Alan is one of those skiers that is good at everything. Rips through crud, bumps, catches smooth airs of natural features, and finds great lines that are an absolute blast to follow.
He has been skiing Plattekill for 20 years, and except for the nursery becoming locker space, he says not much has changed. At least in the ways that count - there are still no lift lines to speak of, the terrain remains the best of any mountain in the area, and it’s still the place he chooses to make the 3 ½ hour drive to from the Jersey shore every weekend.
Last October, we’d cut some great lines through the trees. This past Saturday, I followed him into the woods to get my first taste.
Generally, I suck in the trees. I tend to tense up, lose confidence, and ultimately – balance. I understand the concepts “don’t look at the trees,” “stay light on your feet,” “make quick, technical turns,” but the concepts haven’t 100% found their way to my skiing yet.
To be fair, the snow was thick, on the heavy side and made for some difficult turns, but Alan carved through effortlessly, and I…well, not so much. Luckily for me, he was very patient, helping me see the lines, giving me tips on how to manage it.
Alan seemed to dance through the glades, demonstrating what was possible - inspiring me to improve. The trees are home to some of the best snow, the best terrain. There is NO way I’m giving that up; I’d worked too hard cutting some of those lines.
Plattekill really is a mecca of great skiers and snowboarders. And whether crushing a bump run down Plunge, shredding through the trees, catching air off a natural spine, or laying down smooth carves on piste, someone is always doing it better (than me). When I get the chance to ski with someone I can learn from, I try to soak in as much as I can.
It's said that if you want to grow, surround yourself with people who are superior to you in some way. Plattekill gives anyone PLENTY of opportunity to grow. Home to quite simply some of the most outstanding skiers I’ve ever had the pleasure of skiing with. Coast to coast.
And Alan, he’s one of the best. Makes sense – he’s been skiing Platty for 20 years.
The past two weekends have given us some of best the skiing/riding yet. (I am still grinning from the incredible track-refilling snow of Super Bowl Sunday).
Long weekend coming up. I look forward to my next lesson.
A quick shout out to Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis, Never Summer, Harpoon Ales and Bomber! And an even bigger shout out to the Plattekill crew for battling the warm weather to give us some great snow to ski/ride this past weekend.
What a great demo day.
Companies like these are close to my heart - small, independently-owned and operated, and like Platty – representing a true love of the sport. Or, rather – a lifestyle.
Because that is what it is, isn’t it? It goes beyond just being a sport. Skiing/riding…it’s a way of life, a way of experiencing the mountains, creating memories. The essence of skiing is a real engagement with the outdoors, not just an appreciation for it. You develop a relationship with it, and ultimately, a true respect for it.
My friend (and fellow blogger) Jennifer said that she loved seeing young people take up skiing because she felt that it was as though they were the “social security” of the sport. That the industry would continue to thrive both for us, and for future generations.
I feel the same about small companies, such as those who demoed with us. They are making sure there are new ideas, new innovations – always evolving. And these new industry voices are also our “social security.” Small, independent American companies giving people who love the sport a career built from their passion. A passion you can see in the craftsmanship and design of their work.
This is not only their lifestyle - it’s their livelihood.
Being able to test out and then to speak to the actual artisans who design and craft Shaggy’s skis was such an inspiring experience. You could hear the pride when they explained the materials, and the different models. They weren’t just repping a product – they were sharing their very own creations.
It’s that same feeling of pride and ownership I find at Plattekill. Both on the mountain, and off. Everyone seems to want to share their experience. On the lift, you’ll hear people yelling down, encouraging their friends, their fellow skiers/riders. You can't help but notice a tremendous sense of community and love of the place. A kind of personal attachment to something you feel something is truly special.
I was lucky enough to be able to ski with my friends Jennifer and David (who rip), and even though the open terrain was limited, we skied the hell out of it. The snow was so good, so fun… we just couldn’t stop, and had to literally force ourselves inside for sustenance. “Did someone mention Quesadilla?”
And after, there was a great band in the lodge, even a ski raffle. (I didn’t win, but congrats to the guy who did).
Thank you Platty. Thank you for the lifestyle.
SOMETIMES OWNING a ski hill is like farming. Well it’s often farming, snow-making, stockpiling it etc. But, right now that stockpile, those whales, they’re where it’s at. And you can see Platty owner Laszlo Vajtay (below) skiing them on Sunday in the brilliant sunshine. Good news for this weekend? More sunshine. And it’s warm and those whales…
Given Mother Nature’s fine case of whiplash inducing weather those whales are a promise that we will be skiing no matter what she throws at us. Here are a few pics from the weekend, and remember to dial in direct to Ullr. We need snow (though the whales have been saving us)
And on Saturday along with the sunshine is demo day, super awesome Bomber skis (you can get a Basquiat or Keith Haring top sheet, which is perfect for Platty where more than a few art world-oriented curators and artists happen to ski. They also make a ski jacket like a blazer for ye who want to combine work life with ski life). Or, ultra independent Shaggy’s straight out of Michigan (remember before you talk about the Mid West and skiing, the region also produced Lindsay Vonn who hails from the even flatter MN…). They can customize for your flex or just about any other part of your sticks… And there’s Never Summer snowboards…