Plattekill February-16/17-2014

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.

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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.

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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.
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