Mention New Hampshire skiing to anyone and one of the first resorts that will be mentioned Is Cannon. Located in the heart of Franconia Notch State Park, this iconic resort has the highest summit and largest vertical in the state (4079 foot peak with a 2180-foot drop to base). With 282 skiable acres, Cannon offers up 95 named runs with 3 terrain parks. The difficulty blend is 15 percent novice, 52 percent intermediate, and 33 percent advanced. Snowfall at Cannon averages out to 160 inches per year, but there’s snowmaking coverage over 90 percent of the trails. With ten lifts (including the aerial tram, 3 quads, 3 triples, a double, and two surface lifts), Cannon manages to move over 11,000 skiers per hour around the mountain, so even on crowded days, the lift lines are never that long.
Where to Ski Cannon
Beginner skiers who are first venturing out on their own will find plenty to love at the Tuckerbrook Family Area right next to the Brookside Learning Center. With a dedicated quad lift taking skiers to the top of the area, there are four nice cruisers, Deer Run, Bear Paw, Fox Tail, and Raven Ridge. For longer runs with a little more pitch and challenge, Take the Eagle Triple near Notchview Lodge to access Parkway, Gremlin, and Lower Cannon.
Progressing to intermediate skiing is easy at Cannon. Tuckerbrook has three great short intermediates as well as three intermediate glades. Otherwise, where to go depends on what you’re looking for. For windy groomers with a bit of an edge, take the tram to the summit and hit Upper Ravine, Upper Cannon, or Vista Way. Upper Ravine usually doesn’t get much traffic, so on good powder days, this is a great run. For a long cruiser with a lot of variety, hit the Slalom course, then wind through some tree lined narrow paths at the Saddle, then hit a wide open steep with Baron’s Run. There are some intermediate chutes at Cannon as well. Banshee is a lot of fun and so is Jasper’s. Get there by taking the Zoomer lift then heading left through two cut trails, Zoomalanche and the Banshee Cut through.
Expert skiers pretty much have their run of the mountain. Profile is one of the more popular runs. This lift line steep runs underneath the Cannonball Quad and gets plenty of business, so it can get a little icy at times. There are also two great glades, Global Warming and Go Green. Both have lots of trees and a lot of lines, so if you like glade skiing, you’re going to spend some time there. Cannon also recently added some previously “secret” glades to the official trail map, much to the ire of some of the locals who regarded these glades as their personal stomping grounds. Still, Amazon and the Creek are great fun, and for a real challenge, Wicked Haahhd has long been a personal favorite for us.
No matter what your ski ability level, Cannon has something for you and will easily keep you entertained for a week. The mountain also makes progression very easy with trails slowly ramping up in difficulty, provided you take it easy. If you aren’t sure where to go, ask someone. Most of the local skiers are friendly, and the staff at Brookside is always willing to give advice.
As a larger mountain, Cannon has no shortage of après ski for both families and the younger set looking for libations. Families are going to love Family Fun Night on Saturdays at Peabody. There’s the Huckerbrook mini-park all lit up for skiing, a bouncy house in the Lodge, and movies showing at Brookside Lodge. There are even torchlight parades and fireworks on select weekends.
For less kid-friendly après ski, the Cannonball Pub hosts the 21-and-over set on Saturdays with live music and games. The bar has cold beer on tap and a great selection of pub fare, perfect for winding down and reliving the day’s runs. If you need the party to continue, there’s plenty of fun to be found in the nearby towns of Woodstock and Lincoln.