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Catskills Top 2 - Ski Region Ranking Game - Part deux

4aprice

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Had alot of fun with the Top 3 Pa and Pocono's thread. Lot of good thoughts and feedback. What do you like in the Catskills? Catskills are a pretty easy day trip for me and I have a decent amount of experience up there. My top 2:

1. Plattekill. This place is just one of those gems. Its got the Mad River, Magic type vibe. A natural shaped bowl with trails spilling down each side. Non stop 1100 ft vertical on the northface. Have had some tremendous runs down Blockbuster and others on the Northface side. Lodge is dated,(almost took a header going down the rest rooms once-watch the stairs), Bar is interesting, parking small but it just fits. Some years just gets a amazing amount of snow. Good tree skiing. Been special since my 1st trip there back in the 80's (T-bar days) when we were still catching powder at 3 in the afternoon. Went there right after a Christmas Storm (2004 I think) with my BIL, who had never been there, and he came away saying it was like skiing Vermont in the 70's. It really is in the middle of nowhere and a pretty decent drive from anywhere but when its good its definately worth it. Its my favorite in the Catskills.

2. Hunter. Spent alot of time haunting this place back in the 80's. 1st place I took my wife after I met her, Best mountain and ski area in the region in my opinion. Dosen't hurt that its the easiest to get to as well. 1600 ft vertical but I feel it skis a little bigger then that. Love K-27, Clairs, and Westway (44) when the conditions are right. Even spent a day on Hunter One when my kids were small (it wasn't bad). Its a kick ass mountain. Nice lodge and decent parking. Used to get there early and catch 1st lift and ski non stop till 2:00, 2:30 then it was to the bar. Don't know if its still this way but that place was a blast and I met alot of characters there (Maybe DMC can tell us if he's lurking around). It does seem to me that Hunter lift ticket prices have soared recently. Couple of years ago I hit it after that mammoth storm with a nice discount voucher and loved every cent of it.

In the spirit of "it depends on what day you hit it" I want to give an honorable mention to Belleayre where I have had a couple of good days. A couple of spring days skiing bumps on the headwall under the triple and the trail to the skiers right of the triple below mid station and one day after the Noreaster in December 1992, if anyone remembers that. A storm that stalled, much like this current storm is supposed to do, and dumped 30-40 inches in the Catskills. That day we were hitting powder shots over in the old T-bar area all day. Tough not to like that.

Give us your thoughts.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

rev bubba

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I agree with you.

Plattekill & Hunter.

Everything you said about Plattekill having an MRG vibe fits the way I feel about the mountain. Getting there is a problem for me so I don't visit much but it is a great place and I've enjoyed skiing trees there in fresh snow in the past. You can't do that in many or any other Catskill mountains.

I have a weekday season's pass at Hunter and go up almost every Thursday during the winter to ski with a group that doesn't know the meaning of slow. It keeps me on my old toes and I love it.

Of course, if you can only ski Hunter on a weekend, that is an entirely different and not so great experience but like you said, the 1600 ft. vert. does seem to ski larger.
 

millerm277

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Another vote for Plattekill and Hunter from me.

Plattekill is great when the snow is good and/or on the weekends. No crowds, great terrain, great woods, great people and atmosphere.

Hunter offers at least a bit of a challenge on every single run off the top, with some legitimately steep terrain. Skis big, and the snowmaking....it's honestly one of the most impressive sights I've seen to come around the turn on the way into Hunter and see the cloud coming off the mountain. http://i.imgur.com/F3c6n.jpg

And they're both cheap. Hunter on the Big Lift Card is $30 midweek and $52 weekends, and Plattekill is about the same without needing a card.
 

ScottySkis

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Up if I had any mid week days off, I go to Hunter, but I do not so Platty is great for weekends, always awesome to see platty get some good snow and the others get nothing, I been to Windham once no need to go back, and Bell is okay but 20 more minutes and I'm at platty.
 
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JimG.

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Of course, if you can only ski Hunter on a weekend, that is an entirely different and not so great experience but like you said, the 1600 ft. vert. does seem to ski larger.

I ski Hunter religiously on weekends and one weekday a week. During the week it is quiet; a big negative is that F lift doesn't run usually on weekdays. The weekend is a bit more crowded but the Hunter myth of incalculably massive crowds is dead in my opinion. I can ski just as much on weekends as on weekdays unless I just lap the 6 pack.

This is not directed at you, but I think alot of people hold onto that myth to avoid skiing there. Which is fine by me as a skier, not so much as an advocate of Hunter.
 

BenedictGomez

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I ski Hunter religiously on weekends and one weekday a week. During the week it is quiet; a big negative is that F lift doesn't run usually on weekdays. The weekend is a bit more crowded but the Hunter myth of incalculably massive crowds is dead in my opinion. I can ski just as much on weekends as on weekdays unless I just lap the 6 pack.

This is not directed at you, but I think alot of people hold onto that myth to avoid skiing there. Which is fine by me as a skier, not so much as an advocate of Hunter.

I'm definitely one of them, because I know it used to be like that. So much so that I havent been to Hunter on a weekend in eons. So that's an exciting development if true, will await confirmation from others!
 

ScottySkis

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I'm definitely one of them, because I know it used to be like that. So much so that I havent been to Hunter on a weekend in eons. So that's an exciting development if true, will await confirmation from others!



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For me last time I was at.Hunter on a weekend the year they built the 6 pack chair maybe 2 years ago, I guess and yes I was able to ski a lot with singles line, but the snow conditions for me still got bad around 1 pm, and that is great for Hunter and the owners and everyone that works their, shows that they have the demand, I personally just like mountains were I can enjoy snow conditions through out the day.
 

steamboat1

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I ski Hunter religiously on weekends and one weekday a week. During the week it is quiet; a big negative is that F lift doesn't run usually on weekdays. The weekend is a bit more crowded but the Hunter myth of incalculably massive crowds is dead in my opinion. I can ski just as much on weekends as on weekdays unless I just lap the 6 pack.

