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wxeyeNH

NNE Cold Season Thread 2020-2021

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29 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

Not too impressed with the conditions at Cannon today. Basically a sheet of ice with some ungroomed loose fluff on top. Not sure if it’s a grooming issue or a snowfall issue, or likely a combination. I haven’t skied this mountain much in the past, and I have heard that the “challenging conditions” are part of the deal here. It was pretty crappy up top, to be honest. I feel like they kinda missed on this last storm. Maybe even had some rain. 

The  Cannon we know and love.

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27.1 inch depth reported at Lake Colden ~2800ft as of 2 days ago in the ADK High Peaks. Pretty impressive and on par with Hermit Lake on Mount Washington even though its 1000' lower. Widespread ~15-20+" depths basically across entire ADK now. They look like they will be cashing in well with upslope/lake effect the next 2 days as well. I know Whiteface had 6+ fluff yesterday caught a lake streamer I think. Had a friend there who said it was great. They were in pretty bad shape just a week ago. 

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1 hour ago, PhineasC said:

Not too impressed with the conditions at Cannon today. Basically a sheet of ice with some ungroomed loose fluff on top. Not sure if it’s a grooming issue or a snowfall issue, or likely a combination. I haven’t skied this mountain much in the past, and I have heard that the “challenging conditions” are part of the deal here. It was pretty crappy up top, to be honest. I feel like they kinda missed on this last storm. Maybe even had some rain. 

Yeah, Cannon in not exactly famous for the quality of its skiing surfaces, unless you’re a racer looking for something to sink your insanely sharp edges into without any loose snow to throw you the slightest bit off your line.  I think there are a number of reasons for this:

1) Relatively speaking, I don’t think the area gets a lot of snow.

2) The mountain gets pretty harsh weather, with plenty of wind.

3) For a mountain location in NNE, it really seems like they just don’t get a lot of snow.

Yes, I mentioned the snowfall twice, LOL, but I think it’s a big factor.  I got lucky the last time I was there and I think we had about six inches of fresh snow to ski, but take a look at the recent opinion article below:

Opinion: Cannon Mountain, NH Has the Most Underrated Terrain in New England

Obviously it’s opinion, but I bet most skiers in the know would agree with this statement from the article:

“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.”

The mountain does really have some impressively steep terrain that easily rivals the steep stuff at other resorts in the region, so that’s fantastic.  But the steeper the terrain, the more snow it takes to appropriately cover it.  If you don’t get the prodigious natural snow needed to cover terrain like that, you’re either going to have to cover it with icy manmade snow (which only becomes icier with use because steep terrain requires harder edging and thus results in more scraping) or you leave it with incredibly boney, dangerous, natural snow coverage, and you’ll need to have it closed a significant amount of time anyway.

Just think about the 160” annual snowfall quoted in that article though – I believe that’s less annual snowfall than you probably get at your house.  It’s a 4,000’+ peak in NNE, so how in the heck do they not get the snow?  I’m sure the forum meteorologists and NH locals can comment on why the area doesn’t get more snowfall relative to a lot of other mountain locations, and it would be interesting to hear that discussion.

Also note, you were just there today.  It’s not as if we’re in one of those exclusively Northern Greens patterns this week.  A lot of NNE is getting in on these daily snows, so if a resort doesn’t have some seriously kick ass conditions right now, there’s probably something suboptimal with respect to their mountain climate.  They’re probably in a spot that misses out on a lot of that NNE magic.

Again, if you get some fresh snow, Cannon can be great (see my Cannon trip report), and the Mittersill area is some really cool sidecountry (although that unfortunately might not be the case anymore because I think they rejuvenated the running of a lift there?).

Some people are blissfully oblivious to icy trail conditions, and it may not even matter to them, but based on your comments about today, you obviously aren’t one of them at this point.  I’d say follow the advice of that article and watch for when Cannon does get snow to go and have some fun on their great terrain.

I’m sure there are forum members in here or in the ski thread who frequent the mountain and may be able to give you the best advice on when to go, or perhaps what parts of the mountain are better than others with respect to the ice factor.

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6 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

Yeah, Cannon in not exactly famous for the quality of its skiing surfaces, unless you’re a racer looking for something to sink your insanely sharp edges into without any loose snow to throw you the slightest bit off your line.  I think there are a number of reasons for this:

1) Relatively speaking, I don’t think the area gets a lot of snow.

