As promised, I’ve been digging around in the past to get pumped for the season. Platty’s opening day is in sight–it’s October, we’ve got a frost warning, THE PLATTEPALOOZA FALL FESTIVAL is around the corner, and I’ve swapped Summer Ale for IPA.
My 80’s my wish list would have included (besides a time-traveling DeLorean) the chance to meet my ski idols: Scot Schmidt, my Idaho girl Picabo Street, and obviously Glen Plake. I remember first watching The Blizzard of Aaahhs and how blown away I was by Schmidt & Plake’s daring, their ridiculous inventiveness.
Maybe since the technology of that era wasn’t evolving as quickly as they were (most everyone was on the same “shape” of ski) the athletes were forced to develop individual styles in order to evolve. People didn’t have powder skis for deep days, carvers for groomers, twin tips for jibbing. They had skis. There were differences in materials, construction, and price point. But the basic shapes were arguably the same.
And they skied them in ALL conditions.
Although I’d never swap my modern skis for the long straight Rossi’s of the 80s, I’m glad I DID learn on them. Among other things, they taught me to maintain balance in mogul skiing and nasty, cut-up crud. And to appreciate today’s skis that much more.
So yeah, a BIG shout out to snowboarding.
I mean, come on—Schmidt dropped into the vertical extremities of the Alaskan Chugachs, Street crushed the super G at Nagano.
Jason Levinthal, founder of J Skis, just released the HOT DOGGER a total nod to 80’s flash and dash. And I get it—the retro vibe. The loud, garish, IN YOUR FACE ATTITUDE of it, proclaiming—THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BETTER THAN SHREDDING THE MOUNTAIN.
For this season at Platty, let’s embrace the raw, hardcore days of launching into Blockbuster, Plunge, or Freefall on a pair of K2 Extreme 207s, sporting Bollés, an eye-popping neon jacket, a wind-scoured face–and a giant, toothy grin.
Now make sure to send us your old school pictures of keeping it real or post them on Plattekill’s Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Plattekill
Stella, I love you. Really what else is there to say? There might also be thanks to Laszlo and Macker and the snowmakers for making snow last weekend long after other ski hills have stopped in the run-up to the storm. But, really all there is to say is: Yes! And then list the numbers like: 36 (that is inches…as in, 3 feet). And then there are more, new numbers like 3 or 4…of snow that keeps accumulating (as in feet, not inches, but once you make three feet, who’s to quibble?).
Or, perhaps the proof is in the pictures (or really their absence). The snow was too good to stop and pull out a camera or even a phone. So instead I’ll send you to NY Ski Blog to see Harvey Road’s post. (He always stops for pictures and was riding a fine line through the trees when I last saw him on Wednesday’s Powder Daize).
So to summarize, the snow was too good to describe—too great to stop for photos. Maybe you can imagine the whoops heard from happy skiers going down the hill (they translate to “Stella, I love you!”). And for a small bit of etymology, “Stella” means star in Latin, and every flake of snow does have a tiny bit of cosmic stardust in it. So we can thank our lucky stars (or our Lucky Stellas, and maybe raise a glass of Stella to our storm in the bar afterwards).
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!
This is the season, this is the quote. This is from Macker. He is the master of snowmaking at Platty. Now this could be a conversation that includes phrases like “wet-bulb temperature” (relating to humidity) and “inversion” (warmth in the upper atmosphere) both of which have taken a toll on snowmaking across the Northeast. Or, there’s the more commonly bandied “El Nino” (which sounds to me about like an armed bandit right now).
But, at Platty there is snow. A mountain of it. And, trails. And, the reason is not those big words but the heroes on the hill, working in the middle of the night. This is Macker’s team. Normally they’d start in the evening and leave in the morning whales of snow in their wake, but this year because of the inversion, because of the wet-bulb temperature, because of El Nino, they’ve been beginning at times like 2 AM to catch that window when the temperature drops to freezing.
To return to Macker here (BTW he’s a man who says “I am happiest when I’m making snow and pushing it around,” – also to note he’s a man of few words, and those are generally bitten down and he relishes riding alone in a groomer with no one else around – “watching waves of people walking into the parking lot skis on their shoulder.”) So he has been worried and says it was so warm it felt like November, and that perhaps the world needs a leap month, that is how crazy the weather has been. He also says, “You can make snow at 32 degrees. You just get less of it. It’s not that it’s too warm, but you get way less production.”
He thinks not just about Platty but every other hill. (He is also not one to pick and choose his words carefully even for the mountain blog—eg he is hones and in his honestly talks about everywhere is suffering). “For every ski area Christmas is a third of the season, a third of the income…” His voice trails off and he talks of the impact on hills and employees and the snow. In Vermont Magic Mountain has only just opened this weekend, and Mad River Glen, whose die-hards are like Platty fanatics, did a video in December about “Skiing the Patch" (That is advertising skiing the 3 patches of snow on their hill).
