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.
As the seasons change, we've decided to switch things up a bit for summer 2017. Best known for featuring one of the longest mountain biking seasons on the East Coast, this year, we are offering biking on a more limited basis, instead shifting our warm weather focus to the expansion of our wedding venue operations and private catered events.
As some of you already know, we are still opening mountain biking to the public the first two weekends in July and the first weekend of August, September, and October in conjunction with our free Saturday Music on the Mountain concerts. “Our decision is meant to create more of a festival-like setting” according to Danielle Vajtay, Plattekill's Marketing Director. “We hope these efforts will bring more people to the mountain on specific weekends where guests will find all the activities offered.” If you were able to make up to the mountain last summer, we hope you enjoyed the live music! It was a huge success and we've gotten some great feedback, so this year, it made sense to continue offering biking and chairlift rides in conjunction with concert weekends.
Freeing up the summer calendar also means we have more availability for a variety of private uses, including corporate group functions in the base lodge, private parties, and the ever-growing rustic chic wedding business. In an effort to expand weddings specifically, we offer mountaintop wedding ceremonies, complete with chairlift access to the summit for all guests, which and has become a popular choice.
With more than 400 acres of terrain, there are endless possibilities for private use including parties, adventure and endurance races, testing grounds for bicycle manufacturers, and biking and hiking for summer camps. The base area and facility size and layout makes for a perfect setting for so many opportunities for small to large groups and the mountain is now available to anyone who has an interest.
For more information, you can always check out our events page, or call (607) 326-3500. If you have interest in a private group event, feel free to call Marketing & Group Sales Manager, Christy Jaromack at (607) 326-3500, x116 or send her an email.
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—firstname.lastname@example.org 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.