Winter is coming. Bad for the people of Westeros. But, (and please excuse me geeking out over Game of Thrones)—thank R’HLLOR. (Again, apologies…but the season only ended a few weeks back, I haven’t fully recovered.)
Okay, so yes—Summer. You had your place. You will always have your place. But even the best beaches, trails and Mojitos just don’t feed my soul like those first turns on SNOW.
And…here we are. Summer is winding down—packing its bags, looking under the bed, the mattress; making certain the closets are cleared out—finally preparing to check out.
I, for one, am ready to move on. Fall is emerging…bringing the promise of cool nights, crisp apples, inching us ever closer to a Plattekill winter.
I’ve been dreaming about skiing for the past three (six?) months. At least once a week it seems. For me, it really never goes away. Always there, like a Golden Retriever running alongside, stick in mouth, reminding you that there is sooo much FUN to be had, if you’ll just shelve this daily grind and FOLLOW ME INTO THE MOUNTAINS!
That voice in the back of your head…causing that weekly (daily?) click on winter videos, pictures, gear sales, all things NOT work-related.
Recently I was at a yard sale (an “actual” one, not created whilst tomahawking down a one too many steeps) and found a 1975 ski poster by Lou Zansky called simply: ON THE SLOPES.
I don’t know what it was about this picture. There are more ski–related graphics than is worth mentioning in any retailer, website, or dorm room. But this one stuck.
Maybe it was how it perfectly captured the 70’s vibe—skis long, straight, planky. Knees locked together, pivoting from the hips—a style that truly was, well, STYLISH.
I grew up skiing in Southeast Idaho, my home mountain was Pebble Creek (just a bit south of Pocatello, for anyone familiar with the area). It was such a cool, unsullied mountain. And VERY steep. I say unsullied (no this is NOT a purposeful GoT reference), because it was a local’s mountain. EVERYONE knew EVERYONE, from the folks running the lifts to the Patrollers to the kitchen staff.
Maybe because it was remote, or because of its smaller size compared to other Idaho/Utah resorts (located just a few hours from Salt Lake), it instilled a tremendous loyalty from us. And gave in return. A place that valued its own, and from this grew a true local culture.
I am sure that any mountain will claim this, and I am sure that to some degree, they all have it. But in all the years I’ve been skiing, Plattekill is the only place that has given me that same “feel.” of where I grew up. The feel of a true HOME mountain. And yeah, it’s the people. (More on that throughout the season).
I’m new to Platty. I’ve lived in the Catskills for the past 8 years after being in NYC since 2001. And I don’t pretend to know the mountain, or the culture, like any of you. But I am thrilled and honored to share my perspective as a newcomer, and I want to share what I see on the hill and spread my excitement about it to as many as I can—while of course preserving short lift lines.
And now, back to that poster.
I was thinking of celebrating the Old School in the run-up to the season. Jen and I are going to exploring the past to get excited about the very-near future—the “keeping it real” of ski history that is Platty’s feel and vibe. We will be posting classic ski videos and images to get you all primed for the new season.
If you’re cool with it, please hang with us while we dig around in the garage a little bit. In the meantime—I keep it real below: Me at 16. I’m the one in the pink goggles. Indeed.
This year for the Platty blog, there are two of us—Isaac is joining me. He grew up skiing in Idaho (more about that in his first post, coming soon). We met on the triple [chair lift], on Isaac’s first run at the mountain.
Platty’s lifts are great for such things; some of my best friendships have been formed on the double, and Isaac—no different. It was his first time at the hill, and I offered to show him around. It was also clear he could rip. Of course, he can. He grew up in the aforementioned Idaho—also he doesn’t seem to complain about skiing the East…
Talking to him after that first run, his eyes grew wide, and he could see a future of skiing in the Catskills with no lift lines, no people fighting in a lift line, or getting impatient—and also, better snow. That is the promise of Platty—to keep it real, to bring back the old school vibe of skiing, and I saw the same joy I’ve seen in countless others have at the hill. It’s the way someone recounts their first visit to the mountain as if it were the promised land. And, Isaac is also a writer. So now it’s the two of us telling you why we love it here and reporting from the hill. Also he’s braver in the trees than I and a way better skier…
It is also that time of year when I start dreaming of skiing. Actually I start in July, and I think Isaac never stops. I have two classic dreams: skiing puffy powdery bumps on Block (I’m a master in the dream in a way I never am in real life), and then strangely, skiing down a sand dune (it’s a dream after all), like I did once in Qatar. And here a shot of Platty’s opening day last year:
Now as the nights dip down into the 40s this week, it’s also time to get season tickets, check the long-range forecasts for winter (good & cold), and tune up the gear. I will be spending this weekend with a girlfriend, sharpening my skis and watching ski videos. (Her kid has just returned from racing camp in Europe…)
Stella, I love you. Really what else is there to say? There might also be thanks to Laszlo and Macker and the snowmakers for making snow last weekend long after other ski hills have stopped in the run-up to the storm. But, really all there is to say is: Yes! And then list the numbers like: 36 (that is inches…as in, 3 feet). And then there are more, new numbers like 3 or 4…of snow that keeps accumulating (as in feet, not inches, but once you make three feet, who’s to quibble?).