2) The mountain gets pretty harsh weather, with plenty of wind.

3) For a mountain location in NNE, it really seems like they just don’t get a lot of snow.

Yes, I mentioned the snowfall twice, LOL, but I think it’s a big factor.  I got lucky the last time I was there and I think we had about six inches of fresh snow to ski, but take a look at the recent opinion article below:

Opinion: Cannon Mountain, NH Has the Most Underrated Terrain in New England

Obviously it’s opinion, but I bet most skiers in the know would agree with this statement from the article:

“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.”

The mountain does really have some impressively steep terrain that easily rivals the steep stuff at other resorts in the region, so that’s fantastic.  But the steeper the terrain, the more snow it takes to appropriately cover it.  If you don’t get the prodigious natural snow needed to cover terrain like that, you’re either going to have to cover it with icy manmade snow (which only becomes icier with use because steep terrain requires harder edging and thus results in more scraping) or you leave it with incredibly boney, dangerous, natural snow coverage, and you’ll need to have it closed a significant amount of time anyway.

Just think about the 160” annual snowfall quoted in that article though – I believe that’s less annual snowfall than you probably get at your house.  It’s a 4,000’+ peak in NNE, so how in the heck do they not get the snow?  I’m sure the forum meteorologists and NH locals can comment on why the area doesn’t get more snowfall relative to a lot of other mountain locations, and it would be interesting to hear that discussion.

Also note, you were just there today.  It’s not as if we’re in one of those exclusively Northern Greens patterns this week.  A lot of NNE is getting in on these daily snows, so if a resort doesn’t have some seriously kick ass conditions right now, there’s probably something suboptimal with respect to their mountain climate.  They’re probably in a spot that misses out on a lot of that NNE magic.

Again, if you get some fresh snow, Cannon can be great (see my Cannon trip report), and the Mittersill area is some really cool sidecountry (although that unfortunately might not be the case anymore because I think they rejuvenated the running of a lift there?).

Some people are blissfully oblivious to icy trail conditions, and it may not even matter to them, but based on your comments about today, you obviously aren’t one of them at this point.  I’d say follow the advice of that article and watch for when Cannon does get snow to go and have some fun on their great terrain.

I’m sure there are forum members in here of in the ski thread who frequent the mountain and may be able to give you the best advice on when to go, or perhaps what parts of the mountain are better than others with respect to the ice factor.

I love Cannon.  I can say though I have never been there when it has been fully game on.  It like another Indy pass legend, Magic, suffers from the great terrain but limited snow scenario.  Cannon does have a great snowmaking system, they can cover a lot of the mountain in manmade if you are into that sort of thing.  I have skied there when most of the trees have been skiable and the lower mountain woods are very fun, upper are very tight and steep.  Cannon is also home to one of the gnarliest trails in the east, DJ's Tramline. I have not had the chance to ski it but I've heard good things. I had a pass at Wildcat for a season when I lived up there and I can say they get a lot more snow.  Wildcat has some super fun terrain and tons and tons of great stashes!

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I used to ski Cannon a decent amount when we first came up here - had a combined pass. I love the vibe there and the terrain is awesome but the conditions are atrocious more often than not. As stated, they don’t get as much snow as other area resorts, and I’ve often found that that spot gets quite a bit less snow than even just a few miles down the notch. Some sort of shadowing. But most importantly, the wind destroys it, so at times even a 1 foot snowstorm does absolutely nothing for the conditions. That’s why I ended up giving up the combined pass and sticking with Bretton Woods 

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Tagged my first big mountain objective today. Skinned from Pinkham Notch to the floor of Tuckerman Ravine, then booted up Left Gully...which is an east-facing couloir on the west side of the ravine. Things are rapidly filling in, and I was able to ski in/ski out without having to carry the skis once. Considering the lean start to the year, Left Gully skied exceptionally well with only a few scoured sections higher up as is typically the case. Interestingly enough...I have never waited so long to ski the Sherburne Trail before, but this is the earliest I have ever skied the ravine.

