Plattekill 3/02/2014

Noticed a few Catskill threads from this past weekend so figured I'd add my own experience. Looks like there were a few of us at the same mt, yet from reading these trail reports we probably had vastly different impressions.

First a little bit of bg, this was the 2nd time I'd ever been to Plattekill. I went earlier this year for the ISKINY promotion in January.. at that point there were only a few ways down but it did give me a sense of the terrain and what I could expect if I was able to return when there was more snow and the trees filled in. I mainly ski in VT because of their generous Boundary to Boundary tree policies, but its a hike to get to even So VT for me (from Jerz), so I would love to find a closer haunt to get my pow kicks. Long story short: Plattekill delivered.

I asked about the trees at the ticket window and the response was that they were "hard" but that there was definitely enough snow if I wanted to try. That's pretty much what I was expecting since we all know what happened last week with the thaw/refreeze cycle. I left the lodge kinda thinking damn, should have kept on driving north, but I was here now, so might as well enjoy it.

Last time I was here Northstar and Sundown to Shredded Mozz were standout runs. But I wanted to try another of their double blacks so after catching 3rd chair on the triple I went straight for Blockbuster. The grooming was less than spectacular this early in the morning. The cats had left some overflow ridges of crushed ice that cluttered the slope, running over any of these at speed would buck you pretty hard. Best to just stay away.

Next I figured I'd try one of the smaller trails off the double because again they were closed when I was here last. I chose Ridge Run which turned out not too bad. A little icy in spots but nice and windy as a change of pace. It also gave me a chance to scope the off trail conditions on the way down. They weren't looking great. Trail side was pretty crusty with just a dusting of fresh from the flurries that had been falling overnight.

But I had come here for trees, so next run I got down to business. Headed to the north facing aspects off the double again. I don't remember exactly where I dropped in. I usually just cut into slopes that I find favorable with some space between the trees and just let the mountain guide me down, trying to get as close to a BC experience as I can.

Once I found a good spot I did a sluff test to check the top surface:

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Looking good.

The untouched snow quality was so much better than expected. About 3-6" of soft surfable and sliceable sitting atop a crust hiding another 18" plus of coverage. The crust was hard enough to sit on top of, but broke easily enough to act as an extra cushion when needed.

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This meant that the drops were in play, and I was discovering that the North face had plenty to go around:

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Notice the porcupine hanging out in the trees tops? No I did not hit this one, a little to high at 12'+ for these conditions.

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But I sure did hit this wall at 6'+:

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I did another tree run after this on the south facing aspects off of overlook. Snow and the terrain wasn't as good as before, but who cares. The goods were there on the north facing slope so for the rest of the day I cycled between bomber carving runs of Northstar and Sundown (which were fantastic btw) and more Trees!! That's the beauty of their setup. A great little ski bowl, and definitely the best mt in the Catskills by far. Next time I hope to head back with even better coverage to try the other aspects.
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