This is not directed at you, but I think alot of people hold onto that myth to avoid skiing there. Which is fine by me as a skier, not so much as an advocate of Hunter.
I walked off that mountain one Saturday 3 years ago thankful I was in one piece.

Crowds weren't bad.

Out of control skiers out of their minds were.

In 50 years of skiing I'd never seen so many collisions nor that many people brought down in sleds in my life.

Never again.
 

rev bubba

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I'm lucky & don't have to ski weekends. I retired last year and now ski almost exclusively weekdays with the other old f@rts. I consider a chairlift "assisted living."

The only time I ski weekends now is to go with friends or family who still work. Life really is good!
 

4aprice

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I'm definitely one of them, because I know it used to be like that. So much so that I havent been to Hunter on a weekend in eons. So that's an exciting development if true, will await confirmation from others!

I used to ski weekends back in the days of the old summit double. There always seemed (at least to me) to be a way around the crowds at Hunter. Early start, stay on F till the west side opened, use the triple if you had to go to the bottom, yea it was busy but not overun. Of course like I said we used to shut it down at 2 to go have fun in the bar.

One admission, my Hunter days were pre - (marriage, kids, house etc) I used to skip skiing during any holiday period so I have not been there on a holiday week/weekend where the reputation may have come from.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 
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JimG.

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These are all very lucid responses.

I think the crowded tag comes from that old summit double...yeah, the lines on that thing were massive before the original quad went in.

I agree with those who prefer natural snow conditions with less ice and also love to ski Plattekill for many reasons. And I also agree with the fact that Plattekill is enjoyable in the late day because conditions are more consistent and less scraped. I guess I have developed a weird enjoyment of skiing some of Hunter's skating rinks in the late day. So I go start to finish regardless.

Yes! I have seen some monster wipeout/takeouts at Hunter. Some days are chock full of such incidents. But there are places to ski in such conditions where you can avoid all that. You just need to know the places and right times to go. Even with kids...I taught seasonal programs there and would ski with 12 kids all mountain. Never lost one or had one hurt.

So it bothers me to hear when folks have a bad day and give up on the place.
 
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1. Belleayre
2. Plattekill

Love the moguls, hate the crowds.

Regarding Hunter, I too must complain. The massive amounts of ice on Hunter's trails has made my family never want to return.
 

steamboat1

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I've given up on Hunter. Ever since that day I described on the previous page I will not ski there again. I used to get a Big Lift Card just to ski there 1 or 2 days a season, haven't bought one in a few years now. I still go there one weekend a year because my friend has an A-frame right off the mountain & a bunch of us get together there every year but I won't ski Hunter. Maybe this year when we get together I'll give Platty a try again, haven't been there in 30 years. Don't feel bad for me because I to am semi-retired now & ski mostly weekdays in VT. I never liked the way Hunter skied anyway, every trail off the top ski's like it's chizzled into the side of the mountain which they are. I much prefer skiing a natural fall line.
 

dmc

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I hate these threads because they quickly degrade to Hunter bashing..

Everyone that knows me - knows that I believe that people that are not advanced skiers tend to hate Hunter because there's really no easy way down from the top.. Rather than admit that they can't actually handle hardpack - they blame the mountain to save face..
And the couple trails that intermediate skiers CAN ski get icy because they are ALL on it and they can't edge hardpack so they slide..
I stay off Hellgate and Belt Parkway - we(Hunter Regulars) all do...

Also many of these opinions are generated from Holiday weekends... And DUH(!!!!) it's going to be crowded on a Holiday weekend... I've heard people complain about Hunters lift based upon the weekend we got 7' of snow and the lifts couldn't run because the power went out for 3 days... Which is just ridiculous..

Anyone I know and respect as a great skier or rider loves Hunter...

And yes - there are a lot of characters at Hunter.. Midweek when the Woodstock crowd is around you can meet all kinds of cool characters..

It's the ski area of NYC.. You either love NYC or you avoid it..
 

4aprice

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IDK DMC its just grist for the ever grinding mill while we wait for the snow to fly. I had fun with the PA thread even though my home bump got skewered, I don't care. No ski area or resort will be everything to everybody. I'm a huge fan of Hunter and always have been. Best mt south of Vermont. Plattekill is favorite, Hunter the best. Your a wealth of information on the place so I appreciate your input.

Alex

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rev bubba

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Agreed. I can get a weekday season's pass anywhere in the Catskills but I pick Hunter because it is far and away the best of the lot. Hell, I also have a season's pass for Mountain Creek so obviously I don't pay much attention to what I read on line but rather the reality of where the best skiing is for me.
 

dmc

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IDK DMC its just grist for the ever grinding mill while we wait for the snow to fly. I had fun with the PA thread even though my home bump got skewered, I don't care. No ski area or resort will be everything to everybody. I'm a huge fan of Hunter and always have been. Best mt south of Vermont. Plattekill is favorite, Hunter the best. Your a wealth of information on the place so I appreciate your input.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ

Just doing what I can to help out my town that's tied to the ski area..

I learned to snowboard at Vernon Valley... :)
 

goldsbar

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From a perspective where I need the whole family to have fun:

1. Belleayre - good kids program, fun bumps/woods and friendly vibe on the days when they're not giving out free tickets to seemingly everyone but me.
2. Plattekill - awesome place, but #2 because it really needs good snow years and it's a further drive.
 
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