Laszlo, Platty’s owner, walks in the office, talk of that year and talks of one year that was worse. 1995. He was not even 30 and it was his second year of ownership. Macker came to help out and the New York Times came to pay a call. The season before had record snowfall. That year Platty was the only ski area not afraid to talk on the record.
It was January 19, nothing was opened in the East. Back then, 21 years ago, the hill had 7 guns, and virtually no snowmaking. But they got a headling in the TIMES: "Ski Areas Suffer from an Endless Summer." Now Plattekill has a couple hundred guns plus the requisite blood, sweat and tears (and water pumped up of a less saline quality from ponds) to run them. Instead of standing on a grassy hill, Macker and Laz are here in mountains of snow. Thanks to a few heroes who are cheering on winter and giving it a helping hand.
Not so fast, you Debbie Downers! There is no conclusive data from ANY weather source regarding El Nino years. Some reports say that we’ll have below average snowfalls and other reports are indicating a much higher than average snowfall. I’ve heard that someone coined a phrase for those who “wish” we’d see a snowfall – “wishcasting.” Yup, that’s what we’re doing here at Plattekill a lot of WISHCASTING!
So, we’re going to keep things positive … there are reports out there that the things we termed last year … such as the Polar Vortex is moving into a position that will bring cold air to the East. And a couple years ago, we talked about Arctic Oscillation (2009-10) which just dumped snow on us – YAY Artic Oscillation!
So, don’t give up hope. The report is now that a more favorable weather pattern is heading our way! Our snowmakers are ON IT! Temps are already starting to drop and we will resume “Operation Snowstorm” tonight here at the mountain and be ready for the upcoming Martin Luther King Weekend holiday!
Check out what The Weather Channel reported about the potential for Eastern SNOW …
It’s been quite the test of faith this winter when trying to gear up to travel to the mountains for winter fun. You look out your window and see earth tones of brown, yellow or possibly some green but not much snow. But there you are with Season Pass in hand or looking to purchase your first ticket for the upcoming season, anxious to put your skis or board on the snow.
November comes and goes, December comes with the record breaking warm temperatures, then goes … the New Year comes and goes, and finally January feels like January! You’ve waited all Summer/Fall, November, December for this moment.
So, to compensate for the lack of natural snowfall this year Plattekill has begun ‘Operation Snowstorm’. As long as the temperatures stay where they should be, we are making snow around the clock to bring winter to Plattekill snow enthusiasts, and you can thank a Plattekill snowmaker for that!
Best part is that our snow is not far off from the real deal. How? We blow our snow light and fluffy and don’t need to worry about making it firm to withstand high traffic flow on our trails. As you know, if you’ve skied here before, even when our lodge and parking are filled, there’s lots of elbow room on our trails. They call that a low “skier per skiable acre ratio”, we think.
Either way, until good ol’ Mother Nature blesses us with a blanket of the white stuff, we’ll make it ourselves. So have no fear. Pack up your boots, your board(s), grab your warm winter clothes and head to Plattekill for some skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing fun – it’s all here! We know it’s been a test of patience, but don’t wait any more, winter has officially arrived at the mountain. Now, come spend some time on the snow with us…
Winter, as we know it, is “slow approaching” this year, but don’t let that keep you from visiting the mountains where we still have lots of fun both on and off the slopes. If you’ve seen the romantic images of a ski lodge, happy people relaxing by a fire with a warm drink in hand …we’ve got all that here! Plus, we have snow too! Although not much from Mother Nature up to this point, but - with snowmaking - we’ve been piling the snow up any chance we get.
You can shush down the slopes with board(s) on your feet or, of course, you can sit back and enjoy the thrill of the winter season on a SNOWTUBE at Plattekill Mountain.
Snowtubing is simple, no experience necessary. All you have to do is enjoy the ride – then do it again! When you get to the Tubing Park, you’ll be towed, in the tube, up the hill, then you’ll go to your lane (kind of like a sloped bowling alley with bumpers) and zoom! Away you go!
We have the snowtubes and all you need… all you have to do is dress the part (we recommend a waterproof layer over the jeans so they don’t get cold and soggy), jacket, a pair of boots, gloves and hat – and you’re all set!
It’s fun for the whole family! Then, as in those romantic images, when you’re done, come into the warm, cozy lodge and retell the stories of your day on the Platty slopes! We plan to open the doors on New Year’s Day - Friday, January 1, 2016 for a season of skiing, snowtubing and après snow activities!
Sometimes pictures count more than words. And, with the way the weather was, well, I didn't have much to say. Except that yesterday's 4 inches felt like a foot. (And yes, I treated it like a powder day). Which attests to the sad state of affairs in my weather world. Or just my ski addiction. However, hope (and flakes) are in the air for those us addicted to the white stuff... MLK Jr looks to be celebrating his birthday in fine style. See you at Platty.