Or, perhaps the proof is in the pictures (or really their absence). The snow was too good to stop and pull out a camera or even a phone. So instead I’ll send you to NY Ski Blog to see Harvey Road’s post. (He always stops for pictures and was riding a fine line through the trees when I last saw him on Wednesday’s Powder Daize).
So to summarize, the snow was too good to describe—too great to stop for photos. Maybe you can imagine the whoops heard from happy skiers going down the hill (they translate to “Stella, I love you!”). And for a small bit of etymology, “Stella” means star in Latin, and every flake of snow does have a tiny bit of cosmic stardust in it. So we can thank our lucky stars (or our Lucky Stellas, and maybe raise a glass of Stella to our storm in the bar afterwards).
These pictures speak for themselves: "Come ski, and bring on a long weekend! Welcome MLK Jr. Day!"
The hill is covered top to bottom: Plunge, Blockbuster, Northface...all in deep white. It’s the first time snowmaking on all the runs has happened by Jan 15! And witness these photos (and video) just to show you how much.
The snowmakers—“Snow Cowboys,” as Platty’s Head of Operations, Macker (also in some of these photos), calls them—have been hard at work. Long days, long nights, and bless Mother Nature too, for keeping it cold. And while this week has been a bit warm, Plattekill has the advantage as a weekend-only hill, so grooming won't ruin that snow. It won't turn it into boiler plate.
In short and we’ve written about this before: If it rains, don’t groom. The water will run through the snow all on its own and not turn to ice. Groom after the rain is done falling. This is something other hills—those open 7 days-a-week—don’t have the luxury to do. But Platty can promise good terrain and conditions for the weekend.
December 21 marked the first day of Winter and we couldn't be happier. If our opening day (December 17) was any indication, it looks like we're in for a great season! We received an awesome foot of fresh powder, allowing our guests to take full advantage of the whole mountain—it's been quite a while since we were open 100% on DAY ONE!
Even though the next day's weather was rainy, we have been fortunate to have low temps since, which means our snow guns have been blasting 24/7 to gear up for our Holiday Week! Plattekill will open at least 7 trails on Saturday, December 24. We will close on December 25 but then we'll open the slopes and snowtubing park again from December 26 - January 2 for Holiday Week!
Most of our beginner trails and several blue runs are ready to open, and we even have some more difficult areas for those of you who are ready to get right into it. And after you’re all worn out from a long day of carving or shredding, don’t forget to join us for some après–ski live music in the lodge Saturday nights! Also, on December 28, there will be a film screening of Warren Miller's "Here, There & Everywhere" will be shown at the Union Grove Distillery. Here's a toast to a snowy 2017!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Plattekill Mountain! We can’t wait to see you!
Ski resorts, by nature, are known for their winter activities and events. Did you know that there is just as much activity happening at these resorts during the summer months? Plattekill Mountain, in Roxbury, NY, is no exception in taking on a secret identity in the warmer months, while still “keeping it real”.
The sun is shining, the flora is evergreen, and everything: music, skyrides, mountain bikes and beer – flow freely. There’s a whole schedule of events and things to do at Plattekill during this time of year.
The first NY Outdoor Expo happened in early July with much success and plans for another event in 2017 are already in the works. Their “Music on the Mountain” Concert Series, an annual event, is now in its 4th year where free concerts are offered the first Saturday of every month June through September. This year will also mark the 7th annual Plattepalooza Family Fall Festival over the Columbus Day holiday on Saturday, October 8th with pumpkin and face painting, s’more roasting, magician, local vendors, scenic skyrides, fall fare, live music plus much more.
