Sunday Morning, I awoke just prior to my 5:30 A.M. alarm. For some reason, getting up on a Ski Day is always so much easier than getting up any other day. Only problem with getting up this morning was that I forgot to set my clock forward an hour! Yep, that damn Spring Ahead thing caught me off guard and as a result I was an hour late getting the wheels rolling. No biggie… for my last day of the 2001-2002 season, I was taking it easy and savoring every moment.
I had the wheels rolling around 7 A.M. (which would have been 6 A.M. if I had left on time!) and made the base lodge promptly at 9 A.M., half an hour after the first lift turned. Approaching the Front Face of Cannon, I was greeted by what would normally be a disturbing site… but instead made me giddy with anticipation! The Front Face was beyond thin cover. From the Franconia Notch Parkway, twenty foot long patches of dirt were visible. For some odd reason, I was really looking forward to skiing these rapidly deteriorating trails.
For First Tracks, I hit the High Speed Quad planning to spend the morning on the Front Face. To get warmed up, I tracked down Middle Cannon to Paulie’s Extension to Gary’s planning to track the Front Face from right to left. Gary’s was wonderful, softening up under the morning sun.I made quick slalom style turns and realized just how well suited the trail really was for the Slalom races it holds. Next, I tracked down Rocket finding some sweet soft powder on the right side of the trail (which I repeated again for my third run). Also, it amazes me how perfect Rocket is for its Giant Slalom courses.
With my legs properly warmed up, I made the Folly of actually trying Paulie’s Folly. Normally one of my favorite runs, Paulie’s was plagued near the top with some dirt and grass patches. However, the truly miserable part of skiing Paulie’s was that the snow was rock hard. While it was not excessively icy or scraped, the hard snow made for a miserable trip down Paulie’s. I opted to return to the Front Face later once things had softened up, and made my way to the summit of Cannon.
The Tramway had already closed for the season, so I boarded the Peabody Express Quad to the Cannonball Quad to access the summit. Mount Mansfield and Jay Peak were visible from the summit. The Upper Mountain Trails at Cannon were amazing! I started on Skylight, which was the worst of the Upper Mountain trails with lots of scraped and icy patches but had a good steep pitch was worth the skidding. The winding turns of Upper Ravine were perfect for my wide GS style turns which made for a fast second run from the summit. The real fun began on the Taft Slalom Trail, which featured PERFECT soft and edgable snow. Amazing. I passed a few people trekking over to Mittersill as I then entered the Upper Hardscrabble Trail which was an ice skating rink in places. To quote one skier stopped for a breather: “That really was a Hard Scrabble!” Well, it was not that bad, however it left something to be desired.
After a return trip to Taft Slalom to Upper Ravine, I hit up Vista Way which offered a mixed variety of every condition found at Cannon that day, all on one trail! Wonderful one instant, scary the next… a solid mixed bag of tricks. Finally, I tracked Tramway to By-Pass to Paulie’s Extension, and finally Lower Cannon to return to the lodge via a top to bottom run. This was a wonderful top to bottom run with all sections well covered with soft packed powder.
With the morning journeys completed and a lunch break finished, I returned to the Front Face! Avalanche was wonderful in the morning with soft bumps up top. Lower parts of Avalanche were quickly becoming scraped off but I still enjoyed them. Zoomer was an interesting run, as about midway down the trail, a grass patch covered 95% of the trail. This left two very thin and dangerous by-passes which made things interesting. Things began rather firm all around on Zoomer, but by late afternoon, it was a pleasant run. Upper and lower bumps were excellent; and the hairy dirt patches kept things interesting and skiers awake. For my Run of the Day, I choose an a former lift line. The run is about eight feet wide at best, and probably around half a football field long with a decent pitch. Mini-bumps appeared about half way down. I tracked down this run about three times with quick and nibble turns, having a blast all the way. I truly love lifeline runs. This one is reminiscent of The Shoot at Burke, however this trail was steeper, narrower, and a bit shorter. For a high speed cruiser, Middle Ravine to Lower Ravine could not be beat! Big GS turns provided laugh out loud fun. A big grin spread across my face as I laid down big and round GS style turns, increasing my speed all the way to the bottom.
I finished the day by re-tracking some of my favorite trails for the afternoon. Among these were Avalanche, Taft Slalom, my hidden Run of the Day Trail, By-Pass, and Paulie’s Folly Extension. A solid day of unbelievable skiing to end the 2001-2002 ski season!