ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Free skiing and snowboarding is coming to Chestnut Ridge Park, thanks to a new tow rope.
The rope was purchased over the summer from a company in Austria and shipped over a few weeks ago, Erie County Commissioner of Parks Troy Schinzel said.
As of last week, the general contractor on the project was almost finished with the tow rope. The project needs to be reviewed by the state before the tow rope can open to the pubic.
The rope, which is about 400 ft. long, has handles that skiiers and snowboarders can grab to be pulled up the hill, exiting on either side once they reach the top.
“It’s a great opportunity for those learning or who just want to come out and enjoy it while it’s open,” Schinzel said. “We’re excited to get another free opportunity for people to enjoy winter sports.”
You’ll have to bring your own skis or snowboards- the park won’t be renting them.
The opening of the tow rope at Chestnut Ridge Park will mark the first time the park has had skiing and snowboarding in about 30 years.
The Erie County Parks system also offers free skiing at Emery Park in South Wales, where a new “magic carpet” lift opened earlier this year, replacing the old “T-bar” lift system.
Other parks in the system offer skating, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
“If we can offer winter sports, we try to do it,” Schinzel said. “We want to make our parks used and available to the public 365 days a year.”
Sledding is also available at Chestnut Ridge Park. The park’s toboggan chutes will be up and running as soon as the park gets enough snow.
Schinzel says most park visitors hitting the chutes bring their own toboggans, but they’re also available for rental inside the park’s concession area.
Because winter weather conditions can vary so much from one part of Western New York to another, the county keeps an updated winter sports schedule online. You can find it here.