 

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21 minutes ago, alex said:

I used to ski Cannon a decent amount when we first came up here - had a combined pass. I love the vibe there and the terrain is awesome but the conditions are atrocious more often than not. As stated, they don’t get as much snow as other area resorts, and I’ve often found that that spot gets quite a bit less snow than even just a few miles down the notch. Some sort of shadowing. But most importantly, the wind destroys it, so at times even a 1 foot snowstorm does absolutely nothing for the conditions. That’s why I ended up giving up the combined pass and sticking with Bretton Woods 

I think wind is a huge issue. Just look at the mtn when you pass by. The snow just blows off. They should get good upslope, but the face of the mtn is classic for blowoff IMO.

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7 minutes ago, jculligan said:

Tagged my first big mountain objective today. Skinned from Pinkham Notch to the floor of Tuckerman Ravine, then booted up Left Gully...which is an east-facing couloir on the west side of the ravine. Things are rapidly filling in, and I was able to ski in/ski out without having to carry the skis once. Considering the lean start to the year, Left Gully skied exceptionally well with only a few scoured sections higher up as is typically the case. Interestingly enough...I have never waited so long to ski the Sherburne Trail before, but this is the earliest I have ever skied the ravine.

 

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Wow. You have some incredible pics from the last few days. I was planning on making my first trip to Tuckerman this spring with a couple buddies. Was planning on left gully as well from what I have read. I was wondering when you would recommend the ideal spring conditions would be? Mid to late April? I guess I’m wondering if there is a time, where the most stable snowpack in the Ravine lines up with full coverage of the Sherburne Trail to the bottom.  

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12 minutes ago, jculligan said:

Tagged my first big mountain objective today. Skinned from Pinkham Notch to the floor of Tuckerman Ravine, then booted up Left Gully...which is an east-facing couloir on the west side of the ravine. Things are rapidly filling in, and I was able to ski in/ski out without having to carry the skis once. Considering the lean start to the year, Left Gully skied exceptionally well with only a few scoured sections higher up as is typically the case. Interestingly enough...I have never waited so long to ski the Sherburne Trail before, but this is the earliest I have ever skied the ravine.

 

tuck_3.jpg

Saw it was rated as moderate today on that aspect. Do you and your partners have a good amount of experience in avy terrain? Took my AIARE 1 earlier this year and it did a pretty good job of spooking me haha. 

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4 minutes ago, LaGrangewx said:

Wow. You have some incredible pics from the last few days. I was planning on making my first trip to Tuckerman this spring with a couple buddies. Was planning on left gully as well from what I have read. I was wondering when you would recommend the ideal spring conditions would be? Mid to late April? I guess I’m wondering if there is a time, where the most stable snowpack in the Ravine lines up with full coverage of the Sherburne Trail to the bottom.  

Mid to late April is a pretty good guess though by the end of April you likely will not be able to ski the Sherburne trail to the parking lot... But they close it in sections, so you still might be able ski down to, say, 2500ft and have a shorter hike out.

Typically, the full complement of lines in the bowl are available throughout April.

Alternatively, in a good snow year, you can wait till mid-late May, drive up the Auto Road, ski in the snowfields near the summit, then down climb and still have some pretty good snow in the Bowl (typically left gully and sluice are two of the longer lasting runs).

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51 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

Yeah, Cannon in not exactly famous for the quality of its skiing surfaces, unless you’re a racer looking for something to sink your insanely sharp edges into without any loose snow to throw you the slightest bit off your line.  I think there are a number of reasons for this:

1) Relatively speaking, I don’t think the area gets a lot of snow.

2) The mountain gets pretty harsh weather, with plenty of wind.

3) For a mountain location in NNE, it really seems like they just don’t get a lot of snow.

Yes, I mentioned the snowfall twice, LOL, but I think it’s a big factor.  I got lucky the last time I was there and I think we had about six inches of fresh snow to ski, but take a look at the recent opinion article below:

Opinion: Cannon Mountain, NH Has the Most Underrated Terrain in New England

Obviously it’s opinion, but I bet most skiers in the know would agree with this statement from the article:

“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.”

