Ski racing is full of legend and myth—Bode Miller’s skiing to school in New Hampshire as a kid, Lindsey Vonn racing at little hills in the Midwest, or Julia Mancuso toughing it out at Squaw Valley when she was little in a Gap jacket that wasn’t even waterproof and doing run after run after run. In the rain. They’re the stories of daring and vision and self-definition, and of determination against the odds. This is the same stuff you see in the Roxbury Central School Ski Team. They practice at Plattekill, and instead of waiting for the mountain to be open and training only on weekends, the team has started hiking up the hill or running a lift after school and setting their own course, placing gates on the hill and practicing over and over and over. The first time was when the mountain was leased for a private rental and the team asked the group if it was okay to practice. The private group cheered them on. Then, as snowmaking was happening, the kids would take the lifts up and set a course on the open slopes. Now the racers are there nearly every day after school.
And, it is paying off. The Roxbury racers have always been competitive. Claire McDaniel was at the State Championships at Whiteface last year, but the Roxbury students wanted more. They, like Mancuso (who, when she was 8 or 9 years old, wrote her name on the back of a Tommy Moe poster saying “Julia Mancuso – three-time Olympic Champion”) are envisioning similar success. Only the six best skiers in men’s and women’s make it to the championships, which are held at Bristol Mountain at the end of February. The RCS skiers race against teams from Margaretville Central School, Windham, Ashland, Jewett, Hunter, and now Ithaca, who’s team has some USSA racers and recently joined their division. The competition is stiff to say the least, and places are based on points accrued in races over the course of the season, but as of now the RCS racers are at the top of the league—the boys are in 1st place and the girls are 3rd in their division—and the wins are dramatic. Take last week's double header at Windham, for instance: Nick Vajtay took both the slalom and the GS. He won the slalom by 2 seconds. To put this into perspective, a 100th of a second is typical of the difference between first and second, even first and third place in ski racing. But, this was an eternity…and it is the kind of time that will carry the team to Bristol in February.
Photo credit: John McDaniel
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!