Plattekill Mountain is the natural snow capital of the Catskills. Plattekill is perfectly located to catch lake effect snow. There are no higher peaks between Plattekill’s 3500’ summit and Lake Ontario, meaning then when lake effect snow bands roll in from the west, they smack into the large catcher’s mitt that is Plattekill and drop snow…lots of snow.
Plattekill Mountain Ski Area
Plattekill Mountain ski resort is located in a uniquely snowy box canyon in the Western Catskills. Of all the Catskill ski areas, only Plattekill was built in its location for snow as opposed to ease of access. Consequently, Plattekill isn’t as easy to reach as Hunter, Windham or Belleayre, but is worth the drive because of its high elevation, north-facing slopes and abundant natural snowfall.
Plattekill has two main lifts – the Sunshine Triple and the Northface Double. Both lifts depart from the base area and head to separate peaks along a ridgeline. The two peaks are connected to one another via a saddle. From the summit, Plattekills 38 trails plunge back steeply to the base area with absolutely no run out.
The double chair is Plattekill’s main lift. It reaches the resort’s taller summit and serves Plattekill’s full 1100’ of vertical drop. The triple chair offers slightly less vertical than the double and is home to Plattekill’s wider and gentler slopes.
Crowds are never an issue at Plattekill as the resort restricts the number of lift tickets it sells so as not to overburden its lifts. Plattekill is typically only open Friday through Sunday, but it also opens on midweek days where Plattekill receives more than 12" of snow.
Plattekill Mountain Beginner Skiing
Beginner options are somewhat limited at Plattekill, but there are green trails from each of the two chairlifts back to the base. The Powderfull trail off the triple is our favorite because of the view it affords back up across to Plattekill's steep expert trails and the long views the skier's left looking out over the highest peaks in the Catskills.
Plattekill Mountain Intermediate Skiing
Intermediate skiers have 40% of Plattekill's skiable terrain from which to choose. Both the double and triple chair service a number of blue trails. Our favorite blue trails are off the double chair, both the Twist and Ridge Run trails offer windy, New England-style runs. On the triple side, a few switchback intermediate trails empty into two wide slopes - Shredded Mozzerella and Lower Face.
Plattekill Mountain Advanced Skiing
Advanced and expert skiers will love Plattekill. Plattekill boasts the most rugged terrain in the Catskills. Four expert trails highlight Plattekill's steep, double black diamond terrain. From lookers left to right these trails are Northface, Plunge, Freefall and Blockbuster.
Northface, the former T-Bar liftline, starts with a steep opening pitch before gradually relenting into a more intermediate pitch in its bottom half. Its width and less severe pitch make it the easiest of the four double black diamonds. Plunge cascades over a set of pitches and double fall-line rolls directly below the double chair.
Moving over another trail to the looker's right is the Freefall trail, the steepest at Plattekill. The entrance is more difficult to find than Plunge or Freefall, which means the powder lasts longer on snowy days. Lastly, the Blockbuster trail - the only double black diamond run accessible from the triple chair, is a fantastic bump run.
All of Plattekill's advanced trails are enhanced by the resort's generally outstanding snow quality and lack of crowds. The former is a product of 175" of natual snowfall, while the latter can only be explained because Plattekill is a bit more off the beaten path than its competitors. Expert skiers will be happy they took the road less travelled and visited Plattekill.
Plattekill Mountain Backcountry and Off-Piste Skiing
The tree areas between Plattekill’s trails are neither open nor closed and are not patrolled. With the support of the resort, local skiers have taken to thinning the trees in certain spots and a number of excellent gladed runs exist.
Plattekill Mountain Restaurants & Bars
As there is no base village at Plattekill, the options for restaurants and bars are limited to the base lodge. Downstairs in the lodge is a cafeteria offering standard ski lodge food.
Upstairs is Plattekill's bar which serves some of the best ski food in New York. The bar and seating area was all constructed by hand by Plattekill’s owner, Laszlo Vajtay. Be sure to take note of the K2 Grateful Day ski topplates that are embedded into the bar.
On weekends barbeque and sliced steak sandwiches with homemade sides are a big hit with the resort’s New York City-based skiers. Another popular favorite is Zwiec beer, served in 24 ounce bottles – a homage to Vajtay’s Eastern European roots. Tall windows let guests take in views of the steep Blockbuster trail as they sip their cocktails. Plattekill has taken to serving dinner on Saturday evenings.
Plattekill Mountain Village
The closest town to Plattekill is Roxbury, NY some 15 minutes away by car. Dining options are limited, but the Public Restaurant & Lounge across the street from the Roxbury Motel is a good choice.
Plattekill Mountain Accommodation
Unfortunately there is no on-mountain lodging at Plattekill. The closest lodging is in the town of Roxbury 15 minutes from the resort. We recommend the funky, eclectic Roxbury Motel. This botique hotel has a mix of brightly, decorated rooms and also offers a cocktail lounge. Ski and Stay packages are available in season.
Getting to Plattekill Mountain
Plattekill is approximately 2.5 hours from New York City. From New York City or Albany, take I-87 (NYS Thruway) to Exit 19 for Kingston. Plattekill is approximately 50 minutes west.
Plattekill Mountain Resort Statistics
Top: 3,500 ft
Bottom: 2,400 ft
Vertical: 1,100 ft
Skiable Area: 110 ac
Annual Snowfall: 175 in
Lifts: 3 (2 chairlifts, 1 surface lift)
Plattekill Mountain Pros and Cons
+ best expert terrain in the Catskills
+ most snow in the Catskills
+ one of the highest base elevations in the Northeast holds the snow
+ quaint, old-time ski resort feel
- limited beginner terrain
- limited, but improving snowmaking
Updated for Winter 2015-2016 - David B. Cronheim
The Grand View Lodge at Snow King Resort, sister property to the Snow King Hotel, adjoins Snow King Ski Resort in downtown Jackson. - See more at: /11075.aspx#sthash.axuyfMfB.dpuf