Thunder Ridge Ski Area

Last updated
Thunder Ridge
Thunder Ridge Ski Area Logo.jpg
Thunder Ridge Trail Map.png
Thunder Ridge Trail Map
Location Patterson, New York
Vertical403 ft.
Top elevation880 ft.
Skiable area90 acres (360,000 m2)
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 48% easiest
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 19% more difficult
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 33% most difficult
Lift system 3 chairlifts, 4 magic carpets
Terrain parks Terrain Park (on Fawn Meadow)
Snowmaking Yes, 90% coverage
Night skiing Yes
Website Website

Thunder Ridge is a small ski area located in Patterson, NY. Because it is located just 75 minutes from New York City, the mountain attracts skiers and snowboarders from across the New York area. While it does not receive a lot of snowfall, Thunder Ridge does have snowmaking capabilities which can cover 95% of the mountain. Because it is open at night, Thunder Ridge is a haven for high school ski racing. The mountain hosts part of Hudson Valley League racing. [1]



Under previous ownership the mountain was known as Birch Hill (1957–1968), Big Birch (1968–1995), Thunder Ridge Ski Area (1995–present).

After coming under new ownership, many of the old trails were decommissioned and other trails given priority. Since 2018 around 95% of the mountain is covered with snowmaking equipment, up from 75% under the old ownership. Since 2015, equipment has gone through a major upgrade including the purchase of two new groomers, [2] [3] ten new snow fans, [4] and snow guns. [5]


Thunder Ridge Ski area has 21 trails, nine of which are accessible from the Triple Chair, six from the double chair, four from both chairs, and five bunny trails. It has eight black diamonds, four blue squares, and twelve green circles.

Accessible from Triple Chair
Lovers Lane Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Fawn Meadow Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Santa Fe Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
  • Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Evergreen Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Sunset Run [6] Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
Upper Competition Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg
(Lower) Competition Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Fools Delight Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
The Face Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Blackberry Pass Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Accessible From Double Chair
Bull's Run
  • Deer Pasture
  • Don's Drop
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
  • Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
  • Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Eagle's Lair Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Wildcat Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Timber Wolf Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg
Accessible from Both Chairs
Sissy Schuss (old Halfpipe) Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
The Road Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Don's Drop Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Lovers Lane (since 2019) [7] Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Bunny Hills
Little Thunder Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Fun Run Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
You Can Do It! Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Movin Up Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Little Thunder Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg
Mini Thunder Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg


Top of the main lift (the triple) as seen from the 'Top medical depot'. Thunder ridge top of the triple.jpg
Top of the main lift (the triple) as seen from the 'Top medical depôt'.

As of 2022, Thunder Ridge has three chairlifts (Two doubles and one triple) and four magic carpets. In 1958 a T-Bar opened at then Birch Hill [8] - servicing the main part of today's ski area. Numerous Tows were also installed on the mountain. Sometime in the 1960s, a Borvig double chairlift was installed to the summit; it remains the area's longest and oldest lift. In about 1967, a short double chairlift was installed which today served Little Thunder. In 1986, a Borvig triple chairlift was installed to supersede and eventually replace the T-Bar lift, which it did. In the early 2000s, four Magic Carpet lifts were installed on Thunder Ridge to replace the Tows. Remnants of the tows can still be seen to this day.

During the mid-1960s the Mahopac High School ski team raced and trained at Birch Hill, as did the teams from Carmel and some other Putnam County and Northern Westchester county schools. The lodge was a simple place with a gravel floor.

Today the area maintains seven running lifts; four carpets (one open all the time (You can do it, "Toyland"), two open on the weekends, one used as a backup), a triple lift (main lift, "the triple"), a double lift (secondary lift, "the double"), and one small double lift (beginner lift, "Little Thunder"). Today there remain three neglected tows (one serving the halfpipe, and one serving the terrain park, and one which served the old terrain park). Both the triple and double were re-surfaced and gained more modern accessories and safety equipment in the late 2010s.

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  1. Ng, Matthew (2007-01-29). "Horace Mann debuts in Section 1 skiing competition". The Journal News.
  2. "The crew is working on the Fawn Meadow Park, look for it to be open soon". Thunder Ridge Ski Area — Instagram. 21 January 2021. Retrieved 20 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Filling up before heading out last night. We have begun to push out the piles and will be making snow again very soon. We'll see you on the hill by the weekend". Thunder Ridge Ski Area — Instagram. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 20 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "These hard workers are getting some time off, come over and enjoy all the snow they have put out. Open Saturday 9am-9pm, and Sunday 9am-5pm". Thunder Ridge Ski Area — Instagram. 21 January 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "It's always nice to see the hill starting to get covered in snow! We need a few more weather windows to open, but we are getting closer". Thunder Ridge Ski Area — Instagram. 7 December 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. No snowmaking equipment permanently placed on the trail.
  7. In 2019 the Half-way station for the Double Lift was re-opened.
  8. "#tbt 1958 the year the Hall T-Bar was installed!". 8 October 2015. Retrieved 2020-12-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Coordinates: 41°30′26″N73°34′52″W / 41.50722°N 73.58111°W / 41.50722; -73.58111