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First Trip to Plattekill - March 21st

j law

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What a pleasant surprise... For multiple reasons. Better terrain and conditions than expected with a slightly shorter drive from NYC too!

As I've written before, I'll drive almost anywhere for a powder day. But with no new snow in the glades at Jay, magic, gore or Kmart, my plan for this past Saturday was up in the air.

This was going to be my only ski day of the year... so do I chase 6 inches of snow in the Pocono's, or make the drive to better terrain (probably southern VT)?

Ultimately it was an audible based on a couple factors:
-I was worried it wouldn’t soften up until 2 pm in Southern VT
-I figured the snow in the Pocono's fell on Friday and there wouldn't be fresh tracks or trees to explore
-I wanted to explore somewhere I'd never been and would have terrain that would entertain me on a relatively boring day. I had read favorable reviews of Plattekill from people on this site who I don't know, but whose opinion I respect so I pulled the trigger.

I instantly loved the vibe ... And realized I stumbled upon a gem that has a mini Magic feel to it. The Northface double chair accesses a nice steep pitch with glades and tree shots running everywhere. Aided by numerous bike paths, the skiable terrain for a tree skier far exceeds the 110 acres they tout.

Arriving at 10am, there was about an inch and a half of dense new snow. Unfortunately, the trees had to stay off limits as the new snow wasn't enough to keep the woods from being too slippery to be safe. After staying on the groomed part of The Plunge and Northface for a while (which quickly worked my out of shape legs) I found one of the shallow angle bike trails in the woods. I think it was my fourth run and I instantly knew I might not ever go back to Hunter or Bellaire.



Fresh snow in the woods and not another skiers tracks in sight! The snow was starting to warm up... And as it did, it started to bond to the slick snow underneath forming a great type of corn snow that I've never really seen before.

The next 120 minutes were fantastic! The conditions suddenly allowed ripping through the trees, even though I naturally hesitated since it was icy in the morning (and I am way out of shape by my standard). I still got some really nice shots where I got to straightline some great terrain as the heavy nature of the fresh snow actually skied more like it was 4 or 5 inches of powder.

Then all the sudden it got a bit warm and the snow suddenly got heavy and a bit too sticky. After my only fall of the day (close to a tree), I knew my window of time in the trees was over.

I took a break for lunch, falling in love with the lodge and families hanging out there. It felt similar to growing up at Buffalo Ski Club where everybody knew each other (was I the only person who didn’t know anyone?)

After lunch, it dropped below 32 and everything firmed up so it was time to head home. I would love to be here on a fluffy powder day… and while I’m sure they don’t happen too often I now have to keep it in my consideration set for a powder day given all the tree skiing on a nice steep pitch.

And now having a newborn boy, I hope that this will be his favorite “local” area as he grows up… I wish I had that terrain when I was a kid!
 

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Scruffy

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Hey, I was up there that day too. The woods were awesome, and as you stated, very few people skiing them. Platty is indeed a mini Magic, but one disturbing thing I noticed this last trip, they groomed everything. The only bumps they left were on extreme left side of Plunge and Blockbuster. Their website stated they were 100% open, yet Freefall, which they keep as a natural terrain trail was closed, the Cliffs trail was also closed. Good thing the woods were so good. I'm hoping that was an anomaly, and not a policy change as a direct result of them increasing their snow making capacity. We'll see. But yeah, they deserve a lot of credit for eking out a different business model and offering a different experience than their competitors.
 

j law

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they groomed everything. The only bumps they left were on extreme left side of Plunge and Blockbuster. Their website stated they were 100% open, yet Freefall, which they keep as a natural terrain trail was closed, the Cliffs trail was also closed.

I noticed that too but since it was my first time there I didn't have anything to compare it to.

My perspective is that (for this time of the season), they have it just about right. They need to groom this time of year to keep the snow for as long as possible. Plus there is still a solid base of 12-24 inches in the woods so there is plenty of "natural terrain" for those of us who like it in the trees.

I also agree about your point on the business model. On another thread people were saying how Elk is the anti-Plattekill, and how much that sucks.

All week I've been asking my 3 month old son if he wants to go to Plattekill!
 

legalskier

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The Belleayre trees were absolutely awesome all weekend; plus none of the bump runs were knocked down. What a weekend, and then some. So good I stayed for an extra day.

 

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j law

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Interesting... I guess I haven't been to Belleayre in so long that I didn't even remember if they had any legitimate tree skiing. How does it compare to Plattekill?
 

legalskier

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Interesting... I guess I haven't been to Belleayre in so long that I didn't even remember if they had any legitimate tree skiing. How does it compare to Plattekill?

Much more terrain. Belle is in a state park so you can go wherever you want. On the east side, Cathedral Glen is immense (that's where I took that pic), and on the west side you have Dreamcatcher...with lots of tree areas and glades in between (just look for the tracks in the woods when you're skiing the crossing trails). The steeps on Platty's north face have a longer sustained pitch, while Belle's are more like steps with steeps up high and occasional steeps below. This was below Roaring Brook near Ashokan- it's steeper than it appears:
 

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steamboat1

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Stopped at Platty last weekend, didn't ski. Just picking up a pin I didn't have. Stopped at Gore too, same thing. West Mtn. & Hickory don't have pins.

Not to much natural at West or Gore. Platty & Hickory looked decent.
 
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marcski

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Sure good legal skiier keep people coming to bell so I don't have more people in Roxbury thanks.
Lol. I agree Scotty.

I find that Belle has about 200-300' of steep up top and then the rest is all runout. I hear the sidecountry trees are fun although personally, I've never ventured OB at Belle. IMHO, it pales in comparison to Plattekill.
 

legalskier

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I find that Belle has about 200-300' of steep up top and then the rest is all runout.

That's the impression of those who don't take the time to search for the goods. Shame you're depriving yourselves.
Both pics up there ^ are actually quite far down the hill.
 

marcski

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That's the impression of those who don't take the time to search for the goods. Shame you're depriving yourselves.
Both pics up there ^ are actually quite far down the hill.
It is the impression one gets when skiing the marked trails. They just don't have any consistent steeps. Like I said, I have heard the sidecountry trees ski well, but any trees between trails just aren't steep except for the top couple hundred feet. Plus, IMHO, most of the trails ski the same.
 
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