Next up on the Plattekill Mountain Calendar of Events, “Music on the Mountain” Concert #3 on August 6th with the “Meeker Hollow String Band” from 4pm-7pm featuring bluegrass, new grass and everything in between. Plattekill is also offering a New England Style Clambake as a dinner special that night, keeping in the spirit of the Summer season. Be sure to come early as they sold out last year.
The activities don’t stop there. Plattekill is now offering Glamping - derived from the combination of two words: glamorous and camping – safari tent accommodations in a secluded location on the mountain. It’s camping without all the preparations. Accommodations are perfect for special events (on-site weddings, concert nights) or just to get away from it all without all the fanfare of planning a camping trip. This means, the tent is already up when you arrive, the bed is in place, the Adirondack chairs are on the deck just outside the tent, and the fire pit just needs wood.
Plattekill also has the unique quality of being the only area mountain available for rent. Yes, you can rent the mountain mid-week year round. During the summer, the 640 mountainous acres and rustic Catskill Mountain lodge can be rented for summer camps, family reunions, retreats, TV/movie productions, business meetings, team-building outings or whatever you think you can conjure up.
A lack of things to do is typically not an issue at Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY with the mountain now open for summertime activities. Offering lift-served mountain biking, hiking and scenic chairlift rides and bike rentals every weekend.
Want a great Catskill Mountain Biking experience? Guests can choose from a variety of packages with all you’ll need to for a day out on the trails (bike rentals, gear, ticket and guided tour) and they also offer a “Rise & Shine Package” which offers it all in a short 2-hour session both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
However, that’s not all you’ll find at Plattekill this summer. Their “Music on the Mountain” Free Concert Series is back for a third season and it has been expanded for 2016. The series will feature four concerts this summer taking place the first Saturday of every month. Starting June 4th a local favorite, Blues Maneuver Band, will kick off the series with rhythm, blues and funk. Each month a different genre will be offered along with different dinner specials on concert nights. All concerts are free to the public and chairlift rides will also be open during those evenings until 7pm.
Also new to the mix this year, the mountain will featuring the first ever “NY Outdoor Expo '16” on July 9th with the opportunity to feed your passion for the great outdoors. This event will feature hands on activities from guided hikes and kayaking to fly fishing and s’mores roasting. An exclusive Guided Mountain Overnight Camping Package will also be offered for enthusiasts. Activities also feature scheduled demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and more.
Plattekill has also become a very popular destination for Mountaintop Wedding Ceremonies. Panoramic mountaintop views and an exclusive setting come with all packages with receptions for up to 150 people. Best part is the mountain is entirely yours for the day and the only activity on the mountain that day is you and your guests.
For more information on Plattekill and all their offerings visit plattekill.com. Plattekill is open every weekend from 10am-5pm.
The warmer weather looks like it's here to stay, though it seems like we didn't really get away from it this past winter.
The springtime foliage is blooming and there's a whole new group of people who want to experience the sport of lift accessed mountain biking and fall in love with this great Catskill Mountain experience.
Now, you don't have to run out and buy a bike, and you surely don't want to get something that won't be able to handle the true mountain bike terrain. The recommendation is to try it first, as your "dream bike" might cost a couple thousand dollars or more, not to mention the protective gear that comes along with it.
Plattekill Mountain offers the experience (over 20 years) and everything you need for a great mountain bike adventure at an affordable price. Beginner to advanced mountain biking trails, lift access, bike and gear rentals, you will find it all at Plattekill.
The sport of lift accessed mountain biking is fun and exciting and has greatly expanded over the last couple decades with the advent of full suspension bikes and some pretty crazy or totally inspiring (depending on your point of view) stuff from GoPro videos posted on YouTube.
When you head to the mountain, be sure to wear comfortable clothing (nothing too baggy), closed toe/heel shoes (no sandals), bring water to hydrate and that's about it.
A good way to begin is to first find a ride within your limits (beginners will appreciate Plattekill's Greenhorn trail), with someone who is knowledgeable (like the folks at Plattekill) and you'll find that mountain biking can be a really fun and safe sport. As with any new sport, you have to build up your skills and confidence by getting out on the trails and gaining experience. You may be used to riding on the road or possibly off-road, but it may take a bit to develop your skills in downhill. Negotiating roots and rocks is an education in the great outdoors itself. And that's not even getting into what good ol' Mother Nature will throw at you and how the conditions change from dry to wet and vise versa.
