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Pats Peak (2014)
Pats Peak
Henniker, New Hampshire
Status: Open
First Season:1962-63
Vertical Drop:770 feet
Standing Lifts:4 triples, 2 doubles, surface lifts
Past Lifts:1 double
Left: Pats Peak (2014)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
10/1/2017: Lift Construction Continues as October A...
8/9/2017: Summer Lift Construction Continues in Ne...
4/9/2017: Lift Construction Projects Already Under...
1/6/2017: Lift Construction Continues into New Yea...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located on the northeast face of Craney Hill in Henniker, New Hampshire, Pats Peak is one of southern New Hampshire's most popular ski areas. While many areas large and small have come and gone in the region over the past half century plus, Pats Peak has been able to gradually improve its facilities, attributing much of its success to a business model that avoids debt whenever possible.

Early Years

The Peak Double circa the early 1960s
The Peak Double circa the early 1960s

The roots of Pats Peak date back to early 1962, when Joe, David, Wayne, and Stuart Patenaude began to develop a ski area on Craney Hill. Half of the land was owned by their father Merle, while the other half was acquired for about $10 an acre. Four trails and two slopes were cleared with some of the resulting timber used for constructing a lodge uphill from the present day base area.

Pats Peak ski area opened on January 5, 1963, supported by a lift network consisting of a double chairlift, a T-Bar, and a rope tow. Night skiing was available on a semi-private basis.

With much of the initial terrain steep in nature, the novice Valley area was opened for 1963-64 season, serviced by a new 1,900 foot long T-Bar. Ralph Amsden was named area manager for Pats Peaks sophomore year. A World War II era Navy veteran, Amsden had previous worked at Carroll Reed Ski Shop and Mt. Whittier. Following the season, Amsden departed to manage the new Mt. Agamenticus ski area in southern Maine.

The base area circa the 1970s
The base area circa the 1970s

The base area was transformed starting in 1968, when the Peak double chairlift bottom terminal was moved downhill and work was started on a new, much larger base lodge nearby. Designed by Doug Wilkie, construction of the facility spanned multiple years, including during the poor 1969-70 season and the banner 1970-71 season. Meanwhile, parking was double and a new novice trail cut from the summit.

A double chairlift was added to the Valley area for the 1969-70 season.

In the midst of some bad snow years in the early 1970s, Pats Peak installed its large scale snowmaking system for the 1972-73 season. "Snow White and the Seven Wells" referred to what was then considered the largest air compressor in New England (made in the 1930s and found by Joe in Maine), and the series of wells providing water (likely drilled by Wayne's Contoocook Artesian Well Company).

Pats Peak's snowmaking system enabled it to host the United States National Slalom Championships in February of the rough 1973-74 season. Soon thereafter, Pats Peak Academy was launched, providing racers with slope time while teaming up with New England College and New Hampton School for academics.

The Valley Area in the early 1970s
The Valley Area in the early 1970s

For the 1977-78 season, Pats Peak constructed the Valley Lodge and installed one of the state's first triple chairlifts. A Borvig model, the Hurricane served as the main lift at Pats Peak for the next four decades. Parking was again expanded in conjunction with the lodge and lift projects.

While many other areas shut down in the 1970s and 1980s, Pats Peak chugged along. Not only was it a regional racing destination, but it also hosted school programs with an estimated 5,000 children in 1986.

Base area improvements were made for 1987-88, as Pats Peak celebrated its 25th anniversary season. Base area projects continued for the 1988-89 season, as well as improvements to the Zephyr trail and the learn to ski slope. The Valley double received a new drive terminal for the 1989-90 season, while other trails were widened to improve skier capacity.

Lights were added to the Cyclone trail for the 1993-94 season, followed by Breeze for the 1995-96 season.

Lift and Base Area Improvements

As the mid 1990s arrived, Kris Blomback was promoted to general manager. Blomback later told SkyTrac, "first and foremost I consider myself a caretaker of this facility and want to make sure I leave it like a Boy Scout - better than I found it."

Snow tubing was added for the 1997-98 season, while a J-Bar was relocated from the recently closed King Ridge. The following year, a double chairlift was purchased from the recently closed Norwich University ski area and installed on the main mountain, providing racers and experts with a short, fast ride.

