With Jay reporting in two feet to Cannon’s one foot, the plan was to ski Jay. But thanks to mobile technology, I discovered en route via smartphone that Jay’s summit was reporting 60 MPH winds and that lifts would be effected. Despite my good luck with yesterday’s short wind hold at Mad River Glen, I pulled a page from my ski tactics play book: don’t get greedy going for the unknown when the sure thing is staring you in the face.
So I was the first car to pull into Cannon’s lot just before eight in the morning. After farting around in the lodge, I got my shit together and made it to the Peabody for third chair and then onto first chair up Cannonball to the summit. The ride up the Cannonball was unusual in that there was no wind. And I spied with my eyes a perfect canvas just below me on Profile.
I can’t remember the last time I skied Profile. It is normally a wind blown icy mess. It is a wide and straight shot without any redeeming quality. But with six inches of untouched fresh over groomed, it was a dream. I ripped it straight down skier’s left non-stop bouncing surfy turns to and fro. I’ve never said it before nor will I ever say it again, but my run of the day was Profile.
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.
Sick Bird on Upper Hard
One unifying aspect shared by attendees of the Northeast Ski Bloggers Summit is passion. That passion is not only something that brings us together but also something we feed off. We inspire each other to further those passions. One of the things I am most passionate about is Cannon. I love the mountain.
I didn’t want my fellow bloggers just to ski Cannon, I wanted them to see if from my eyes. Not to adopt my perspective but to understand something very personal about me and my passion. Maybe they would not find Cannon to be a special place, but they would at least understand what makes Cannon special to me.
Over the years, I have questioned what exactly makes me love Cannon above all other ski areas. Today, the mountain presented us with all the reasons to dislike Cannon: cold temperatures, high winds, extensive hard pack, ice patches on natural trails, (very) thin coverage, and only 4-8″ in the past 72 hours compared to two to three feet (plus) in Northern Vermont.
These are the very reasons I love the mountain so much. Nothing is easy at Cannon, you get what you are given and you have to do something with it. You get out of the mountain what you put into it. The challenges and short comings make you a better skier, and they remind you when you’ve gotten a little too soft.
Fifteen minutes before first tram is almost always enough. But today, almost double that margin was only good for the second car. And I wasn’t even close to the first car when the doors slammed shut. Before the first car even loaded, the line snaked four times and then went out the front door. The powder frenzy was on in a bad way. All this for 4-8″ of fresh: only a minor under the radar storm during a good year.
My plan of attack was ruined. With seventy people unloading at the summit while I was boarding the 8:25 tram at the base, I was way behind. By the time I skied down to Bypass, the Peabody Quad had already been unloading. I engaged the frenzied charge to the Front Five where us Johny Come Latelies found very little untracked remaining. After wasting a run down Avalanche, I hit Banshee Slopes twice before heading to the summit and taking a hike.