January 17, 2020
Day 11
Skiers: Carla & Erica

Ahhh Pats Peak how I love your little mountain! I was asked early on in my Talls & Smalls Adventure if there was any one mountain I would save for last as a celebration. I almost answered Pats, but decided my ski plan for the season was best left as flexible and open ended. Full discloser I am completely biased about how much I love this mountain. Pats is where I skied in high school after Highland Mountain closed, and also where Tim & I taught the girls to ski. The memories are priceless and I look forward to returning to Pats every year.

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Standing on deck looking towards parking lot. Left loading area and clock tower, right ski shop entrance lower level of main lodge.

I would classify Pats as a small ski area that skis large and has the most outstanding snowmaking and grooming in the state! They are 100% open with 28/28 trails including glades. This is stellar considering we experienced a crazy January thaw last weekend that skyrocketed temperatures in the low 60’s. The big mountains are struggling to recoup loss terrain that was sadly wiped out. Pats is family owned, has a dedicated tenured staff, and just is spectacular all around. Fun fact: all trail names are named after winds: Puff & Breeze are green, while Vortex & Hurricane are blacks. Note: Pats has joined with the Indy Pass this season and regular day rates are always affordable. Erica and I used our free vouchers from supporting CHaD to ski this evening.

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From deck looking towards the Peak Triple Chair

We arrived at 5pm for night skiing. The night was clear, with temperatures a brisk 4 degrees and windy = damn cold! For a Friday night they were rather busy as Pats is a popular destination for school programs in Southern NH. In my experience, the teens and tweens tend to congregate in the lodge more than in the lift lines, so while it took some finesse to find an open area to boot up, we skied onto all the lifts without wait.

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Looking towards base, Valley Lodge to the left, Main Lodge to the right

We started on the new Peak Triple chair to the summit with a loading carpet. This chair replaced the old Peak Double and I am so fortunate to have one of those old wooden double chairs; #51 selected for Tim’s high school football number. I have never seen or used a “loading carpet” before. You enter through a gate, which confused me as Pats uses traditional paper lift tickets, not RFID cards. Here’s a recap of what happened…. wicked embarrassing. I go through the gate and bam- there’s this fast-moving carpet and no snow to slide on, leading to a complete wipe out. I’m down, the carpet is still moving, the chair is about to swing around on top of me, and all I can envision is the opening scene of Laverne & Shirley when the beer bottles are flying off the conveyor belt and thinking this will be my dumb way to die. Thank goodness for astute lift operators who stopped the lift and helped me up and onto the chair. Thankfully the rest of the evening was uneventful and I conquered that carpet on subsequent runs.

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The Zephyr Glades, note the excellent coverage!

From the summit Erica chose Tornado for our first run. It was hard, smooth, and fast. We also did runs down Cyclone, East Wind, and Duster. We then skied Breeze to Zephyr, into the Zephyr Glades, and Blast to the Hurricane Triple chair. We did not venture over to Cascade Basin as that area does not have lights for night skiing. We also did not ski Hurricane tonight, but I was entertained watching many novice skiers giving it their all to pick their way down this beast of a trail. Hurricane is steep, bumped, and a showboat trail under the lift line. All kids aspire to conquer Hurricane, I think it’s a right of passage for all to try.

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Looking up Hurricane, from the Hurricane Triple chair

We took a break inside the Sled Pub for dinner. Again, total nostalgia factor in this choice, great food, great options on tap, and just a fun vibe & atmosphere. Erica elected to stay inside after dinner and I went back out to ski the lower valley area. There are two lifts here, the Turbulence Triple and the Valley Double. Turbulence Park is a fun area with rails, jumps, and I love watching the kids turn tricks here. There is a mini park off of blue trail Whisper that has great introductory jumps and wide low boxes. Then there is my favorite nostalgic green trail Puff and the Puff Glades. This is one of the best features of Pats, they have green beginner glades and beginner park terrain which is awesome as it allows the kids to explore in a safe non-expert level environment.

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A retro throwback to Erica age 4 skiing into the Puff Glades

I decided to call it a night around 830pm. The main lodge had pretty much emptied out at this point and that gave me time to explore. Newly opened this season is a lodge addition that added bathrooms, an elevator, ski boot friendly stairs and additional lodge space. The layout and design style are lovely and functional. We packed our gear and stopped into the café to purchase cookies for the ride home.

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No visit to Pats is complete without treating yourself to a world-famous cookie. Soft, chewy, a touch crisp on the edges, chocolate chips & M&M’s, they are just to die for!

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Cookies are HUGE, like the size of a dinner plate! Background Peak Triple chair & a view up mountain

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I had to turn the cookie sideways to fit inside my bag, it’s actually wider than my ski helmet


Pictures taken this evening do not do this mountain justice. I discovered that my iPhone is really limited for taking pictures after dark. I am adding in a few pictures from my photo archive to supplement.

Overall impression: Pats Peak is a gem of a mountain and a must have visit for any NH skier. This is a small mountain with a great variety of beginner terrain, but also enough expert terrain and fun glades to keep advanced skiers satisfied.

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive

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Retro throwback 2009, family picture with Boris the Bear the mountain mascot. L to R: Back row Tim, Boris, Carla. Front row Taylor, Kamryn (omg I forgot she was a boarder for a short while), our niece Sierra, Erica, and nephew Cameron

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My last throwback picture that truly emphasizes why I love Pats so much. This was Erica’s 5th birthday. She planned her party to be at Pats and invited the girl from the activity table, Snowball the mascot, Boris the mascot, and Roxy the mountain dog. It’s this type of family environment and caring for the customer that makes Pats stand out and thrive among the big mountains!