WNYers enjoy winter fun at Emery Park with new magic carpet ski lift

SOUTH WALES, N.Y. (WIVB) — Western New Yorkers took to the slopes Saturday at Emery Park to enjoy some fresh snow. After being cooped up all week, residents wasted no time getting outdoors, but this time for some fun.

“It’s nice to finally be able to get in the car and go somewhere,” Kevin O’Connell, a skier, said.

“I’m from South Buffalo so it was quite the dig to get out here but it was worth it, it’s beautiful out here,” said Mary Sennet who was out snow shoeing.

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It was also the first time for skiers and snowboarders to take a ride on the newly added “magic carpet.”

“It’s basically a conveyor belt on steroids,” Troy Schinzel, Erie County Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, said. “You stand on and it brings you at the top of the hill. You can snowboard or ski down.. You can get back on and go right back up to the top.”

“It’s great,” O’Connell said. “We parked at the top. We’re going to have my first time on this magic carpet, so we’ll see but I love that it’s here. It’s so close and it’s free. It’s really great.”

Erie County invested more than $800,000 in the magic carpet. The park previously had a tow rope, but after years of wear, it became hazardous and needed to be replaced.

“[The tow rope] was archaic, it was an old t-bar system, metal system, and it was old,” Schinzel said. “It was breaking down and we had trouble finding parts.”

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“The tow row could be a little precarious,” Sennet said. “Had to make sure everything was tucked in and hold on and you’d lose a kid halfway up. That was never good.”

The magic carpet is more than 900 feet long and takes about seven minutes to get from the bottom of the hill to the top, more than enough time to take in the view.

“It’s terrific, it gets you right up to the hill,” skier David Mitchell said. “Gives you a chance to relax and then the scenery is just gorgeous.”

“It’s a great place to learn,” Schinzel said. “Great place for families to come and it’s free. You can come here and take a ride up to the top. Ski or snowboard down.”

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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