Martin Ridgeway is the main antagonist of Disney's 1972 film, Snowball Express. He is the manager of his bank in Silver Hill and Miss Wigginton's former boss. He is known to have won the town's Snowmobile Race three years in a row.
Role in the film
When Johnny Baxter attempts to secure funding for his plans for the Grand Imperial Hotel he inherited from his recently deceased Uncle Jacob Barnesworth at Silver Hill after quitting his old job and moving his family from New York to there, Ridgeway expresses great interest in Baxter's daring idea. Ridgeway then offers to buy the lodge claiming he wants to convert it into a boys' school (which his secretary scoffs at), but Baxter declines. Baxter declines, so Ridgeway declines to give Baxter a loan, citing him as a bad collateral risk and specifically pointing out that Baxter has no experience in hotel or restaurant management. Baxter meets with a friendly banker, Mr. Wainwright, at a ski lodge. Baxter claims to be an avid skier and Wainwright takes him to a black diamond run called "Nightmare Alley." Baxter ends up crashing into a tree.
While Baxter is recovering, Ridgeway gives him a check for $3,000. Baxter starts making a list of repairs for the lodge. Meanwhile, Wally works with McCord to repair the hot water heater. The water heater explodes, tearing a hole in the kitchen wall. Ridgeway's check covers the repair, but leaves nothing for the ski lift Baxter had in mind. McCord pulls an old donkey engine out of mothballs, tying a rope around it, and offers it as a makeshift ski lift. When Wally dynamites a tree stump from the ground, the explosion sets off an avalanche, blocking a passing train carrying several hundred skiers. The Baxters quickly shuttle the skiers to their resort.
Baxter goes back to Ridgeway, asking for an extension on his loan, which Ridgeway refuses. Baxter notices a sign for the Silver Hills Snowmobile Race, with a $5,000 prize. Baxter decides to drive in the race, with McCord as his partner. Baxter's wife threatens to leave him over his carelessness and obsession. Though they come close, Baxter and McCord narrowly lose the race.
Ridgeway brings the deed transfer papers to the lodge for Baxter to sign. After threatening to begin the foreclosure process, he offers to buy the resort from Baxter. Ridgeway's secretary, Miss Wigginton, tells everyone the truth: the property includes several hundred acres of timberland originally donated to the local Indian tribes by Barnesworth for as long as the tribe inhabited the land. As the tribe has moved away or died out, the land reverts to the estate. Ridgeway wants to buy the resort in order to log the timber. McCord adds that the land the town was built on was granted by Barnesworth on the condition that several buildings be erected, including a library. Baxter's son Richard notes that he has not seen a library, and asks why the land has not reverted to Baxter. Silver Hill is in violation of the grant, meaning that the entire town is built on land now owned by Baxter, leaving Ridgeway in disgrace.
Seeing he's been defeated, and unable to con his way out this time (and worried about facing jail time) for trying to cheat the Baxters out of their inheritance, Ridgeway nervously and reluctantly agrees to help Mr. Baxter loan the money needed for some repairs, new furniture, and especially, the first-class double chair lift for the new ski lodge soon to be added in order to expand the resort; much to his chagrin. Then, after inviting Baxter for lunch tomorrow in order to talk this idea over, Ridgeway asks for some water and aspirin, which Baxter's daughter, Chris and Wally (now Chris' new boyfriend) gladly and voluntarily accept to provide him with in the kitchen.