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Pat's Peak in Henniker, NH | Go Play in the Snow

Pat’s Peak in Henniker, NH | Go Play in the Snow
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Even native New Englanders have gaps in their areas of supposed expertise.

The moment of truth...
The moment of truth…

In winter, we grapple collectively with light deficiency, black ice, stalled cars, and super cold, with varying degrees of good and bad grace, but overall we’re fairly secure in our grasp of winter, despite the tendency of weather forecasters to spin each winter storm as a snowy Armageddon.

Lucky for us, to balance things out, we have also perfected the art of winter play, day or night.

Day or night Day or night

From ice fishing, skating, and cross-country skiing, to sledding, ice gliding, snowboarding, and downhill racing, there’s a sport for just about every skill level.

It's not that exhausting... It’s not that exhausting…

We know winter. And most of us are generally familiar with at least one or two types of winter sports. But every now and then…

Something new... Something new…

…we try something new. And that’s what keeps winter fresh.

Ski resorts are getting awfully creative with their offerings these days, so even those of us who aren’t the most graceful skiers or snowboarders have options. And that’s what we tried out last week.

An option.

Skiing is serious business. Snow tubing is not.

Coming and going Coming and going

The fact that the two can coexist, side by side, at a ski resort is fantastic. The skilled and the unskilled are sharing the slopes, and who’s to say who’s having more fun?

A proud moment A proud moment

Less than an hour’s travel from home, we were pulling into the parking lot at Pat’s Peak in Henniker, NH. This adorable, family-built, -owned, and -run ski resort looks like a place where hobbits would go to ski—the old-time Tyrolean vibe mixes with jazzy skis lined up like swizzle sticks at the foot of the mountain. LodgesFour Patenaude brothers put the place together 50 years ago, with retro-cool ski lodges constructed from trees cleared from the mountain. It’s no stick-in-the-mud ski resort, either—26 trails, assorted glades, night skiing, and terrain parks, but that’s not why we’re here.

We’re here to tube. And most of us have never gone before.

We’re a mixed group, ranging from a couple of fearless top-notch downhill racers, to a few of us who vote green every time, and one lovely resident of Hawaii who had never seen snow before this trip East. In other words, we are the full spectrum.

Ready for takeoff Ready for takeoff

Snow tubing, let me make it clear, requires practically no skills whatsoever.

The directions The directions

After the first run, the fear of the unknown has been removed, and you’re free to concentrate on the essentials. Holding on to your tube. Throwing yourself down the slide when the monitor kid tells you to. Avoiding the snow banks to the right and left of the run, unless you want to bounce. Riding up the lift and climbing out of your tube with some speck of grace (those who made it look easy put us all to shame).

Here's one version... Here’s one version…
The action version The action version
…and with grace. …and with grace.

Apart from that, grin and enjoy the wind blowing through your teeth and the scratchy sound of compressing snow under your donut. It’s fast, it’s fun, and it’s certainly something that at one time in my life I would have mocked.

Oh, the cookies are tube-sized, too. Oh, the cookies are tube-sized, too.

By the way, we’re way too quick to jump on that bandwagon these days. Mocking can flatten out all the fun like a pancake. So here’s the takeaway from this little winter experience. Get out in the cold. Find something fun and unexpected to do in your own back yard. Something you’d never dream of doing. Don’t just shovel it. Play in it.

Pretty at night Pretty at night

It can change the way you feel about winter.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Annie Graves


Annie Graves


Annie Graves is a regular contributor to Yankee. A New Hampshire native, she has been a writer and editor for over 25 years, while composing music and writing young adult novels. Find out more about Annie at
Updated Friday, January 3rd, 2014

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2 Responses to Pat’s Peak in Henniker, NH | Go Play in the Snow

  1. DPG January 4, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    What a great blog!!! So much fun!!! Oh, this brings me back to when we used to ski up at Pat’s…isn’t tubing the BEST??? I never knew that was available till recently, so I’ll be up again and again!! Just love that regular (read: unskilled) people can enjoy winter fun and frolic, too!! Good for Pat’s Peak, good for us!!

    And love the background and history of this friendly mountain. This description says it best: “…the old-time Tyrolean vibe mixes with jazzy skis lined up like swizzle sticks at the foot of the mountain…”


  2. Jean Healey January 13, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    Thank you so very much for your article, Pat’s Peak in Henniker, NH | Go Play in the Snow by Annie Graves. I did not know they had snow tubing that not only children but adults can enjoy. I will definitely be traveling up to Henniker NH this winter to check it out. With our children all grown and on their own it is nice to know my husband and I can once again enjoy sledding like we did when they were younger.

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