Hard to believe the 2011-2012 ski season is gearing up already. This Columbus Day weekend, Plattekill Resort is hosting its annual “Platttepalooza” countdown-to-winter festival at the base lodge, including a ski gear and bike swap to benefit the hurricane relief fund, to help the Catskill communities devastated by Hurricane Irene. The equipment swap is run by Plattekill’s Volunteer Ski Patrol. The weekend event includes face painting and a bounce house for the kids, and local microbrews for the grown-ups, plus live entertainment by local bands, and scenic fall foilage chairlift skirides and mountain biking. I love Plattekill — it’s one of the last privately owned ski and summer resorts in the Northeast, which makes it a great family resort. Plattekill is in Roxbury, New York.