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Plattekill February-16/17-2014

lerops

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This one's really late, just didn't get to it and also dog ate my pictures. :oops: But better late than never.

My first time. I had skied the other ones in the Catskills. I really loved Plattekill and how it skis, I can say that it is my personal mountain in Catskills now. I am an inexperienced but extremely enthusiastic (read: obsessed) skier. Snow was excellent, mountain is not cut into upper and lower parts, which really improves how it skis and most importantly it was not crowded. Not at all, on a President's Day weekend. The longest lines I saw over the two days was on the left turn to Belleayre Sunday morning. Seriously, when we were driving on 28, there were a lot of cars. And they all took a left turn at Belleayre! And I loved the vibe. I was expecting a lot of hard core skiers, mostly guys (not that there is anything wrong with it). But there were a lot of families, a lot of women and kids. I was really surprised with the vibe. People seemed to know each other, too. Must be a lot of locals.

We drove in 2 hrs and 10 minutes, and got there around 8:15am, but with the kid, lessons, etc., didn't make the first chair. Put her in ski school and started skiing. First run, met a guy on the chair, who had been there before. Nice guy. Took some turns together on the Triple and got a handle on the layout. I really liked Upper/Lower Face, and how empty that trail was. Basically skied on to the lift most of the time. Then I switched over to the Double to try that side, stuck to the blues initially to get a sense for it. Then I ran into the same guy again (which is pretty easy at Plattekill and I like that simplicity). He convinced me to ski Northface with him, and I did OK. I think that was my first time skiing double diamonds in a long time, and confidence builder.

Then I went in to meet my wife and daughter, found out about the ski school disaster (more on that later). Lodge was incredibly crowded. We were on the top floor. It was probably the most crowded lodge I've ever seen, maybe next to a long awaited 2 feet snow day at Alta. Given how empty the trails were, it was really surprising. After lunch, the Triple was busy with 10 chairs or so (I was spoiled!), so went straight to the Double and lapped NorthFace most of the afternoon with some other interesting trails in between on that side. My legs was burning, so I decided to go back to ski on the bunny slope with my daughter for some time. Then skied the Triple and at the end of the day my legs were burning but I didn't want to quit, so decided to ski the green trails. I am glad I did, I came across this view of the 3 double diamond trails on the Double from Powder Puff. Would have been a better picture if it wasn't so cloudy, but you can't have it all.

IMG-20140216-00171.jpg

Stayed at the Roxbury Motel. Interesting place. Got dinner from a food truck outside of our room. Good stuff, and was easy; good thing with kids around!

On Monday, got there around 8:30am. My wife wasn't feeling like skiing much, so she volunteered to ski with our daughter on the bunny slope. I started on the Triple again to warm up, and the groomers were really nice from the snow that started late afternoon the day before (not to mention the 2-3 feet in the last 10 days or so!) and switched over to the Triple quickly. I decided I'd try some more challenging stuff for me. I lapped the Plunge, Giant Slalom and North Face with others in between. Then I skied the lower 2/3rds of Blockbuster. What I gathered from these two days was that I really need to learn how to ski cut up snow and moguls. I got down anything I attempted without any real issues, but the harder stuff really tested my skills. I wasn't skiing well, was rarely connecting my turns, etc. I think the picture below is from Plunge. I like how the base shows up down there.

Stamford-20140217-00175.jpg

Then I skied with my daughter again for an hour or so, skipped lunch to ski more and left around 2:30pm for a commitment in Westchester at 5pm.

Will definitely go back there, but probably by myself. So, it will be less frequently than I'd like, at least until my daughter can do the green trails there. The ski school was a terrible experience. We put her in the whole day program after they told us that instructors help kids with the handle tows. I saw my daughter carrying her skis uphill from the lift! My wife was watching for a while, and apparently our daughter was sitting on the snow for half an hour doing nothing. My wife asked the teenage instructor at the end of the lesson why she was sitting there, and they just shrugged it off saying that there were a lot of kids. My daughter said that they only did 2 runs the whole morning. We complained to the ski school, and pulled her out for the afternoon, and did not put her in lessons the next day either.

The problem is that at this stage (this was her 5th day on skis), anything that discourages a kid is bad. I am trying to make her love this and do it for a lifetime, and some teenage instructor thinks that it is OK to have a 4 yr old carry skis uphill, and then just sit on snow during the lesson doing nothing; just so that they don't have to help them with the handle tow. It is not the money, it is the unhappiness of a kid with skiing. Afterwards, skiing with Mom and Dad helped a bit with the discouragement. Let's see what Smuggs will do next week. Should be great!

