MLK weekend and Plattekill, like all other area resorts, was up against it.
All of that beautiful, heaven-sent snow was being washed away by a very inconsiderate and torrential rainstorm rudely descending on our mountain just as the weekend approached and we were finally thawing from a glacial freeze.
But you can’t keep a good mountain down. As soon as the temps hit freezing the guns were prepped and the fight was on.
Ice crystals hung to literally every branch, making the entire forest look as though it were made of glass. I have to say, it was pretty amazing, and it took a bit of the sting out. A reminder that whether the conditions are perfect, or challenged - these mountains are absolutely beautiful.
As I took a line down Upper Face under the guns, it was all I could do not to laugh as I snaked turns in the fresh snow – snow that was being made in abundance, and had completely transformed the resort from an ice rink the day before. The conditions were getting better by the minute.
How else to toast our favorite mountain?
Psyched for this weekend and all the NEW snow!
These pictures speak for themselves: "Come ski, and bring on a long weekend! Welcome MLK Jr. Day!"
The hill is covered top to bottom: Plunge, Blockbuster, Northface...all in deep white. It’s the first time snowmaking on all the runs has happened by Jan 15! And witness these photos (and video) just to show you how much.
The snowmakers—“Snow Cowboys,” as Platty’s Head of Operations, Macker (also in some of these photos), calls them—have been hard at work. Long days, long nights, and bless Mother Nature too, for keeping it cold. And while this week has been a bit warm, Plattekill has the advantage as a weekend-only hill, so grooming won't ruin that snow. It won't turn it into boiler plate.
In short and we’ve written about this before: If it rains, don’t groom. The water will run through the snow all on its own and not turn to ice. Groom after the rain is done falling. This is something other hills—those open 7 days-a-week—don’t have the luxury to do. But Platty can promise good terrain and conditions for the weekend.
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!
With Spring right around the corner, the Spring Equinox falls on March 20th, many people are looking for flowers to bloom and are excited for the warmer temperatures. But not the folks at Plattekill Mountain. Hews of brown and green surround the mountain and the trails at Plattekill stick out like a neon sign promoting Winter, bright white carved throughout the mountainscape. The snowguns at Plattekill are still creating a haze of Winter only on the mountain, which those Spring seekers are more than happy about. However, it looks as if Mother Nature has decided that she’s not completely done with Winter either. With a major snowstorm in the forecast the first week in March, Plattekill still has a lot in store for the remainder of the Winter season.
Winterfest, being held on Saturday, March 5th, has become a well-known fundraiser for the well-trained volunteers of the Plattekill Ski Patrol. So, on Saturday, after a day of skiing, snowboarding or snowtubing, Plattekill will be serving up a chicken dinner prepared by the 2016 winner of the James Beard Award (like an Oscar in the restaurant world), Brooks BBQ, at 5:00pm, while there is a live performance by the band Esquela, a raffle for great prizes and wrapping it all up with the annual Torchlight Parade, a glow of serpentining red flares being carried by skiers cascading down the mountain, at 8:00pm. This is an event suited for everyone, from the very young to the young at heart and is hoping to attract the local community as well as people visiting the area.
Also, on March 5th, the I LOVE NY bus, operated by Hampton Jitney, will be making it’s last visit to Plattekill for the season departing from New York City and Long Island. This is the second year that the I LOVE NY program has teamed up with Plattekill to bring people to the Catskills for Winter day trips. Andrew Lynch, Vice President of Hampton Jitney stated “The feedback on these trips has been very positive and we’re looking forward to continuing them in the 2016-17 season.”
All in all, Winter in the East has been anything but normal during the 2015-16 season, but taking the brutally warm highs and the bitterly cold lows in stride, Plattekill Mountain is putting on a pretty awesome show.
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.