SYNOPSIS: As far as I can tell, this is the only downhill skiing facility in Putnam County. If you’re looking for a huge mountain complex full of double-black-diamond expert trails, this isn’t the place for you. But if you are looking for a family-friendly atmosphere at a reasonable cost, this Putnam County icon is a great place to spend a day. The non-snow seasons offer other recreational opportunities like paintball and Fall/Halloween activities.
APPROXMIATE TIME: Provided your body can handle it, you can spend all day skiing. For a short trip, try the two-hour Sunday twilight special.
DIFFICULTLY: Trails range from bunny hills to expert slopes.
DIRECTIONS: To get there take Route 684 North. When the highway ends, continue on Route 22 for 8.1 miles, then make a slight right onto Thunder Ridge Road. There is a pick-up and drop-off area at the base of the mountain, near the lodge, and there are a number of parking areas.
THE VISIT: Thunder Ridge has 30 trails, 3 ski lifts and 4 ‘magic carpet’ lifts. There is a ski shop and equipment rentals, a lodge with cafeteria, and ski school for lessons. They have snow-making for when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, and they offer night skiing.
During the non-skiing season, Thunder Ridge offers paintball, a Haunted Village and Hayrides, and a Fall Festival that includes chairlift rides to take in the fall foliage, mazes, pumpkin patches, and farm animals.
HISTORY: In the mid-1950s the mountain top where Thunder Ridge is located was a game farm called Big Birch Game Farm. It’s success led to the creation of a 10 acre ski center, and Birch Hill Ski Area (according to the Patterson Historical Society website) opened in 1957 – though the ski center’s website claims a 1948 birthdate. The name was changed to Big Birch Ski Area in the late 60’s when there was an ownership change. The name changed again many years later to Thunder Ridge Ski Area.
The Patterson Historical Society has a detailed history of the ski area on their website at http://www.historicpatterson.org/Exhibits/ExhBusinesses4.php#Ski
MAP & ADDITIONAL INFO: The business website, including a trail map, is www.thunderridgeski.com and the phone number is 845/878-4100.
Personal visit 01.06.13
www.thunderridgeski.com, accessed 01.08.13, 03.10.13
http://www.historicpatterson.org/Exhibits/ExhBusinesses4.php#Ski, accessed 01.12.13, 03.10.13