Pats Peak looks to swap out chairlift

  • Pats Peak Ski Area is planning on swapping out its double chairlift for a triple ski lift. JENNIFER MELI / Monitor staff

  • Pats Peak Ski Area is planning on swapping out the double ski lift pictured above for a triple ski lift. —JENNIFER MELI

Monitor staff
Published: 7/7/2016 11:56:46 PM

Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker may swap out one of its double chairlifts for a triple chair, but it won’t happen any time soon.

The ski area has filed a site plan with the planning board for replacing the Peak Double chairlift, which runs from the left of the lodge to the top of the mountain, but Pats Peak General Manager Kris Blomback says the move is only preparatory.

“We just want to get ready,” he said.

The family-owned ski area doesn’t plan to make the swap this coming winter.

Blomback pointed to Pats Peak’s reputation for frugality, which has kept it in business since 1963 even as many similar-sized areas succumbed to debt.

“It may not happen if we have another bad year,” said Blomback, referring to the dismal 2015-16 winter, which saw the number of paid ski and snowboard visits drop by about a third due to warm temperatures and patchy snow cover throughout the Northeast.

Like many ski areas, Pats Peak has been expanding its off-season business. Blomback noted that it has “40 to 50 weddings” booked.

Pats Peak was started by four sons of Merle Patenaude on land owned and logged by their father, and is still owned by one brother, Wayne Patenaude. It drew attention in 2013 when it expanded onto adjoining Craney Hill, opening what it calls Cascade Basin – a connected area served by a separate chairlift – that was the first enlargement of its boundaries in its half-century of history. The company now owns about 400 acres.

The replacement triple chairlift will be a refurbished system from Ascutney Mountain, a Vermont ski area that shut down in 2010, Blomback said.

Ascutney was also the source of a high-speed detachable quad chair bought by Crotched Mountain Ski Area in Francestown, which installed it three years ago.

The Henniker planning board is scheduled to hear the application at its monthly meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the town community center.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313, or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)




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