A Cannon Day

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A Cannon Day: It is good for what ails you.

Fourteen hours ago, it seemed like this powder day was not to be. I got up, took out the dog, and sat down looking out the window, dead eyes. I felt absolutely wasted. I had not been feeling well for days and the cold hit hard Saturday and Sunday. I knew that a foot of fresh was awaiting, but my body said “no way”. I sat there for half an hour watching the minutes tick away. I had to make a go decision soon to make first chair. I chugged some water, tossed some medicine in my bag, and got moving. I might not be able to ski much but I sure as heck was going to try.

I can report that I have found the cure for the common cold and it is a powder day at Cannon. Once I got going, I felt better every run. As per my usual plan of attack at Cannon, I started on Zoomer and found about eight inches over scratch on the groomers. Untracked on top of groomer is my favorite powder condition (since I get to ski it so rarely) but powder on top of scratch is not so hot. Lower angle Rocket had the best snow of this variety. But the better and deeper action was in the trees as I found in Lakeview and Echo.

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Three & Done at Smuggs

Untracked Two Days After the Storm

Three runs and done at Smuggs. That was not due to the conditions or injury, but rather fatigue. Coming off twelve days in a row of work averaging 12 hours per day, I took Saturday off from skiing to recover despite the recent storm and epic reports from the notch. I assumed one day of doing nothing was enough for recovery, but it definitely was not.

I got right to work at Smuggs and delved into a line I suspected existed but had not yet discovered. Discovering new lines is always a treat, especially at areas that you have mostly mapped out. But you never want to be in discovery mode, especially at Smuggs, with anything less than your ‘A’ game. I hacked my way down the line looking rather amateurish. But I felt that the turns were not there so I decided not to force it.

Given my lack of energy, I opted for something a bit more mellow for my next run. I found some boot deep untracked despite skiing two days after the storm. This was a very well known woods area but the line goes against the fall line and requires counter intuitive thinking. Always a late-day-go-to but two days after the storm during a weekend is exceptional. It was only a half dozen untracked turns but far more than I expected.

Conditions in general were wicked firm and fast on the groomers despite the recent storm. The groomers had massive wind buff and felt like skiing an early season WROD. So suffice it to say, I stuck to the trees as is my wont.

Despite my fatigue, I couldn’t resist skiing off the backside of Sterling into the Notch. My line choice was suspect given my condition, but I couldn’t resist dropping into a creek bed that I haven’t skied in a few years. The snow was phenomenal and my turns were acceptable if forced. But by the time I got down to 108, I knew I was spent.

It is never good to spend more time driving round trip than skiing. But it is best to call it a day when your turns get sloppy and your energy is lacking. It was a disappointing end to two exceedingly long and difficult weeks. But the worst of my work is done for the winter and I have two weeks of use it or lose it vacation to burn. The season is just getting started as far as I am concerned.

Jay: New Year’s Day Powder

Face Chute

An overperforming storm combined with New Year’s Day hangovers and holiday crowds heading home to make for an epic first day of the New Year. Despite the forecast only calling for about four inches, the Jay Cloud delivered a solid foot with deeper drifts. While I was going to bed early and setting my alarm for 5:15am, a lot of other skiers were partying late and planning to sleep in. The vacationing holiday crowds were leaving early and who knows where the powder hounds were.

I went right at it with boot deep untracked down Can Am and then onto the Jet where I found more untracked boot deep in the trees for my second and third runs. Top to bottom boot deep untracked on a third run during a holiday weekend is something else. Despite knowing the reasons, I still couldn’t help but wonder how it was possible, how was this happening?

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Cannon: Holiday Skiers & Powder Hounds Meet

Cannon Trees

Today was the busiest that I have ever seen Cannon. The crowded trifecta happened including a foot of new snow, excessive storm hype all week (including over forecasting expected totals), and a holiday vacation week. Additionally, the storm ended and the roads were cleared well before sunrise making an easy drive for metro area powder hounds to Cannon. The untracked went faster than I have ever seen it go at Cannon. According to someone I talked with on a chairlift, Cannon, Loon, and Bretton Woods were all turning cars away due to no remaining parking spaces.

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Jay: Freezer Opens to More Powder

The Freezer made its season debut today which also means today was the first day of lift service for the upper mountain on the tramside. Quite a crowd gathered at the Freezer for its opening. Eight inches of dense snow fell on top of a semi-crusty base. The snow from the previous storms had consolidated due to some moderating temperatures followed by another deep freeze. The result was a very nice powder day but not quite the epic opening that many skiers had expected.

Things got tracked out extremely fast since all the powder hounds were lapping the Freezer. I took that bait as well hitting JFK for a frenzied opening run followed by three runs through off map woods. But even the off map woods were being hammered. So I decided to go explore leftovers on Stateside via the Jet.

This was a smart move as the Jet had no line and no powder hounds. The Jet was open the day before when the snow started falling, so it should not have had the full 48 hour bounty of untracked snow. But sure enough, I made use of my knowledge of the mountain to find some startlingly good pockets of untouched snow. When everyone else zigs, you zag.