Not long ago pictures of two guys walking in the woods appeared on Facebook. The photos were taken in late autumn but they should hearten any Plattekill park rider. The images were of the hill’s natural features and the two guys? K.C. Jones and Preston Lemaster, the duo in charge of Platty’s park. This is perhaps the first time it’s had dedicated staff, and they have made it their project. [to read more, click that READ MORE button below]
Several miles from the mountain itself in Roxbury this fall you could hear drills and grinding, a sound which, I swear, is the park – if not the sounds more typically heard as someone lands a frontside 360. Granted this grinding and sawing was not at the mountain, no, it was in a former lumberyard Plattekill uses for storage. Here the park has been taking shape and being reshaped. Since November Preston’s been working fulltime on rebuilding it and redesigning it. He’s been taking old boxes and sanding them down and regrinding them and reconstructing them. The work has paid off. This year the park was open on opening day, a rare occurrence on many mountains and virtually unheard of at Platty. Now it’s got more and bigger features – and even bigger plans in the works.
Platty is the kind of hill where you build it and they will come, and if it’s not built, someone will see the possibility and make it happen. This kind of community spirit drives the mountain. Such is the case with the trees and glades, not to mention Preston’s work.
A Roxbury local, he has gray blue eyes and a beard that wouldn’t be out of place in a Peter Jackson film. Preston wants a future in the mountains and snow industry and envisions the park as bigger and better but also inviting to all. “I want to show the fun you can have doing it,” he says and talks enthusiastically about the way to start out if you’re a beginner by “jumping over little roller from the trails. Start small,” he explains, “jump a foot off the ground and feel what it’s like. It’s about confidence.” And, as he describes the joy in it, he says, “It’s like freedom the feeling you get flying through air.” Who wouldn’t want to try that? Preston who also teaches in the ski school is happy to help out anyone who wants to try.
He and K.C. love snowboarding and grew up riding here. “The two of us, we want the hill to be recognized.” He says Platty has something no other local mountain does that makes the hill unique – mountain biking. Wonder how that makes winter better? “We get all those features from the biking hidden in the woods.” He shakes his head in disbelief and recalls riding all the way back to town from Plattekill through the woods. “When we get a foot of snow, nothing matches those features we get out in the woods.” And after last weekend you won’t have to find them on Facebook anymore, but on the hill itself.