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.
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?
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.
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.
Despite Jay having ample snow to open 100% of its terrain, only the Jet spun today due to a variety of lift related issues. The tram had a cable issue and was undergoing repairs which took the Bonnie out of commission due to the overhanging cable. Adding insult to injury, the Freezer was awaiting an inspection before making its debut. Many people complained but they were looking a gift horse in the mouth. Today was not a day to complain that the lifts were down but rather to rejoice that only the Jet was spinning.