Ski lift chairs hot items at Pats Peak

Chairs made of flat, unforgiving wooden slats and rigid steel frames might not sound appealing at first, but toss in a dose of nostalgic memories and you’ve got a hot-selling item.

Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker found out as much this month, as they sold all 92 of their old Valley Double chairs in just over three weeks to a variety of collectors and longtime local skiers.

The mountain installed a new, wider chair lift in 2010 and decided the old chairs could still be valuable to its customers.

Marketing assistant Jessica Gilbert said the last of the chairs sold June 17. She said several people bought the chairs as memorable tokens; a few customers even said they got engaged on one of the chairs.

“We were pleasantly surprised (at how fast they sold),” Gilbert said.

Linda White, business director at Pats Peak, said the chairs are a “hot commodity” because mountains so rarely put them up for sale.

“In the first week we sold more than half of them,” White said. “They don’t go on sale very often anywhere.”

In fact, Pats Peak had a few buyers from as far away as Colorado and California. The mountain was in the process of figuring out shipping costs for those people, White said.

“They’ve been sitting here for a couple years, so we thought we might as well generate a little revenue,” White said.

The chairs sold for $195 apiece. Each one weighed 115 pounds and measured 8 feet tall, nearly 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep, but they made an easy fit for the bed of a truck.

The Valley Chair Double lift was first installed in 1969 after the mountain bought it from Mueller Lifts, of Switzerland. Mountain staff estimated that the 92 chairs transported about 10,000,000 skiers and riders in its four decades of service.

Dawn Beauchesne, of Concord, bought a chair in honor of her late husband, Mark Parris, who died five years ago.

Parris’ 50th birthday was June 7, and Beauchesne made arrangements to pick up a chair in Henniker that day. Whether it was random chance or fate, chair No. 50 was next in line to be purchased.

“When I made the arrangements to go pick it up, low and behold there’s number 50 sitting right there waiting for me,” she said. “That was just icing on the cake to have that chair and have it be his birthday.”

Beauchesne said many Pats Peak staffers also knew Parris, who was a familiar face at the mountain.

“He grew up at the Peak,” she said. “He spent his first day on skis (at age 7) at the Peak and even lived there in his 20s.”

Chair No. 50 will become a swing, Beauchesne said, hanging between two pine trees at her home.

Her family, friends and in-laws will get good use out of it for years to come, she said.

“It’ll be great to have it be there for everybody to sit around and have some cold beers,” she said.

Pats Peak is asking anyone who bought a chair to send pictures to the mountain for a contest, and the winner will take home a $200 Pats Peak gift card. The contest runs from Oct. 3 to Nov. 7. Look for Pats Peak Ski Area on Facebook for more information.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com.