The mountain does really have some impressively steep terrain that easily rivals the steep stuff at other resorts in the region, so that’s fantastic.  But the steeper the terrain, the more snow it takes to appropriately cover it.  If you don’t get the prodigious natural snow needed to cover terrain like that, you’re either going to have to cover it with icy manmade snow (which only becomes icier with use because steep terrain requires harder edging and thus results in more scraping) or you leave it with incredibly boney, dangerous, natural snow coverage, and you’ll need to have it closed a significant amount of time anyway.

Just think about the 160” annual snowfall quoted in that article though – I believe that’s less annual snowfall than you probably get at your house.  It’s a 4,000’+ peak in NNE, so how in the heck do they not get the snow?  I’m sure the forum meteorologists and NH locals can comment on why the area doesn’t get more snowfall relative to a lot of other mountain locations, and it would be interesting to hear that discussion.

Also note, you were just there today.  It’s not as if we’re in one of those exclusively Northern Greens patterns this week.  A lot of NNE is getting in on these daily snows, so if a resort doesn’t have some seriously kick ass conditions right now, there’s probably something suboptimal with respect to their mountain climate.  They’re probably in a spot that misses out on a lot of that NNE magic.

Again, if you get some fresh snow, Cannon can be great (see my Cannon trip report), and the Mittersill area is some really cool sidecountry (although that unfortunately might not be the case anymore because I think they rejuvenated the running of a lift there?).

Some people are blissfully oblivious to icy trail conditions, and it may not even matter to them, but based on your comments about today, you obviously aren’t one of them at this point.  I’d say follow the advice of that article and watch for when Cannon does get snow to go and have some fun on their great terrain.

I’m sure there are forum members in here or in the ski thread who frequent the mountain and may be able to give you the best advice on when to go, or perhaps what parts of the mountain are better than others with respect to the ice factor.

Yep, that about sums it up. I am pretty sure they got screwed a bit in this last storm too with rain and then a freeze. I will ski most any conditions or terrain except the sheet ice. Hate that stuff. The wind had scoured out the entire front face of Cannon. 

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1 minute ago, PhineasC said:

Yep, that about sums it up. I am pretty sure they got screwed a bit in this last storm too with rain and then a freeze. I will ski most any conditions or terrain except the sheet ice. Hate that stuff. The wind had scoured out the entire front face of Cannon. 

When you say the “front face,” are you referring to the trails off the Zoomer lift (often called the “Front Five”) or are you referring to trails off the top like Profile, Ravine, etc?

I typically find that the Zoomer chair is pretty wind protected whereas a trail like Profile makes Cannon live up to its icy reputation.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, CoastalWx said:

I think wind is a huge issue. Just look at the mtn when you pass by. The snow just blows off. They should get good upslope, but the face of the mtn is classic for blowoff IMO.

It is a great mountain when its full of snow. But.. I did slide about 1000 feet on ice, actually burned a hole in my glove trying to halt my slide. Wind slab city

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12 minutes ago, bch2014 said:

When you say the “front face,” are you referring to the trails off the Zoomer lift (often called the “Front Five”) or are you referring to trails off the top like Profile, Ravine, etc?

I typically find that the Zoomer chair is pretty wind protected whereas a trail like Profile makes Cannon live up to its icy reputation.

 

 

Trails at the top. Like Ravine was just awful today. 

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What a week.  Couldn't believe I had just about the same exact snowfall at home today as the mountain.

Got home to 3.5-3.75" of new snow.... snow depth up to 16" in the backyard.  The ski area is absolutely buried though.  Looks so amazing up there right now.  1,500ft is just positively buried... I'll get a snow depth tomorrow at the base area but it has to be mid-20s at the least.

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Town looks like a Candy Land Forest... snow stacked high on all objects.  All this snow has fallen with zero wind, even the power lines are sporting solid coats.

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I taught at Cannon for a few years. When it's good, it's good. Skiing steep, wind-blown slab is a badge of honor for a lot of folks. Definitely not for everyone. The terrain is some of the best in NE. The snow, bottom half at best. That being said, I now ski Burke almost exclusively since I moved to Lyndonville.

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40 minutes ago, LaGrangewx said:

Wow. You have some incredible pics from the last few days. I was planning on making my first trip to Tuckerman this spring with a couple buddies. Was planning on left gully as well from what I have read. I was wondering when you would recommend the ideal spring conditions would be? Mid to late April? I guess I’m wondering if there is a time, where the most stable snowpack in the Ravine lines up with full coverage of the Sherburne Trail to the bottom.  

