Cannon - 12/13/08

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  1. #1

    Thumbs up Cannon - 12/13/08

    Date(s) Skied: 12/13/08

    Resort or Ski Area: Cannon Mountain

    Conditions: Cold, crunchy, and sweet

    Trip Report:
    The alarm went off at 5, and after getting dressed I was in the car and heading north. It wasn't too cold, the sky was clear and light from the full moon, the road dry.

    The further I drove the more beauty and sadness I saw. Trees coated with ice glimmered in the simultaneous sunrise and moonset, but a closer look revealed shattered limbs, torn apart trunks, some even fully-uprooted. I feel for all those going days without power ... this somehow turned into an incredible ice storm.

    As I passed Lincoln, the car's thermometer read 10, but with every mile into Franconia Notch it just kept dropping, until I pulled into Cannon's parking lot registering a mere 1. Oh, well. I grabbed an extra layer and headed for the base lodge.

    Early runs were tough. The grooming team is to be commended, though - nowhere did I see sheer ice. The surface was crunchy but an edge-able consistency. I wasn't feeling confident, though, in the flat light of the notch-effect clouds, and burned my legs quite a bit by keeping the brakes on.

    After 7 or so runs from midmountain down the various available routes, I took a brief hot cocoa break to rejuvenate. I hadn't eaten much of a breakfast, so my body thanked me for the sugar hit with a big boost of energy. I hopped on the lift and this time took both rides all the way to the summit.

    The views were in and out of the clouds, but the sun was trying to burn through. The wind was present but not bad, maybe 10-15mph? The air itself was -5. As long as I kept moving, I was fine. I found my stride on the winding twists of Upper Cannon, which though building some scrape banks was overall in very good shape. I alternated back and forth for several runs between that and the Vista-Tramway combination.



    Then magic happened. While riding up the Cannonball chair, suddenly the clouds vanished. Just like that. One moment they were there, the next the entire mountain was clear. Franconia Ridge was stellar, and views extended to many of the Whites beyond. The valleys were ensconced in a fantastic undercast. I took three more runs just for the joy of the scenery and the sun-softened snow before getting a little too cold.

    On the way down, I passed the top of Rocket, one of the infamous "front five", which was open with snow guns blasting away (Gary's was being buried as well but was not open). Normally, I'm not interested in skiing on slopes with active snowmaking, but I asked some folks getting off the Zoomer chair and they said to go for it. I did.

    It was incredible. Normally, I find man-made snow to be sticky and unpleasant when first blown. Well, in dessicated, near-zero temperatures it apparently is soft and exquisitely skiable. I made 4 runs, lapping the Zoomer chair, through these wonderful piles and mounds. I completely burned out my quads but it was some of the nicest snow I've ever skied in New England.

    And that was it. I could have taken a very-late lunch break to build my energy back up to go out for a few more runs, but with evening commitments back in Massachusetts, it didn't make sense; by the time I went back out I'd have to be watching the clock to leave. So I called it a day. The temperature in the parking lot was up to 6, I didn't even need my coat to walk to the car!

    There was never a lift line, but plenty of smiles from those who braved the temperatures. I wish I could have stayed later in the afternoon once the sun came out, and especially made a few more runs on Rocket (drool), but nonetheless it was a great day. Cannon is a challenging mountain to ski in terms of weather and conditions, but I do really enjoy it.

    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. - Dave Barry
    Waterville 11/30; Loon 12/7; Cannon 12/13, 1/17, 2/23; Sugarloaf 12/20, 21-22; Bretton Woods 1/3; Jay Peak 1/24-25; Heavenly 2/9; Squaw Valley 2/10-2/11; Wachusett 3/3; Sunday River 3/7-8

  2. #2
    nice detailed TR...skiing fresh manmade isn't the same as fresh Poe but in single digit temperatures the stuff the guns produce is silky smooth..

  3. #3
    nice TR. sounds like a great time @ Cannon. How did the base look in the woods? Any chance of a mitti run anytime soon?
    my photo site.
    Frigid Light.

  4. #4
    There isn't complete snow coverage on Taft, more like a green and white mottled pattern when looking from the Cannonball chair, so I suspect anything on the Mittersill side is not ready yet. It won't take much for the cut trails - a foot dump would do. For the trees, probably more to cover the vegetation and rocks.
    Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face. - Dave Barry
    Waterville 11/30; Loon 12/7; Cannon 12/13, 1/17, 2/23; Sugarloaf 12/20, 21-22; Bretton Woods 1/3; Jay Peak 1/24-25; Heavenly 2/9; Squaw Valley 2/10-2/11; Wachusett 3/3; Sunday River 3/7-8

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