Plattekill Mtn, NY: October Pow

Plattekill Mountain snagged bragging rights as the first ski area to spin lifts in New York this season. With six inches of snow on Thursday and over a foot on Saturday, Laszlo Vajtay, Plattekill’s CEO, made the call later that night.


While the decision caught some by surprise, Laszlo had indicated as early as Friday afternoon that if the second storm delivered over a foot, he would open for business.

ML and I had been discussing the possibility of skinning the mountain for turns since Thursday. And while we liked the idea of Plattekill being the first ski area in the state to open, we were selfishly hoping to have the hill to ourselves.

car accident

Our plan was to meet at the Mahwah Sheraton at 6:30am so we could arrive in Roxbury around 8am. But the storm that delivered dense powder to the Catskills devastated areas downstate, with downed trees, power outages and icy roads.

When I got caught for nearly an hour behind an accident on I-287, I assumed I’d miss my meet-up with ML242 and NJFreeSkier, and there wouldn’t be much untracked snow left.

Plattekill View

I was wrong. I was extremely jazzed that the guys waited nearly an hour for me: two great friends on a powder day. As we came in the valley at 9:20, Plattekill looked as enticing as ever, and the lifts weren’t yet spinning.

We pulled into the lot to find tBatt unloading his gear and not another skier in sight.  Things were looking good.

First Chair in NY State

We headed to the double. ML and I got on the first chair, followed by tBatt and NJFreeSkier. We were extremely stoked. In the last few years I’ve come to view lift rides as part of the fun of skiing, and this was no exception. My first-ever October lift ride looked promising.

We’d heard that Sean Riley, the noted local treemeister, had hiked for turns at sunrise. He’d kept his tracks discreetly off to the side leaving Plunge virtually untouched. It was game-on with smiles all around.

Magic Matt

Not all the trails had been mowed, and we stuck to what had been trimmed — Plunge, Freefall, Ridge Run and Face. I had difficulty handling the steepest headwalls. I couldn’t stop with any kind of a skid turn, as my front ski would slide out on the grass. The other guys had the chops to handle it all with ease, and they were a pleasure to watch.

The pick of the day for me was Ridge Run, the only blue trail we skied. It was completely untracked when we got to it late in the morning, and it was a pleasure top-to-bottom.


We skied into the early afternoon and then spent an hour out on the deck enjoying the sun and drinking some Guinness. The “crowd” was an interesting mix. The two old guys, Laszlo and I, yakking it up with a bunch maggots from TGR. A day at Plattekill that I’ll remember for a long time.

10 comments on “Plattekill Mtn, NY: October Pow

  1. Woot! Good for you guys! Harv, never forget that age and experience will always triumph over youthful exuberance.

  2. And I was winter camping with the kids….what a great weekend of snow! Thanks for the report!

  3. It really was a great day, and I’m stoked that Plattekill was the first to spin lifts in NYS. Couldn’t happen to a better area!

  4. The folks at Hunter, with their billion dollars worth of snowmaking equipment, must’ve been gnashing their teeth over this one: beaten to the punch by an old time, primarily natural area. As they say in real estate, it’s all location, location, location. Nice turns, Harv!

  5. I’m sure Hunter could care less..Encouraging people to come ski sub par conditions, might not be the best of ideas..James and I skied Platt on a thin base and left after 2 runs..Just too many snowsnakes and rocks..

  6. Hunter doesn’t give a hang about another ski area getting first lift-served turns. They’ll be making their money later. Here’s what Jason was referring to: Plattekill Feb 2008.

    I can’t compare the two days, but last Saturday definitely looked more scenic. Nice pix!

  7. I think of snowsnakes as being in the trees. We were basically skiing on a foot and a half of compressed snow that was on top of mowed grass on a beautiful sunny day. I’d say it was worth the effort!

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