Wednesday, August 20, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;64.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-08-20 22:28:11
Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chairlift towers go up as Pats Peak expands ski area

HENNIKER – The area’s biggest skiing expansion in a decade made its biggest move last week when a huge crane lifted 10 chairlift towers into position at Pats Peak.

“We’re in the construction phase, hot and heavy,” general manager Kris Blomback said. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

HENNIKER – The area’s biggest skiing expansion in a decade made its biggest move last week when a huge crane lifted 10 chairlift towers into position at Pats Peak.

“We’re in the construction phase, hot and heavy,” general manager Kris Blomback said.

In February, the 50-year-old ski area announced it was expanding onto a second hill, east of the current runs on Craney Hill.

This expansion, called Cascade Basin, which overlooks Route 114 south of Henniker village, opens 20 acres of new terrain and required a new chairlift. The hill has never been skied before.

Pats Peak will have four new runs on the hill when the area opens in December, and plans to add at least two more next year.

Starting almost as soon as the 2013 season ended in March, workers have been cutting trees, blasting ledge, moving earth, and installing miles of electrical lines and pipes to carry water for snowmaking.

The triple chairlift was purchased from an Ontario ski area several years ago and has been refurbished in preparation for its new life.

“We started with a survey, down to the tenth of the inch, of the runs,” Blomback said. “Then we placed stations at the top and bottom, then sited base stations” to hold the towers.”

Each base required 10-15 cubic yards of concrete to support the towers.

Once the towers are up, work can begin on installing the overhead cables and the chairs themselves. Then comes the testing and getting state certification.

Each run will be “just under half a mile,” with 100 percent snowmaking, Blomback said, covering almost 400 feet vertical.

“It’s similar to the valley area, a little bit steeper,” he said.

The expansion will include stretches of “glade skiing,” or skiing among trees, which is favored by skiers who otherwise might find a small mountain such as Pats Peak less appealing.

All of the open trails will be toward novice and intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

The area was started in 1963 by four Patenaude brothers, who opened it on a mountain owned by their father, Merle. They built a lodge with lumber from trees cut on the mountain and hewn in the family sawmill.

The area is now owned by Wayne Patenaude, third of the four brothers, and his wife, Sally, of Hopkinton.

It reports an average of 180,000 annual visitors.

The last major ski expansion in the region was the reopening of Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride in Francestown, which opened in 2003 after having been shut for 13 years. Last season, it added a high-speed, detachable quad chairlift, which is unusual for relatively small ski areas.

David Brooks contributed to this article. Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or dhimsel@nashua
telegraph.com.