lahr said. “Getting to learn how to do something new is nice. I can definitely scratch it off the bucket list. It’s pretty fun.”

AJ Said skiing has been on his bucket list for awhile now.

And even with all the falls during the lesson, there were still lots of smiles at the end of the fulfilling day.

“This is something definitely life changing for them, they enjoy it a lot,” Artis Green said, the PAL sports coordinator. “They’re falling, they’re getting back up and they’re trying again. It’s something to keep them motivated and something to get them entwined of what else is out here in the world to do.”

Wednesday was Buffalo PAL’s third trip, out of four, to Kissing Bridge this season. In all, organizers expect to take around 100 kids and chaperones to the ski resort this winter.

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