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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.

Old Trail Map 64 65
Old Pats Peak Trail Map 1964-1965

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.

1968-1969 season:

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.

1969-1970 season:

Valley Double Chairlift added.

1972-1973 season:

10th Anniversary

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.

February 1974:

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.

1977-1978 season:

Hurricane Triple Chairlift installed.

Valley Lodge built.

1982-1983 season:

20th Anniversary

1983- 1984 season:

Williwau handle tow lift installed.

1988-1989 season:

First Season Snowboarding Rentals were available.

1989-1990 season:

Adult/Corporate Racing Series “Beer League” started.

1992-1993 season:

30th Anniversary

1995-1996 season:

First Terrain Park on Squall Line.

1996-1997 season:

Terrain Park moved to Upper East Wind.

Hurricane gets permanent snowmaking towers every 150 feet.

1997-1998 season:

Terrain Park moved to Valley Slope (its current location).

J-Bar Lift installed on Gusty Slope.

Snowtubing Began.


The General Court adopted skiing as NH’s Official State Sport.

1998-1999 season:

Vortex Summit Double Chairlift installed.

Central air-conditioning installed in the Main Lodge to accommodate Banquet Season.

Twister trail gets 100% wider.

2001-2002 season:

A new PistenBully Park Bully is purchased.

2002-2003 season:

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.

2003-2004 season:

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.

2004-2005 season:

Carpet lift added in the Beginners Area.

2005-2006 season:

Sled Pub kitchen renovation completed.

(2) Grooming Snowcats including Kassbohrer Park Bully are added.

Air Conditioning added to the Valley Lodge for banquet season.

2006-2007 season:

Main Lodge upgraded with a new cafeteria.

500-ft SunKid Wonder Carpet Lift on Bluster installed.

2009-2010 season:

F5 Terrain Park and surface lift installed.

Alpine Training Center and Bear’s Club building expanded.

2010-2011 season:

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.

2012-2013 season:

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.

2013-2014 season:

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.

2014-2015 season:

(2) more New Trails bringing the Cascade Basin area to (6) Trails and (1) Glade.

2015-2016 season:

PistenBully Park Pro Snowcat grooming machine is purchased to provide the latest specialized, cutting edge grooming technology.

2016-2017 season:

Additional Seasonal Lockers to keep equipment at the mountain and not have to bring it back and forth, including some big family size lockers.

2017-2018 season:

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.

2018-2019 season:

New snowmaking compressor and continuing lodge expansion construction.

2019-2020 season:

Lodge Addition to the Main Lodge: new enlarged bathrooms, an elevator, ski boot friendly stairs and additional lodge space.

2020-2021 season:

The Main Lodge expansion received its finishing touches with a completed metal roof, new flooring on the stairways, finished woodworking and elevator installation. 

2021-2022 season:

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.

2022-2023 season:

60th Anniversary

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.

2023-2024 season:

A Transformed Alpine Training Center and brand-new Race Training Area for the Pats Peak Ski Team.

East Wind trail received a night lighting facelift with all new poles, wires, and LED lights.

Work continues on the new State-of-the-Art 6-bay Mountain Operations Facility to open for the 24-25 season.

History Video Series