Anyways, will be back to Plattekill when conditions are good again. Love the place, hate the ski school, though.
 

marcski

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A couple of responses to your post. I am glad you enjoyed Platty. The Sunday of President's Day weekend was, I believe, a record crowd for Plattekill. You didn't mention that cars were parked one full mile down the road from the resort!!! It was also very crowded for the ski school. They did more than double the lesson hours over President's Day weekend than they did over MLK. I think you will have a better experience on any other weekend you try Platty. I can still understand why you'd be upset. Did you try and talk to someone at the ski school desk. Everyone is usually very accommodating. Also, I have found that, at least with my girls, they wanted to ski and hang with Mom and Dad and not a ski instructor that they never met before. Maybe try a half day lesson and then spend a few hours skiing with your daughter as a routine?
 

Jersey Skier

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Great report. I was there that Sunday and it was definitely the most crowded I have eve seen it. But, like you said that was mostly only an issue in the lodge.

FYI, Smuggs ski school is the best. I started my son there when he was 3 1/2. He stated at the beginning of the first day that he was "going to hate it and make them come find us and bring him home." Not an issue. He loved it, couldn't wait to go back every day. Magic carpet on first day, chairlift by day two. Kid's race by day four. They have various show for the kids after 2 PM so the kids want to stay with their new ski school friends. She'll have a blast and Smuggs has very similar trails a Platty, but bigger.
 

Cornhead

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Oh man, I beginning to think Platty rules should be Fight Club rules, rule number one, don't talk about it. :p But seriously, glad you had a good time at Platty. If the longest I have to wait is the five minutes on President's Day Weekend, I can live with that. It was still pretty much ski on all day. I couldn't believe my eyes when I left and saw all the cars parked on the access road. Thanks to all who came to help keep this gem of the Cats viable.

Sorry you had a bad experience with their ski school. I imagine a busy holiday weekend isn't the best time to attend any ski classes. I think the employee could have definitely handled the situation better. Hopefully things will be much better at Smuggs. A good instructor can make a huge difference. When I first took my Son skiing he was struggling on his first trip down the bunny slope. An instructor noticed, skied in front of him backwards, something I couldn't do then, and aren't too sure I could do now. It was a make or break moment, he was off to the races after that run, and has been sliding on snow for the twenty years since. I am grateful that instructor took the time to help my Son. He wasn't instructing him, he just noticed he needed help.
 

lerops

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Thanks guys. No biggie on the ski school. I just took the mountain for what it is not (a good place for young kids to learn) and learnt from it. I am sure in a few years I will go back with my family and my daughter will have a blast on the actual trails. It is a great mountain.

Cornhead: Maybe we should burn all Plattekill TRs. :p
 

Cornhead

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Thanks guys. No biggie on the ski school. I just took the mountain for what it is not (a good place for young kids to learn) and learnt from it. I am sure in a few years I will go back with my family and my daughter will have a blast on the actual trails. It is a great mountain.

Cornhead: Maybe we should burn all Plattekill TRs. :p
I shared some turns with a guy from NYC at Platty when I first skied there, he said he doesn't even tell his friends about it for fear of changing the place. Don't let your bad experience with the ski school taint your view, there's plenty of terrain for beginners at Platty too. I enjoy a nice cruise down Powder Puff every now and then. Awesome views of the double's terrain towards the bottom, as in your next to last pic. Your daughter will enjoy it as her skill level progresses. Like I said, you couldn't have picked a worse time for lessons. I'm sure she'll have a better experience at Smuggs.
 

Wavewheeler

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I was at Platty the Friday before that weekend. No crowds all, anywhere. It was ski down and onto the lifts and I always rode the chair alone. It was the day after a foot of fresh powder had dropped down and if you like powder that was the day to go. I parked right in the lot too. Not much of a walk at all.

I never ski weekends now but I guess for most, esp with kids, you have little choice. Back when my daughter learned, around 2000-2001, she was 6 yrs old and I enrolled her in all day school at Mountain Creek, Camelback and Windham. I never had any problem. I'd drop her off and at the end of the day we'd ski together for an hour or so. By the time she was 9 she and I were skiing together. All through grammar, middle and high school, I took my daughter out of school for a week in February to ski. I would never go on a weekend.

The worst time to go to a ski school is on a big holiday weekend after a foot of fresh powder has fallen 48 hours earlier. Even at Plattekill. If you had gone Friday instead of Sunday I think you would've had a much better experience. ;)

BTW, I totally get what you mean by "The Vibe". It's like going back in time at Platty. You feel like you are at a friend's house skiing, not at a ski "resort". At least it was like that on a Friday, even before a holiday weekend, after a snowstorm.
 
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Wavewheeler

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Just some pics when I went Friday, 2/14..I'm told most times Platty is like this, even on weekends. I was at Hunter and talked to a mother with two kids (who skied very well) and recommended Platty to her because she took her kids out of school for a day to avoid the weekend crowds but wasn't happy about it and I told her about Platty. I think most times it's your best bet for weekend skiing. Plus, it's a cool place. I plan to take my daughter there. It'll be quite different from the usual.:)
 

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