By the turn of the millennium, Pats Peak had grown its learn to ski program to serve more than 8,000 children each season. The night lighting system had been replaced, chairlift drives upgraded, and snowmaking system optimized to put out more snow with less energy consumption and labor. Also around the turn of the millennium, glades were cut over a multi-year period off Hurricane, Zephyr, FIS Race Trail, and Puff.Snowmaking and lighting was installed on Zephyr for the 2001-02 season, improving night skiing for novices.

Pats Peak announced a massive five year base area expansion in 2002, including an additional 8,000 square feet of lodge space. The improvements helped the area to become a popular location for off season banquets and weddings. The 2002-03 season also saw the debut of the Saturday night Pay One Price ("POP") program, bundling a lift ticket, rentals, lessons, and snowtubing for $21.

Pats Peak's second triple chairlift was installed for the 2003-04 season. Named Turbulence, the Partek-Borvig triple chairlift took some stress off the Valley Double. Meanwhile, the snowmaking system was gradually improved, allowing Pats Peak to consistently be amongst the first areas in the region to operate each season, as well as to get 100% of its terrain open.

Lights were added to Blast for the 2004-05 season, which, coupled with the Zephyr addition three years prior, provided a continuous top to bottom run for beginners at night.

Pats Peak established itself as a go-to for bump skiers in 2006-07, when it installed lights and a new snowmaking system on the Hurricane trail. The fully-automatic SMI fan gun installation was the first of its type in New England, allowing for frequent resurfacing of the moguls. Night skiing was added to the adjacent Vortex trail the following season.

Cascade Basin

The debut of Cascade Basin on December 19, 2013
The debut of Cascade Basin on December 19, 2013

The Backdraft trail debuted for the 2012-2013, previewing development of the new $1 million Cascade Basin area. The new isolated trail pod opened on December 19, 2013, featuring a triple chairlift and new intermediate terrain. Two more trails were added to Cascade Basin for the 2014-15 season, providing terrain for all abilities.

The final day of the Peak Double and debut of the Peak Triple (2017)
The final day of the Peak Double and debut of the Peak Triple (2017)

In late spring 2014, Pats Peak purchased and removed the remaining lifts at Ascutney, VT, retaining the Snowdance Triple. Three years later, the lift was refurbished, upgraded, and installed as a replacement to the original Peak Double. Meanwhile, a long term main lodge expansion continued, as well as the installation of additional snowmaking equipment.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
November15%    (1 report)15 Open
December63%    (22 reports)63 Open
January91%    (41 reports)91 Open
February100%    (36 reports)100 Open
March96%    (18 reports)96 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Mar. 10, 2020 by nordicgal
Spring Snow, Spring Snow
Mar. 9, 2020 by nordicgal
Spring Snow, Spring Snow
Mar. 5, 2020 by nordicgal
Loose Granular, Frozen Granular
Feb. 26, 2020 by nordicgal
Corn, Loose Granular
Feb. 24, 2020 by nordicgal
Loose Granular, Loose Granular
Pats Peak on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Lift Construction Continues as October Arrives - Oct. 1, 2017
Summer Lift Construction Continues in New England - Aug. 9, 2017
Lift Construction Projects Already Underway - Apr. 9, 2017
Lift Construction Continues into New Year - Jan. 6, 2017
Multiple Ski Areas Now 100% Open - Jan. 19, 2016
Pats Peak Accelerates Cascade Basin Expansion - Oct. 30, 2014
Ascutney Lift Removal Completed - Aug. 26, 2014
Pats Peak to Add New Trails in Cascade Basin - Aug. 5, 2014
Ascutney Lifts Sold to Pats Peak - Jun. 4, 2014
Pats Peak NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
Eastern Novice Area
Cancelled
1970s
Valley Area
Open
1963-64
Cascade Basin
Open
2013-14

Image Gallery
1964 Merrimack Valley Region Guide1973-74 Eastern Ski MapFebruary 23, 1976 Nashua Telegraph
View All Images in Pats Peak Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
Load testing the install in December 2013
Cascade Basin Triple
Von Roll
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2013-14
The Gusty J-Bar in 2002
Gusty J-Bar
Hall
J-Bar
1997-98
The Hurricane Triple in 2002
Hurricane Triple
Borvig
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1977-78
The base terminal (2018)
Peak Triple
CTEC
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2017-18
The Turbulence Triple in 2003
Turbulence Triple
Partek-Borvig
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2003-04
The Valley Double circa the early 1970s
Valley Double
Mueller-CTEC
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1969-70
The Vortex Double in 2002
Vortex Double
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1998-99

