AlpineZone Challenge 2011 – Kris Blomback of Pats Peak

The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Kris BlombackGeneral Manager of Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, New Hampshire, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 10/20/2011:

thetrailboss: Kris, I recall that when I was a pass holder there you were working to install a summit pond to allow for a “”top down”” snowmaking system. Was that completed? If not, when can folks expect to see it done?

Kris Blomback: The pond up top has not yet been built. Primarily because of the cost. We think we have a pretty good snowmaking system right now ad frankly there were some higher priority areas where the capital dollars needed to be deployed. We started in on our master plan for snowmaking back in 1999 when Snomatic of Lyme NH prepared a plan that would allow us to go from 100% brown to 100% white in 48 hours. We analyzed all the weather data for the last 30 years and reversed engineered it from there. To achieve that goal we’ll need to develop a pumping plant of 12,000 gallons per minute. Right now our system can move just under 5,000 gpm and that’s all with pumps. When we reach full build out of the 12,000 gpm — 4,000 gpm of that amount will be gravity fed via the summit pond.

In the immediate time frame everything we are doing is in pursuit of that larger goal, larger pipelines being installed (we take on a trail a year and do an “extreme makeover”) so this year is no different as Lower Tornado got some lovin’. We’re a true Yankee operation to the core. We don’t want to bite off anything more then we can afford so that’s why we are slow and steady.

Smellytele: I know land was purchased on the east side of the Peak. What are the plans and time frame for expansion into this new purchased land?

Kris Blomback: You’re correct we did recently purchase some land and right now were grinding our way through the permit process. Not everything is cast in stone because we adjust the plan almost weekly as we receive input from local, state, and federal regulatory agencies. So it’s not quite ready for prime time yet.

bobbutts: I see that you have added 8 new Fan guns and 2 new “”Turbo”” fan guns for 2011-2012. Which trail(s) are these located on?


Kris Blomback: Bob we’ve been adding guns for the last few years. A smattering of everything. Just as the military has different forces for different objectives we have different equipment for what were trying to do. This year we purchased some fan guns (10 of them) and Ratnik Baby X-2 ground guns. As for the fans we installed another couple In the Turbulence terrain park. One over on mid-Twister. Two more on Duster Dip, two more on Breeze, one at the base of the Vortex chair, and two more portables to supplement the 8 other mobile units. We are super excited to be checking out two of the newest fans on the market with the HKD Turbo Fan. Additionally we installed some new primary and secondary electrical cable so more equipment can be run at the same time. Part of the “makeover” we talked about in question #1. We used to be only able to run a couple of guns on Lower Tornado at any one time. This year we’ll be able to concentrate our energy and put a gun every 75 feet to get it open quickly or more then 20 guns top to bottom.

bobbutts: Has there ever been or will there ever be a mogul competition there?

Kris Blomback: Nothing really formal in terms of competition but sounds like a great idea. What kind of format would you like to see?

bobbutts: Is there any public longer term plan (say 10 years) for Pat’s Peak? If not can you talk about some of the possible future improvements in the that timeframe?

Kris Blomback: Yes most of it revolves around the answers given in questions 1 and 2. We’re also looking to expand our wedding and banquet business. This past year we had 60+ weddings (both lodges have air conditioning), a number of company outings, and some private parties. You’ll see some efforts to landscape the property and soften the place up a bit during the summer months. We have a great crew on during the summer months and like everything else we try and do as much in house as possible!
hammer: Are there any changes planned for the adult/corporate racing program?

Kris Blomback: We’re pretty happy with where it’s at but we are always looking to improve. Right now we are working on the timing system to get the results more real time. Our staff is always looking for input and the change we did last year, by starting the racers higher up on Twister, was very well received last year. Heck we even had an AlpineZone race team!

thetrailboss: Any more consideration to regrooming terrain between day and night sessions, especially for Saturday’s POP program? I know it is difficult, but in my experience (now years ago ) the terrain got pretty icy and dangerous as the night went on from all the traffic.

Kris Blomback: Grooming machines on the slopes during a busy Saturday is probably nothing we’ll be doing unless the ski conditions were beyond icy and weather conditions dictated them being out there. What we have done though is instituted a policy of deep grooming were each night we rip and tear the trails up very deeply so they holdup better during the day. Last year we purchased a new Pisten Bully (brought our fleet up to 4) and the amount of snow the machines can renovate and sweeten up is amazing.

deadheadskier: I had a great day skiing Pat’s last winter and particularly enjoyed the bumps on Hurricane. Hurricane was the only trail that day with moguls. Does Pat’s ever allow other trails to bump up?

Kris Blomback: We sure do and our offerings really expand when the glades are open. Mogul seekers (myself a big fan) can find them on Hurricane (glade), Vortex, skiers right Lower East Wind, Knight Slope (were FIS Race gets real wide on skiers right) and the drift from snowguns will open up the Race trail and Duster glades which all bump up nicely. Incidentally our Hurricane trail (which is fully automated) just received a software/hardware upgrade that will make it even easier to dust it up nightly.

deadheadskier: Does Pat’s have any partnerships with other mountains where discounts are offered such that pass holders from other mountains have an incentive to come and check out Pat’s?

Kris Blomback: Yes, we offer discounts to Pats Peak with the following mountains and offers:

  • Mount Sunapee, NH: 50% off Night Skiing, Monday – Friday, non-holidays.
  • Waterville Valley, NH: 50% off Night Skiing, Monday – Friday, non-holidays.
  • McIntyre, NH: 50% off Sunday-Friday, All Lifts, Full Day, Lift Tickets (8:30am-4pm) and All Lifts, Night Tickets (3pm-Close).
  • Burke, VT: 50% off All Lifts, Full Day Lift Tickets (8:30am-4pm).
  • Ski Butternut, CT: 50% off All Lifts, Full Day Lift Tickets (8:30am-4pm). Not valid Christmas Vacation Week.
  • Blandford Ski Area, MA: 50% Off Adult All Lifts, Full Day Lift Tickets (8:30am-4pm).

And for our skiers we offer:

  • Mount Sunapee, NH – Pats Peak Passholders receive $10-off weekends and 50%-off midweek (off the daily lift ticket rate, not to be combined with any other offers) at Mount Sunapee from Opening Day at Mount Sunapee through Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 AND from Monday, Mar. 19, 2012 through Closing Day at Mount Sunapee 2012.
  • Burke Mountain, VT: Pats Peak Passholders receive 50% off FULL DAY, FULL PRICED SINGLE DAY lift tickets ANY time during the 11/12 season at Burke.
  • Jay Peak, VT: Purchase a lift ticket for 50%-off the regular listed rate any day of the week including holidays (not to be combined with any other offers), when you show your Pats Peak Season Pass at Jay Peak Resort, VT. Get 20% off any lodging stay, non-holiday only (if you stay across a Friday or Saturday, there’s a 2 night minimum) at any Jay Peak Resort lodging property.

Nick: Does Pat’s offer a demo program for trying out different types of skis? If so, what brands do you feature?

Kris Blomback: Nick we do a program through S&W Sports in Concord. Skis are available for Demo for $25 for three (3) pairs of skis for one-day. Ski Demos: Fischer ~ Rossignol ~ Volkl ~ Blizzard ~ K2. In addition to the program daily we have on-snow demos with major manufacturers 6-8 times a year on our own. Last year we had Rossignol, Elan, Volkl and others. Thanks again for asking us to participate. It’s a fun business and we love it here. If you guys are ever in this neck of the woods please stop in and say hello. Our door is always open.

To view forum comments on this Challenge and the Challenge Results, please visit the following page: