If you’re on social media you have been smacked in the eyes with countless images of the classic east coast ski resorts and their iconic terrain. This includes the face chutes at Jay Peak, deep tree lines at Stowe, and epic bump-runs at Killington. These hills all receive plenty of well-deserved publicity.
There is an easy-to-identify trend with the three aforementioned resorts, they are all in Vermont. Vermont is lucky enough to have better snow than anywhere in the Northeast. This is a fact. The Green Mountain state is located plenty far north, inland, and benefits from lake-effect snow. While Vermont may be the sexiest of the New England skiing states, don’t sleep on the Granite State.
The “Live Free Or Die” state has the iconic Mount Washington and Tuckerman’s Ravine, the burly Presidential Range, and plenty of busy ski resorts. Unfortunately for New Hampshire, it’s bony terrain suffers from significantly lower snowfall totals compared to Vermont.
Enter Cannon Mountain. Cannon offers a 1900′ base elevation and 4080′ summit with a 2,180′ vertical drop. This historic mountain is the former site of the Old Man of the Mountain and also offers some world-class ice climbing. The resort is located across the highway from the beautiful and imposing Mount Lafayette that delivers stunning views.
Cannon has some incredible steep trails and excellent sidecountry terrain. The crown jewel is DJ’s Tramline, a steep, pillowy (bouldery), line that runs under the tram. The tree skiing is plentiful if you know where to look. Steep is the name of the game with this hill. Even the groomers have an impressive pitch. This includes the Front Five trails that drop straight down into Echo Lake. We don’t want to blow up any local secrets, but the pow stashes around this mountain are burly and wonderfully nasty
When it is getting snow, this mountain is as good as anywhere in New England. This statistic isn’t easily quantified, but it would easy to argue that Cannon is the most consistently steep ski resort in New England. This brutally cold and cloudy mountain has a reputation for being icy and generally unpleasant. The overused statement that “if you can ski New Hampshire, you can ski anywhere” may well have been written about Cannon.
The problem is despite being one of the coldest locations in New England, Cannon often gets the shaft from Mother Nature. The resort can only claim an average annual snowfall of 160″, approximately 200″ shy of Jay Peak. As a result, Cannon doesn’t often reach its full potential and show the world its world-class terrain. If this mountain was located in Vermont, it would be in the elite company of Jay Peak, Smugglers Notch, and Stowe. Unfortunately, it is in central New Hampshire and is a sheet of ice more often than not.
Residents of the Northeast, this is an Unofficial announcement to keep your eyes on the forecast for Cannon and Franconia Notch. If the snow starts to pile up, drop everything and head to Cannon.