With all that being said, one thing most experienced riders agree on is the necessity of protective gear, especially a helmet.
So, Plattekill Mountain has made it easy and all-inclusive with their 2 Hour Rise & Shine or Full Day Beginner Package. That way, you don't have to worry about if you forgot about something really important as you're on your way up to the summit or anything else for that matter. Both packages include a KHS full suspension mountain bike, all your protective gear, lift pass, and a personalized guide. It's the perfect outdoor mountain experience when visiting the Catskills for a day or weekend. If you're in the Catskills and wondering "What is there to do?" plan a visit to Plattekill Mountain for a great Catskill Mountain adventure.
The ski season at Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY may have ended, but the mountain bike season has already begun due to the early arrival of Spring. The two seasons literally overlapped this year at Plattekill, and they opened their trails to mountain bikers two weeks ago in conjunction with the closing weekend for the 2015-16 ski season. The unseasonably warm weather made for earlier trail clearing of winter debris, and since the crew was able to get a jump on trail maintenance, Plattekill Bike Park decided to officially open this coming weekend (April 2-3, 2016) for the mountain bike season – the earliest it has ever opened in it’s 21 years of lift-accessed mountain biking.
Plattekill is anticipating an exciting Spring/Summer/Fall season ahead. Plans are in the works to continue to build their array of mountain biking trail options for all ability levels. They also have several mountain bike races scheduled for the season with the first one, the “Plattekill Gravity Open,” being held on May 22.
Biking, however, is not the only excitement on the Plattekill Event Calendar this Summer. Plattekill plans to continue and expand their free summer concert series, “Music on the Mountain”, to four weekends this year beginning in June and spanning thru Labor Day. All concerts are scheduled for the first Saturday of every month featuring a variety of live music from rock and roll to bluegrass. In addition, the mountain will offer dinner specials (from clambakes to pig roasts) and scenic chairlift rides until 7pm on concert nights.
New this year, Plattekill is hosting the NY Outdoor Expo ’16 on Saturday July 9th (rain date: July 10). This event will showcase fun and exciting things to do in the great outdoors and feature exhibitors, presentations and demonstrations in the areas of hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, rod & gun, archery, camping, rock climbing and so much more. The pay-one-price admission will allow participants to try one or all of the great adventures happening on the mountain that day, and children 7 and under are free. More information on this or any of the Plattekill Mountain events, as well as registration details CLICK HERE.
With Spring right around the corner, the Spring Equinox falls on March 20th, many people are looking for flowers to bloom and are excited for the warmer temperatures. But not the folks at Plattekill Mountain. Hews of brown and green surround the mountain and the trails at Plattekill stick out like a neon sign promoting Winter, bright white carved throughout the mountainscape. The snowguns at Plattekill are still creating a haze of Winter only on the mountain, which those Spring seekers are more than happy about. However, it looks as if Mother Nature has decided that she’s not completely done with Winter either. With a major snowstorm in the forecast the first week in March, Plattekill still has a lot in store for the remainder of the Winter season.
Winterfest, being held on Saturday, March 5th, has become a well-known fundraiser for the well-trained volunteers of the Plattekill Ski Patrol. So, on Saturday, after a day of skiing, snowboarding or snowtubing, Plattekill will be serving up a chicken dinner prepared by the 2016 winner of the James Beard Award (like an Oscar in the restaurant world), Brooks BBQ, at 5:00pm, while there is a live performance by the band Esquela, a raffle for great prizes and wrapping it all up with the annual Torchlight Parade, a glow of serpentining red flares being carried by skiers cascading down the mountain, at 8:00pm. This is an event suited for everyone, from the very young to the young at heart and is hoping to attract the local community as well as people visiting the area.
Also, on March 5th, the I LOVE NY bus, operated by Hampton Jitney, will be making it’s last visit to Plattekill for the season departing from New York City and Long Island. This is the second year that the I LOVE NY program has teamed up with Plattekill to bring people to the Catskills for Winter day trips. Andrew Lynch, Vice President of Hampton Jitney stated “The feedback on these trips has been very positive and we’re looking forward to continuing them in the 2016-17 season.”
All in all, Winter in the East has been anything but normal during the 2015-16 season, but taking the brutally warm highs and the bitterly cold lows in stride, Plattekill Mountain is putting on a pretty awesome show.