Day 1 of the NSBS II get-together. The first NSBS was held at the home of Sick Bird Rider from the Real Jay Peak Snow Report: Jay Peak. This season, we changed state and moved on to Riverc0il from TheSnowway’s hometurf.
With the exception of a few ski excursions to Mt. Washington, this was my first ski trip to New Hampshire since the Family’s Spring Break trip in 2008. At that time we had used North Conway as a base to hit Wildcat, Cannon, Black, Cranmore and Balsams Wilderness. North Conway is a classic ski town steep in Eastern ski history. It is was a great trip, not sure what we’ll do this year due to the home injury factor.
Unlike last year’s NSBS where we focused uniquely on Jay Peak; this season’s summit had us ski at a series of areas; amongst the best in New Hampshire: Cannon, Attitash, Wildcat and Bretton Woods. Similar to my 2008 Family trip, we positioned ourselves not far from North Conway, in Bartlett, home of Attitash.
The summit was initially scheduled for 5 days, however home health issues which included my daughter’s leg operation changed plans. It wasn’t until Sunday morning that the decision for MadPat to attend was made. Improvements in my daughter post-OP reaction and wife’s encouragement sealed the deal; I left Ottawa at 6pm on Sunday night for a room arrival in Bartlett 5 hours later.
DAY 1 : CANNON – BRUTAL CLASSIC
You can’t get more classic than Cannon Mountain today; brutally classic. Remember as a kid in the 1970s when runs weren’t always perfectly manicured terrain, well we found some of that today.
Skiing classic racing trails next to the Zoomer Triple, twisting trail, tight woods on Cannon or on over to Mittersill; man-made or natural. Like when I was a kid, natural trails that don’t gloss over the good or the ugly. When Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, you feel it. You feel on trails like Middle Hardscrabble; it was real, brutally real. Skiing is a sport of challenges, hard conditions makes us better skiers, not lazy skiers. That’s my point of view.
Previous experiences at Cannon had generally been limited to one aspect, but today we got the full spectrum with our excellent host blogger. Similar to my last trip to NH where Eastern Ontario and Quebec got clobbered with the perfect storm, the big snow event of the weekend wasn’t centered on the Whites, but in the Greens Mountains this time. Unlike 2008, NH got some frozen precipitations, but just not the generous amounts received in Northern Vermont. We were navigating obstacles such as ice floes, stumps with powder in-between is all part of the fun.
Today was we got the total Cannon experience.With the exception of a few important runs like Tramline, Upper Cannon and Kinsmen which we either closed or didn’t look to inviting, we were all over. It was an excellent kick off for the second NSBS.
We got started at the Peabody Lodge; the Peabody Express wasn’t open when put on our skis, so we took a short triple and warmed up with a few quick runs down some hard groomers such as Gary and Rocket then off to the Tram be it by Avalanche, Banshees or somewhere in between them depending on how one felt. Snow was firm, but carvable. Tramline looked real brutal from above, so it wasn’t a surprise that on this low snow year that the trail and its neighbour, Kinsmen’s were closed. We hit from the top Upper Ravine, Skylight then Taft and hopped to Mittersill. Cannon incorporated the lost Mittersill ski area last season with the installation of a double chair, however the lack of snow has stopped from re-opening easy access to these slopes. So when we hiked onto Mittersill, it was like my previous visits, an abandoned ski area. Riverc0il has warned us about the fact that we might need some rock skis, I had the old Rossi XXX. Not the right skis for really perfect for the steep hard groomers, but perfect over here.
After lunch we placed a car on the other side of the mountain at lunch while the Cannon first-timers (or almost) skied Middle Hardscrabble. They got Scrabble, Hard Scrabble. Back together towards the top, we skied 13 turns to the car. 3000 feet descent of an ultimate classic CCC trail from loose powder turns to little snow which didn’t soften the possible rock impacts on the skis. Once back at the Peabody Lodge skis, I grabbed another pair of skis with some edges for the last two runs of the day. Although on the map, the next two runs weren’t manicured either, from an extremely challenging glades on the upper mountain to Mid-Hard. As noticed on our afternoon runs, the wind was really howling, howling enough to blow for us over on the ridge to Mittersill or made us wondered if the trees in the upper glades would snap. Brutal headwind in the face on that last Peabody and Cannonball quad ride from the top and challenging descents down Mid Hardscrabble. A descente that featured a revenge of those that skied earlier and a nice closing run for Day 1. A run that included pocket of blown in powder and jumping several ice floes. Classic skiing, the way it used to be.
At the end of the day, we dropped by the New England Ski Museum, an obligatory stopover for MadPatSki each time I pass by Franconia Notch. Cannon is the culture of the sport, what the New England Ski Museum is to preserve and protect that culture.
The last time I visited Cannon, I got to ski the Cannon and Tuckerbrook beginner area, this time I got to see the Cannon and Tuckerbrook non-beginner area.
Free skiing in the Whites, just what the doctor ordered. Free Ski or … hoping that I get ride of the health issues that I’ve been hovering around me this season. I was relieved that I felt at 100% today, I was somewhat concern prior to this trip.
We arrived where we were staying in Bartlett and almost ran over someone wandering…oh its SBR. Later we went to eat at the Red Parka pub which has a bunch of ski memorabilia in Glen all over. Great vibe for ski junkies. We are skiing to Attitash, an area that always being my top-tier areas for myself, so not sure what to expect.
Cannon Perspectives from the other bloggers:
NSBS Day 1: Embracing Your Nature at Cannon
Harvey Road / NY Ski Blog:
Cannon, NH: Man and Mountain and Cannon Mtn, NH: 2/27/12
Ski = MC Squared:
Northeast Ski Blogger’s Summit, Year II – Cannon Mountain, NH
James Deluxe / First Tracks Online:
Cannon, NH 02/27/12
The Real Jay Peak Report (who was driving toward NH):
NSBS 2.0: Day one, the drive.
DAY FOUR (when I was back in Ottawa)
NSBS Day 4: I Am Cannon
The Real Jay Peak Report:
NSBS 2.0, Day Four: Getting the lion’s share at Cannon
Ski Mad World:
Monday Mad Addict’s Attic : Cannon – It’s A Blast!
Point of view from the other blogs:
MadPat hiking by James on FirstTracksOnline : Cannon, NH 02/27/12
Harv on The Snowway : NSBS Day 1: Embracing Your Nature at Cannon
Cool lady in Zermatt at the Ski Museum by Matt : Northeast Ski Blogger’s Summit, Year II – Cannon Mountain, NH
Grand Summit Hotel at Attitash by SBR : NSBS 2.0: Day one, the drive.
To be continued…