Cannon Mountain...steep, icy, with the worst park I've come across yet!
Cannon Mtn Summit
If you ask anyone who has known me for any amount of time, and skis with me, what my least favorite mountain in the region is, they will all tell you the same answer, Cannon. Now, it had been some time sense I had visited Cannon. 4 or 5 years at least, I figured that maybe I was remembering things wrong. I know loads of people who absolutely love Cannon, and call it their favorite mountain. I am not one of those people. I see potential for sure, especially with Mittersill now an official part of the mountain, but I have a lot of gripes. Lets start with the good.
On a powder day, or a year where we are getting absolutely dumped on, I would probably looooove Cannon. Mittersill seems to be right up my alley, and I would love to try 'DJ's Tramline'. I know the tramline trail has a reputation for being one of the hardest trails in the east, and with the entrance to Mittersill sporting signs like these, I know I would be in for a good time.
One of two signs posted at the primary entrance to Mittersill.
I found a taste of an ungroomed, difficult trail in the 'Zoomer Lift Line' run today, that I absolutely loved. Narrow, steep, ungroomed and filled with fairly soft snow. It was a blast. I know there are other trails that during a snowier year, would be very similar. I find it amazing that they will let people ski on a trail that I could easily touch peoples skis while they sat on the lift on the way up from the trail.
'Zoomer lift line' Trail
The main problem I have always had with Cannon, and this is something they really have no control over, is ice. Even today, with low traffic and no winds, many of the trails were already showing patches of bare ice that had been skied off. I know this is the Ice Coast, but ice at 11am with the main lot not even a third full is a little silly. One thing that can be either good or bad as well, is what it takes for Cannon to consider a trail open. They seem to be willing to throw a 'Thin Cover' sign in front of almost anything and call it skiable. After one run on a trail labeled as thin cover, I didn't trust any other trails baring the same warning, as this is what I came across, for several hundred yards. Large exposed rocks, just begging to core shot your skis. I would have kept this one closed.
Thin Cover at Cannon. More like landmines for your skis
Pic of me at the summit, as always.
To combat the ice problem, at least today, they were going hard on the snow-making which is cool. They didn't even bother closing the trails that they were blowing on, incase you wanted to get some turns in on some fresh snow which is great. If you want to ski through a blizzard of ice falling from the sky, more power to you. What is not cool, is aiming your snow guns at the only lift running up the mountain, subjecting everyone to 150 yards of being hit from below with freezing cold water/ice/snow. I understand the trails under the lifts need snow too, but for the love of your cold, cold customers, do it at night! I realize this is not something that just Cannon does, as it happens from time to time at every mountain, but usually there is some alternate lift that you can take that will keep you from looking like a yeti by the time you reach the summit.
This is going to be fun.
I was thinking to myself 'Alright, I guess Cannon is better than I remember' when I decided to make my way to the parks after having had my fill of the rest of the mountain. Upon seeing what they had open for parks, my opinion shifted from neutral to very annoyed instantly. Their main park seemed to be located on Lower Cannon instead of on Toss-up where it was labeled on the trail map. The entire thing consisted of five features, and how it was set up meant you could only hit three in a lap. In order to lap the park you needed to ride the quad through the blizzard of snow guns most of the way up the mountain, or hike it. It was also probably the least progression friendly park I have ever seen anywhere. If you have never been in a park and want to learn, you are not doing it here. Heres what was present in order from top to bottom.
There was some interesting stuff for sure. I bet the rail on top of the hip would be alot of fun for someone who can hit it confidently. I was hoping for some rails though to work on my skills. Still having yet to figure out how to properly hit a side-entry rail, my options were pretty much non-existent. I left the main park and headed for the progression park in the beginners area, hoping for something fun I could play around on. Upon arrival, I found an area with 4 tiny jumps and nothing else. Not much of a park.
Now to be fair, they seemed to be doing work on the trail where their park was located on the map, but it looked to me like they were putting it up for the first time in the season, not altering something that was there already. The park they had would be ok, if it were say, mid-December. By the end of January you should have more than 5 rails set up, especially when you have as much room as they do. They might as well not even bother if they cant get a decent progression line up until the back half of the season. I feel very bad for any Newschooler who calls Cannon home. Park is clearly not a priority for the management there.
For overall skiing, Cannon is alright, definitely better than I remembered, although ice can still be a problem. The smart park rat will bring some skis that have some sharp edges on them, instead of the standard beat up skis you hit rails with. But the parks unfortunately are essentially non-existent. If Nashoba Valley is showing you up in pure acreage of park, you know there is an issue. I am going to plan on hitting it up next season after a few major storms so I can spend the day on Mittersill.
This coming weekend (2/2/14) I was thinking of hitting up Sunday River, although again, things may change. There is a storm headed this way, I will update in the comments as soon as I know if I make any changes in my plans. If anyone is going to be there however, let me know!
Also as some of you may have noticed, my article picture in the feed is not working correctly, I have an email in with NS and hopefully it will be fixed soon! I hate not having it work right as the posts without a picture seem to get less views.
Keep on shredding!