And Grandparent Hobbitts, Too.

Hobbitts can be found at Pat’s Peak, New Hampshire
Credit: Tamsin Venn

Skiing with grandchildren is one of grandparents’ great joys and comes with perks: easier slopes, hot chocolate breaks, and slower (maybe) pace. Some ski areas are more finely tuned to multi-generational skiing than others, based not just on the amenities but the spirit of the area.

Pat’s Peak in Henniker, southern N.H., is one such place. The old-time vibe of this popular area is the first clue things are going to be fun. Tyrolean-style architecture harkens back to the days when Austria set the scene with boiled wool jackets and “bending the knees”. Greeters stand by with signs that say, “May I Help You?” which avoids the usual stumbling search for the lunch area and ticket booth. Free or low-cost tickets take the bite out of days shortened by tired or cold grandkids.

Three beginner areas sit apart from the main slopes so no one crashes into the grandchildren under your watch. One is located in a hobbit-like stand of trees with a carpet lift free to everyone. Another beginners’ slope has a handle tow, and the third features the Bluster Carpet, the longest magic carpet in New Hampshire. Older grandchildren will enjoy catching air in the three terrain parks. Grandparents, if you’re brave, try a Snowbike lesson/rental. You get to sit down while you’re skiing.

The base lodge harkens back to the early 60s, nostalgia for many seniors.
Credit: Tamsin Venn

A spirit of sustainability has guided Pat’s Peak development since the four Patenaude brothers, seeking an area closer to home, built the base lodge out of local timber and opened the area in 1963. That spirit continued this year when Pat’s Peak replaced the old Peak Double Chair with a triple bought from Vermont’s Ascutney Mountain and refurbished, doubling lift capacity from 800 to 1,600 people an hour.

Two interconnected lodges spread the crowds. Signs encourage you to share the long tables and benches. A blazing stone fireplace warms the toes. Food is homemade daily, and the grandkids like the M&M cookies the size of small Frisbees.

Sometimes it just comes down to the vibe of the place. Pat’s Peak feels like an area where you can let the kids loose to ski on their own while you attack the serious expert terrain.

More Perks:

Ski New Hampshire’s 4th and 5th Grade Passport: Children from any state in these grades ski for a day at 34 Alpine and XC ski areas across N.H.

January’s Learn to Ski and Snowboard month: $39 beginner special, including group lesson, rentals, lift ticket.

Pat’s Peak

Henniker, N.H.

Vertical: 770 feet

Skiable acres: 103

Runs: 28. Novice 50 %, Intermediate 21 %, Advanced 12 %, Expert 17 %

4 triple chairs, 2 double chairs, 1 J-bar, 1 beginner handle tow, 1 park handle tow, 2 carpet lifts

100 percent snowmaking

Children five and under ski free with a ticketed adult. Day tickets are discounted for ages 6-17 and over 65, only $49 on weekdays. The beginner lift is $26 a day. Saturday night POP (Pay One Price) of $49 includes skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, rentals, lesson tips, and entertainment.

Click here for Pat’s Peak Trail Map

Pat’s Peak Update Video



  1. Great! I like hearing more about smaller family oriented areas that don’t cost a fortune and have good skiing.

  2. Looking to join other seniors for skiing in Vermont. Preferably MT Snow Any ideas?

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Look for ski clubs in your area. Click on Find Ski Buddies in upper right box. Will take you to National Ski Council Federation where there is a directory of clubs. Good luck.

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