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Bluster J-Bar in 2002
Bluster J-Bar

J-Bar
1969-70
-
2005-06
The bottom terminal (1960s)
Knight T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1962-63
-
1997-98
The Peak Double circa the 1960s
Peak Double
Mueller
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1962-63
-
2016-17
The bottom terminal (1960s)
Valley T-Bar
Mueller
T-Bar
1963-64
-

Maps
1962-63 Pats Peak Trail Map1963-64 Pats Peak Trail Map1967-68 Pats Peak Trail Map1968-69 Pats Peak Trail Map1969-70 Pats Peak Trail Map1970-71 Pats Peak Trail Map
View All Pats Peak Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2020s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2019-20$75.002019-20 Ticket Price Graph$559.002019-20 Season Pass Price Graph7.5 daysNovember 29March 152019-20 Skier Visit Graph
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$72.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$559.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph7.8 daysNovember 23March 312018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$70.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$549.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph7.8 daysDecember 2April 12017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$68.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$549.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph8.1 daysDecember 10March 262016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$66.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$539.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph8.2 daysDecember 5March 272015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$64.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$529.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysNovember 22March 292014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$62.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$519.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph8.4 daysNovember 30March 302013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$60.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$499.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysNovember 30March 312012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$58.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$469.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph8.1 daysDecember 17March 23160,0002011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$56.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$449.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph8.0 daysNovember 27March 27160,0002010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$54.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$429.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph7.9 daysDecember 11March 282009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$52.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$419.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph8.1 daysNovember 22March 282008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$49.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$389.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph7.9 daysDecember 1April 62007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$48.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$369.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph7.7 daysDecember 9March 252006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$47.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$349.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph7.4 daysNovember 26March 26150,0002005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$43.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$349.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph8.1 daysDecember 11March 27146,0002004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$42.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$349.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph8.3 daysDecember 6March 282003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$40.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$495.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph12.4 daysDecember 7March 302002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$40.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$495.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph12.4 daysDecember 21March 172001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$39.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 9April 12000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$39.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph$495.001999-00 Season Pass Price Graph12.7 daysDecember 22March 261999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$38.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 19March 281998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$36.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 13March 291997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1996-971996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 14March 301996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1995-961995-96 Ticket Price Graph1995-96 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 9March 311995-96 Skier Visit Graph
1994-95$33.001994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 191994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 271993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$28.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$28.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 71991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$28.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$25.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price Graph1989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$24.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$22.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 191987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$20.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$19.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$18.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$17.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$16.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price Graph1981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$15.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$12.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$12.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$11.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$10.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph$140.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph14.0 days1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$10.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-75$10.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price Graph1974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1973-74$9.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$9.001972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$8.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$8.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$7.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$6.001968-69 Ticket Price Graph$75.001968-69 Season Pass Price Graph12.5 days1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$5.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 181967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-671966-67 Ticket Price Graph1966-67 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 151966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$5.001963-64 Ticket Price Graph$65.001963-64 Season Pass Price Graph13.0 days1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$5.001962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 51962-63 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I worked for Pat's Peak for 12 straight years in the kitchen. To this day, it's the best job I ever had. Made a ton of friends from the exchange student program. Miss working there every day."
Brandon McIlvene, Dec. 27, 2019
"I joined the Pat's Peak Ski Patrol as a volunteer in 1980 and retired 25 years later. I learned so much about skiing, first aid and community service during my career! My son grew up from nursery to racing and we made many wonderful lifetime friends. "
Judith Nicholson, Dec. 26, 2019
"As a hometown resident....when Pat's Peak was first developed, we learned to ski there and spent many, many hours on all the slopes. We were blessed to have this area so near and so reasonably priced. Many memories."
Gail Crane, Dec. 20, 2019
"I went to Academy at the peak and later on started my ski instruction career at the peak, this place is near and dear to me"
Olga Spanhoff, Mar. 14, 2017
"Had the privilege to start my coaching career at the Peak with a fabulous group of adults and kids. I remember working with Olga, I trust al is well with you."
Terry Leonard, May. 8, 2015
"i spent a few of my winters there going to a awesome small racing academy and getting great coaching from some of the best I love the Peak"
olga spanhoff, Jan. 10, 2014
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External Links
  • Pats Peak - official site
  • Last updated: December 19, 2019

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