Skiers love Plattekill Mountain for its untamed feel and wealth of natural powder. “We’re lucky with snow,” says owner Danielle Vajtay. “We’re the western ski mountain in the Catskills, and we get lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes. When that weather system comes across here, it
tends to dump.” All that lovely snow dumps on what one Plattekill fan called “the most diverse terrain in the Catskills” on Yelp. Plattekill has 38 trails, an 1,100-foot vertical drop, and a terrain park—small compared to some mountains, but far from limited.
“After a big dump you, can still find acres of untracked powder even late in the afternoon. You can’t find that even out west,” marvels another reviewer. “I found exceptional narrow, windy, New England-style runs, and several lines through the woods. There is also a natural, easy way down. All runs meet at the bottom, so if the natural trails are open, it is perfect for families or groups with skiers of varying ability,” says yet another Yelp reviewer.
All that natural snow is a beautiful thing when it happens, but Plattekill is ramping up its snowmaking ability to guarantee skiers a good time, regardless of weather patterns. New this year: 1,900 feet of pipe and 21 snow guns aimed at Shredded Mozzarella, the mountain’s beloved terrain park trail. “The younger generation especially seems to love the terrain park, but most everybody wants to at least give it a try, so we have all kinds of levels,” says Danielle. “We’ve got rails, boxes, jumps—the things that these kind of skiers can spend all day having fun with and perfecting their moves. The firepower we’ve added means that, within a day or so, we can get a big pile of snow there and make the park perfect, no matter the weather.”
The “21-Gun Salute,” as they’re calling the addition to Shredded Mozzarella, isn’t the only improvement skiers will notice this year. “We’ve got all new rentals; we’ve been swapping out older skis and snowboards for state-of-the art equipment,” says Danielle. “We’ve also made some improvements to the base lodge and parking lots that will improve the overall experience.”
Plattekill opens on weekends and holiday weeks to one and all; during most weekdays, it’s made available for families, groups of friends, and organizations that want to enjoy the dream of their own private mountain.
Plattekill opens on weekends and holiday weeks to one and all; during most weekdays, it’s made available for families, groups of friends, and organizations that want to enjoy the dream of their own private mountain. “Being smaller and privately owned, we decided to capitalize on our strengths, and one is the opportunity to make the mountain yours for a day,” Danielle says. “Where, besides a ski resort, can you have your wedding vows on a mountain peak and then a reception at a cozy lodge? And corporations love to be able to offer a scenic chairlift ride and some skiing or tubing after a morning’s retreat work and a tasty lunch.
“We’ve got a really cool thing going here these days,” says Danielle happily. “Experts love the natural terrain; we have two peaks and a bowl, it’s pretty steep, and way back when, that was the impression people had of us: great for experts and backcountry skiers. We’re still off the beaten path, with that private, laid-back feel, but we have a two-mile beginner trail and a carpet lift. An expert would be happy here, a beginner would be happy here.”
Opting to put their resources into improvements rather than advertising, Danielle says, means that Plattekill relies on satisfied customers to spread the word. “We’ve always had good word-of-mouth out there, and social media is word-of-mouth on steroids. People who talk about their experience, that’s better than a full-page ad. And when you come here, you’ll see that we strive to live up to all those nice things people say for each and every guest.”
“We’re still off the beaten path, with that private, laid-back feel, but we have a two-mile beginner trail and a carpet lift. An expert would be happy here, a beginner would be happy here.”–Danielle Vajtay, owner
469 Plattekill Road, Roxbury