History of Pats Peak
Pats Peak Ski Area, located in the only Henniker on Earth, opened for skiing on January 5, 1963. The Patenaude brothers combined Yankee ingenuity with the several businesses owned in the family to hand fashion a ski area. Back in 1962, the four Patenaude brothers spent a lot of time skiing. They also spent a lot of time standing in lift lines. So they decided to go home to Henniker and build their own ski mountain.
The Pats Peak Lodges are built from lumber cut from the mountain that was owned by their father, Merle Patenaude. Beams 30 feet long were hewn at the family’s sawmill. Construction of the main lodge began in the spring of 1962 by the four Patenaude brothers, friends, and family. The Peak Chair 1961 Model was built on our slopes in Fall of 1962 for opening in 1963.
Pats Peak remains today what it was decades ago: a family-owned ski area where friends and families return every season. It’s where you can feel safe letting your kids roam the mountain, then letting yourself go on challenging terrain.
Timeline Major Highlights
January 5, 1963:
Opened for Skiing!
After School Program Began.
Started to experiment with Snowmaking.
Night Skiing opened to public. Previously it was only used for the After School Program students.
Lodge moved to new location to be closer to parking and expanded 3x its original size. It’s former location is located 300 feet up the mountain, where the large evergreen tree today marks the former site.
Peak Double moved downhill.
Valley Double Chairlift added.
Snow White and the Seven Wells is installed: Snow White is the largest single snowmaking compressor in NE and is fed by the Seven Wells. The monstrous twin-piston compressor was once installed at the Packard automobile plant in Detroit and ran the factory’s air system. Built in 1936, Snow White has been the heart of Pats Peak’s snowmaking operation since 1972.
US National Slalom Championships held at Pats Peak. Due to snowmaking capabilities, Pats Peak had snow when other ski areas did not, therefore we were able to host this US National Slalom Championship event.
Hurricane Triple Chairlift installed.
Valley Lodge built.
1983- 1984 season:
Williwau handle tow lift installed.
First Season Snowboarding Rentals were available.
Adult/Corporate Racing Series “Beer League” started.
First Terrain Park on Squall Line.
Terrain Park moved to Upper East Wind.
Hurricane gets permanent snowmaking towers every 150 feet.
Terrain Park moved to Valley Slope (its current location).
J-Bar Lift installed on Gusty Slope.
The General Court adopted skiing as NH’s Official State Sport.
Vortex Summit Double Chairlift installed.
Central air-conditioning installed in the Main Lodge to accommodate Banquet Season.
Twister trail gets 100% wider.
A new PistenBully Park Bully is purchased.
40th Anniversary Season
First season of Pay-One-Price (POP) Program.
Main Lodge expansion started with Phase 1 of an expansion of the Pats Peak lodge, which added 8,000 square feet to the facility. Three thousand square feet of walkout sundecks extended from the third floor, facing the slopes.
Turbulence Triple chair in the Valley Area installed.
Valley Lodge expanded with the Rental Shop expanded from a 2,600 square feet to a 9,600 square foot facility.
Carpet lift added in the Beginners Area.
Sled Pub kitchen renovation completed.
(2) Grooming Snowcats including Kassbohrer Park Bully are added.
Air Conditioning added to the Valley Lodge for banquet season.
Main Lodge upgraded with a new cafeteria.
500-ft SunKid Wonder Carpet Lift on Bluster installed.
F5 Terrain Park and surface lift installed.
Alpine Training Center and Bear’s Club building expanded.
PistenBully 400 ParkBully is purchased.
New Ski Patrol summit building is built.
Snowbiking comes to Pats Peak.
Pats Peak Rental Shop is now a Burton Learn To Ride Center (LTR).
Additional Air Conditioning in the Sled Pub.
50th Anniversary of Pats Peak Opening under the same Patenaude Family Ownership. There is good reason to celebrate. In the highly competitive and fairly risky business of skiing, Pats Peak has shown it has what it takes not only to survive, but to thrive.
Backdraft trail added – a new trail on the “backside” of the mountain.
New Arrival Area complete with Clock Tower and Warming Area: This new entryway between the lodges is complete with a warming area, brick walkway, stone walls and granite steps.
New high-capacity Triple Chairlift to service (4) New Trails and (1) New Glade as part of the Cascade Basin Expansion, a new area on the backside of the main mountain with 100% snowmaking coverage.
(2) more New Trails bringing the Cascade Basin area to (6) Trails and (1) Glade.
PistenBully Park Pro Snowcat grooming machine is purchased to provide the latest specialized, cutting edge grooming technology.
Additional Seasonal Lockers to keep equipment at the mountain and not have to bring it back and forth, including some big family size lockers.
New high-capacity Triple Chairlift to replace the Peak Double Chairlift, doubling the capacity of the lift from 800 to 1,600 people per hour and added a conveyor carpet system at the bottom of the lift to make loading easier and faster, cutting down on the ride time to the summit.
New snowmaking compressor and continuing lodge expansion construction.
Lodge Addition to the Main Lodge: new enlarged bathrooms, an elevator, ski boot friendly stairs and additional lodge space.
The Main Lodge expansion received its finishing touches with a completed metal roof, new flooring on the stairways, finished woodworking and elevator installation.
Two New Grooming Machines are purchased: Prinoth Bison X and Prinoth Husky X
Parking Lot Upgrades: Almost all of the travel lanes regraded and paved along with the installation of new drainage to create a smoother ride through the parking lots.
New Large Outdoor Seating Area, complete with igloos and heated pavers for the winter and in the summer months a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony location.
The addition of a beautiful stone fireplace in the Valley Lodge.
Transformation in the Rental Shop where walls were knocked down, additional seating and sizing was added in the boot area to make renting an even more “user-friendly” experience.