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.
There are many places to start talking about Elizabeth Royster-Young: community hero, snowboarding advocate, or Brady Bunch mom. That’s how she describes her blended family—her three kids, two step-kids—they’re family of seven. Or, there’s the woman who works in tech, testing software. Or, there’s the girl from Jersey City who got pregnant at 15 in high school, a teen and single mom. The girl who got pregnant again in college and in grad school. (She jokes about no more schooling). There’s the woman who worried about feeding her kids, taking care of her family, keeping them safe, keeping them together; the woman who lived in a place known for crime and shooting. “…a place where kids can’t go outside and play,” as Elizabeth puts it. It's a place not known for mountains, not fresh air, not snow and definitely not snowboarding.
And, there’s the girl who at 14 went skiing in 8th grade. If you’re tallying the numbers, that’s a year before she had her first child. And, she loved it. “I’d never seen a mountain,” she says, “and I fell on my skis, and this guy on a snowboard helped me up.” She’d also never seen a snowboard. “He told me, ‘Don't’ worry about it. You can’t even handle your skis, so you don’t need to worry about a board.’”
Now, Elizabeth does way more than worry about a board. She rides herself, but more than that, she gets kids who could have been her out on the slopes. That’s where her charity, Shred Love, started in 2009, comes in. Its mission is “Teaching inner city and at-risk youth life lessons and values through snowboarding.” It takes kids who wouldn’t get to go outside, who’ve never seen mountains, who have little experience with snow and gives them places to explore, places to prove themselves with new skills in new realms. It gives them experiences of success. And fun. And, recently at Plattekill—on a Powder Day at that. She brought the group up this winter. Elizabeth says, “Kids who wouldn’t get to leave their community get to learn something new, get to master a skill on the slopes.”
That would be a kid like Armani Rae. “They had the hill to themselves,” Elizabeth explains, “they don’t know how spoiled they are.” But Armani said the mountain was there for her as if it wasn’t simply that she was one of the few on the hill, but as if the mountain were supporting her, teaching her, giving her something more…
Plattekill Mountain Executive Director, Laszlo Vajtay, says, “The mountain is thrilled to able to offer the opportunity for an exclusive, private, mountain usage to an organization like Shred Love who have a special cause and mission is to introduce kids to skiing and/or snowboarding that otherwise would never have that opportunity.”
“Shred Love,” Elizabeth says, “is a way to give back to my community and do it so it’s hands on and not just a donation, where we can really see the impact.” They plan a few trips a year, and the group is a 501(c)(3) charity, so all donations are tax deductible. If you wish to give you can via PayPal, using Shred Love’s email address—email@example.com or their Facebook page. (You can also contact Elizabeth Royster-Young and Shred Love directly at the above email address too).
To donate gently used gear (snowboard boots, helmets, goggles, snowboards, bindings, etc.), donors can mail it to: Shred Love, PO Box 3378, Bayonne, NJ, 07002. Donors in the Jersey City/Bayonne/NYC area can arrange for a pick up, if they'd wish.
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.
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.
It’s been quite the test of faith this winter when trying to gear up to travel to the mountains for winter fun. You look out your window and see earth tones of brown, yellow or possibly some green but not much snow. But there you are with Season Pass in hand or looking to purchase your first ticket for the upcoming season, anxious to put your skis or board on the snow.
November comes and goes, December comes with the record breaking warm temperatures, then goes … the New Year comes and goes, and finally January feels like January! You’ve waited all Summer/Fall, November, December for this moment.
So, to compensate for the lack of natural snowfall this year Plattekill has begun ‘Operation Snowstorm’. As long as the temperatures stay where they should be, we are making snow around the clock to bring winter to Plattekill snow enthusiasts, and you can thank a Plattekill snowmaker for that!
Best part is that our snow is not far off from the real deal. How? We blow our snow light and fluffy and don’t need to worry about making it firm to withstand high traffic flow on our trails. As you know, if you’ve skied here before, even when our lodge and parking are filled, there’s lots of elbow room on our trails. They call that a low “skier per skiable acre ratio”, we think.
Either way, until good ol’ Mother Nature blesses us with a blanket of the white stuff, we’ll make it ourselves. So have no fear. Pack up your boots, your board(s), grab your warm winter clothes and head to Plattekill for some skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing fun – it’s all here! We know it’s been a test of patience, but don’t wait any more, winter has officially arrived at the mountain. Now, come spend some time on the snow with us…