Chasing Plattekill Powder

At the end of this past week, I did some storm chasing.  A big low was slated to ride up the coast and bang into a big mass of fresh cold air from the Arctic.

Storm Chasing

At the same time, I was plotting my birthday ski at Plattekill.

This situation was problematic as the mother load was actually falling between me and the mountains. With moderate to heavy snows falling in the NY metro area, a state of emergency was declared by the governors of New York and neighboring states.


Late in the day on Thursday, the NY Thruway Authority announced that I-87 would be closed at midnight, reopening at 5am on Friday, weather permitting. By the time I got off work, the odds of getting past exit 19 on the Thruway before it closed were extremely low.

I hit the sack, woke at 3:30 and headed north, with no solid plan for what I would do if the “weather did not permit.”


The secondary roads near my house were loaded with unplowed snow and the going was slow. But to my astonishment, the state roads and the Thruway were really well plowed. Even better for me, the Thruway banned trucks from 5-8am.

Nobody was on the road. Traveling close to the speed limit the whole way, I did a three-hour trip in four hours, which to me was a small miracle.


I was the first guest in the Plattekill parking area and made first chair. The day started on the triple with tracks on Face: four inches of windblown pow on top of cord.

After that, we hiked from the triple to access terrain normally served by the double: Block and Freefall.

States of emergency and extremely cold temps left the slopes nearly empty. The skiers who made it took frequent breaks to warm up. The snow skied beautifully all day.

When the double started spinning we commenced our full-on assault. Plunge was especially nice. Even after it was completely cutup you could easily blast through the piles.

Lucian’s Line

There were many familiar faces, but because of the temps and the new snow, nobody waited. Eventually ML and I connected and pillaged everything: cut-up powder, untracked sides, trees and the trails under the double.

Plattekill at Sundown

Skiing that snow, without competition beyond friends, who shared a beer at days end, was the perfect birthday gift. The longer I live and the more I ski, the more I know that there is no place like Plattekill.

13 comments on “Chasing Plattekill Powder

  1. Platty is a great place to spend your birthday, especially on a powder day! Nice report and pics.

  2. Harv, nice to finally meet you, sorry we didn’t share more turns together, what a day! Things were pretty sweet yesterday too, nice soft snow on all the natural trails, fresh still to be found in the trees. Did you get a chance to ski skier’s right of Northface? That was exceptionally good since the snow from the groomed section was blown to the edge of the trail. It was funky, crusty in spots near the top, knee deep after that. Nice turnout on Saturday, one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen at Platty, still virtually ski on, a line did form at the double, 5 minute wait at most. Gotta love it, long live Platty, thanks Laszlo!

  3. Almost made my first trip up there, but I couldnt get it together in time. Looked like it was perfect!

  4. Happy Birthday Harvey. Wanted to buy you a beer for all your work with NYSB. I will be at Platty this Saturday. I’ll ask Laz to point to you, if you’re around. Again Happy Birthday.

  5. Hey Harv, miss you on SJ. Happy Bday! Mines on the 16th(Thurs) so maybe I can take off for my double nickel present !

    Great report and pics. You should hook up with Woody B, RickBolger, and Trackbiker at Gore on the 10th (Fri) tell them I sent you and get pics for me of them guys and you too! Ciscokid

  6. Skied Platty 3 of the past 4 days. Thursday we spent most of the day hiking over to enjoy the Utah powder on Plunge and Freefall. Saturday we marveled at the many good skiers who showed up and searched for fresh tracks in the woods. Sunday we enjoyed the best rainy day in memory. Clear skies, moguls on Plunge and Block, no crowd.
    There’s no place like home.

  7. Hi Harvey,
    thanks for the nice photo and it was good skiing with you while it was there.
    …many more to us all!

  8. This was a top 10 all-time ski day for me. Thanks to everyone who skied Plattekill, skied with me and/or stayed for beers. Awesome.

  9. I too was there that day… It was the first time I had ever been there and can’t wait to go back… I was at belle this past sunday and seemed like mother nature had taken back her bounty….. Crusted snow and Ice all over…. And hasn’t gotten better all week.. Wondering how platte faired with all of the warm temps and rain… I hope ULLR is getting his act together because it has been the PITS around here since 1/5……

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