The experience of Plattekill is the sublime combination of natural terrain, incredible people, and right now - the blessings of a March filled with week after week of perfect snow. Each, a key ingredient…making up the soul of a place.
This past Friday Chris S., Ray, Chris R. and I gathered at the end of the most amazing tree run I’ve ever skied in my life - it was the most amazing skiing I’ve ever experienced, on piste or off.
Before dropping in, as we collected at the top, passed around water, and prepped our gear, I was both nervous and excited - I’d never skied this kind of terrain before. The trees were untouched, the snow was knee deep, as I quickly discovered after stepping out of my skis to rest. Snow fell around us, feathery and light, adding itself to the copious gobs of untracked, delicious powder waiting below.
Chris R. dropped in first, finding a smooth line, traversing across the mountain below. I followed, staying alongside, but also wanting to cut my own path. Chris S. and Ray - the two veterans - came down after, flying past as though it were second nature. Which of course, it was.
From there we leapfrogged down. Beautiful lines through acres of empty forest. No sound but for the swish of skis and shouts of unabated joy. And for once (thanks to Alan’s and Chris’s patience) I managed to keep up.
Nothing but us, the knee-deep powder of raw terrain, and the trees commanding it. One word filled my head – Pure.
It’s how I think of that day; of how I think of Plattekill. Nothing between you and the experience, no extravagant garbage selling you a manufactured experience. Just the mountain. The snow. And, if you are fortunate enough – some great people to show you the way.
Emerging from the trees, we were somewhat overwhelmed. Our faces glowed with an astonishment, as though none of us expected to be as good as it was.
“Well…that didn’t suck,” Ray said.
Nope. It surely didn’t.
GIVE A HAND to those who have your back (and legs and wrists…). This weekend is the ski patrol BBQ—also to say this weekend is promising fresh powder on Friday. So on Saturday come out and ski and then stay. It’s WinterFest, which means torchlight parade and… the ski patrol’s fundraiser. There is Brooks’ BBQ’s chicken dinner [btw Brooks won a James Beard Award, the most prestigious in the restaurant world… like the Oscars]. And it’s time to support those in red who work tirelessly on the mountain. They train for hours and are there when you need them. And, more importantly: Platty’s patrollers are an all-volunteer department and they pay for all their equipment. Everything from bandages to backboards, sleds, defibrillators and radios. So give ‘em the love…
The deets are here:
(Also if you want dinner, get your tix early... It sells out)
Dinners $14, beginning at 5:00
Live music up at the bar
Torchlight parade at 8:00
Tubing under the lights for kids
ski board pass
tubing park pass
Multiple bottles wine and liqueur
SO IT WENT from 65 degrees to six inches of pow in 24 hours. On Wednesday I ran six miles in shorts, sun, summer. Thursday I split my desk at 2 to ski 12 runs in the afternoon and I brought the wrong skis. Too narrow. I had the best turns of the season and I took no photos. It was too good to stop. But, I am posting this because it was stunning. And conditions were amazing. (The drive home a tad hairy but by today I'm sure it's fine). The mountain is well set up for this weekend. And if you're over the winter whiplash, the what-season-is-it-now, the if-it's-tuesday-it-must-be-summer kind of weather we've had. Or if you've coined a new name for it, say Sprinter. Wring (anything that combines spring and winter), well, there is now hope.
The strange period of warming and oscilation we've had is coming to an end, and if you want a detailed breakdown of this: read on as the folks at NY Metro Weather explain:
This type of retrograding high latitude block, where blocking moves from Greenland westward into Canada, has been associated with some of the more memorable winter weather periods, and large storms in general, in the Northeast United States.
And, of course, it will snow next weekend. I promise. I'm going away for a week to ski out West. Which is as sure to bring snow as any high latitude blocking from the Barents Sea to Greenland.