This can obviously vary from one year to the next, but in a "typical" year I find that the best skiing on Mount Washington tends to line up around April 1st. That seems to be the time when you can maximize your potential for a top-to-bottom run from the summit down to Pinkham Notch. However...there have certainly been years (the last two in particular) when early April has featured conditions more representative of mid winter...which means you need to have avalanche education/tools OR be willing to deal with heavily scoured/icy conditions that don't soften up over the course of the day. If you wait until the mid April timeframe, the snowpack tends to become more isothermal (lower avalanche risk) and the skiing can be quite good in the ravine...but you start to run the risk of the Sherburne Trail melting out, which requires a bit of a hike to get back to the car.

So I guess it all depends on exactly what you are looking for. If you're just looking to ski the ravine but you're ok with the possibility of hiking the last 1-2 miles back to Pinkham...anytime from mid April to early May is probably when you'd want to target. But for a full summit-to-Pinkham run, April 1st to April 15th is what I would recommend.

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1 hour ago, dendrite said:

1.6” new since this morning. Pure fluff. I can probably broom the whole driveway. 

Same here.  1.6 inches of fluff for the day.  

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6 minutes ago, jculligan said:

This can obviously vary from one year to the next, but in a "typical" year I find that the best skiing on Mount Washington tends to line up around April 1st. That seems to be the time when you can maximize your potential for a top-to-bottom run from the summit down to Pinkham Notch. However...there have certainly been years (the last two in particular) when early April has featured conditions more representative of mid winter...which means you need to have avalanche education/tools OR be willing to deal with heavily scoured/icy conditions that don't soften up over the course of the day. If you wait until the mid April timeframe, the snowpack tends to become more isothermal (lower avalanche risk) and the skiing can be quite good in the ravine...but you start to run the risk of the Sherburne Trail melting out, which requires a bit of a hike to get back to the car.

So I guess it all depends on exactly what you are looking for. If you're just looking to ski the ravine but you're ok with the possibility of hiking the last 1-2 miles back to Pinkham...anytime from mid April to early May is probably when you'd want to target. But for a full summit-to-Pinkham run, April 1st to April 15th is what I would recommend.

Awesome really appreciate the detail. Main goal would be to ski a safer and softer Ravine so will probably aim for that mid to late April time frame. I’ll keep an eye on the avalanche website and any detailed trip reports on the forum. 

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46 minutes ago, MRVexpat said:

Saw it was rated as moderate today on that aspect. Do you and your partners have a good amount of experience in avy terrain? Took my AIARE 1 earlier this year and it did a pretty good job of spooking me haha. 

I took my AIARE 1 in 2019 and I attend the ESAW every autumn. MWAC actually ran a series of virtual presentations on Thursday nights this past fall which were offered for free, and I found those to be nice refreshers as well. I think my background in meteorology and overall experience in the mountains helps a ton as well.

The main avalanche problem today was wind slab, but I found it was fairly easy to avoid if you knew what to look for. We traversed around sections where the snow had a more styrofoam/hollow texture...even though that certainly would have made for an easier boot pack ha. There was definitely a lot of wallowing in deep snow today, but I'd rather that than risk kicking off a slab and going for a ride...even if it means a slower ascent time.

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30 minutes ago, klw said:

Same here.  1.6 inches of fluff for the day.  

0.2"/0.01" yesterday and a jspin special 1.7"/0.04" today. This stuff should sublimate pretty quickly.

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Just now, wxeyeNH said:

I used the leaf blower and it took 5 minutes.  Leaf blowers work great in 15F fluff

Yeah I would have, but my dad has it. :axe:

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The issue at Cannon is the notch just channels the warm southerly winds during a rain storm just eroding the pack. Cannon turns to rain before Wildcat all the time. With that said, Cannon and Wildcat have best terrain in NH by far. I once read some history of Cannon and the location of the ski area went against the recommendation of ...Sel Hannah maybe?

Friend posted some video skiing glades today at BW, looked great. I love how the glades at BW can open with so little snow depth

It is funny bc I am already contemplating a Indy and Cannon pass next year due my dissatisfaction with Wildcat. Cannon is also a shorter drive for me.

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