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.
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.
Saturday was an amazing day in the Notch. The place gives you back what you put into it. I dug deep and put in more than I had originally intended, and I was rewarded for my efforts. These past three days included some of the best Thanksgiving skiing I’ve ever enjoyed. And I enjoyed all three of those days at Cannon.
After earning pre-Thanksgiving Dinner turns on Thursday, I returned on Friday for Cannon’s first day of lift service. I enjoyed fantastic skiing on the same trails that I had earned turns on the day prior. But despite three straight hours of mostly untracked powder skiing, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing.
The thrills came fast and furious. Run after run of untracked powder. My heart was pounding and my breath was short as I skied fast and hard, tracking up as much virgin snow as possible. There was no frenzy, there were no crowds. But it was still a rush. The lifts do that to you… they are like life: they instill a certain eager and unsatisfied mentality. As if just one more run of untracked will somehow refute our vapid existence.
Today may be the best “two days after the powder day” powder day that I’ve ever had. Yesterday, I desperately wanted to ski Cannon. I knew it was going to be bananas despite being a day after the storm. But I was extremely fatigued from skiing Magic on Friday, I simply didn’t have the legs.
I responded to my alarm with ambivalent lethargy. I assumed today would fail to inspire yet still merited the effort. I wanted to ski natural snow again before the impending rain. In six hours, I made seven runs. By my standards, that is a statistic suggestive of an incredible day at Cannon.
After fierce deliberations during the evening prior, I decided to make a “driveway decision” in the morning. Seeing the winds on Mount Washington blowing only 40-50 MPH out of the northeast suggested that all lifts at Cannon would run and they did. Indeed, the Peabody Quad was as calm as I’ve ever seen it during a storm.
I would like to personally thank Deval Patrick for being a pussy. Otherwise, I would have feared the hoards of Massachusetts skiers heading north. Other options included four mid-sized ~1000′ areas that would have had snow and no crowds but not the same level of terrain. I’d say that I choose wisely.
Cannon reported a two day total of 16″ and that sounds about right. Six of those inches fell yesterday and the remainder fell last night. It snowed all day and they might have picked up another two inches this afternoon. Much deeper drifts could be found so while boot deep was the average, exploding knee deep was still plentiful.