Fun Skiing – Cannon’s Blasting & Sunny Sunapee

Kris turning her skis on Wingding. First day of the season for Kris and for Mount Sunapee!


by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

Cold nights and sunny days make for great fun on the slopes. Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st, but it certainly looks and feels like winter is already here.
Cannon Mountain has been blasting snow on their slopes like never before! Just a quick glance at the mountain while driving through Franconia Notch and you’ll see the trails Zoomer, Rocket and Gary’s are sporting big fluffy white coats.

Does the Cannon Mountain Yeti look familiar?

I met Becca at the Peabody Lodge. We were in our gear and waiting in lift line 15 minutes before the chairlift was scheduled to open. We could see the ski patrol were already riding up the lift. There were less than a dozen other eager skiers and snowboarders waiting ahead of us and many more gathered behind us.
I don’t think my watch was wrong but they dropped the rope and started loading the chairs five minutes early. What a treat!
Cannon Mountain made 5 million dollars of improvements to their snowmaking system and have increased their snowmaking capacity by 50%. 400 new high-efficiency tower guns and 40 new land guns have been installed and these snowguns require less energy to produce more snow. They’re estimating that only half as much energy will be required to make snow with the new equipment.
This is good news for Cannon skiers and riders because as the temperatures continue to stay cold more trails will open fast.
Becca and I shared our first ride up the mountain with a women that skis nearly every day at Cannon. We were all excited about the couple of inches of new snow that fell the night before and smoothly blanketed the groomed man-made snow. We would be making fine first tracks.
Ha! I didn’t like waiting for Becca to snap her boot into her snowboard’s binding because people would be getting after the fresh snow before me. Three people skied by me and that’s all it took. I told her I’d meet her at the Zoomer lift and I took off.

Good skiing and riding on Rocket and below Echo Lake isn’t frozen over yet but it will be soon. The trails facing Franconia Notch were the first to be covered with man-made snow using the new energy-efficient snow guns.


Becca snowboarding at Cannon Mountain. There’s a good view of Bald Mountain and Artist Bluff from the Lower Cannon Trail.

My first run was absolutely dreamy. I pushed my skis easily against the fresh soft smooth untracked snow and let gravity do its work.
At the bottom I watched the smiling faces of skiers, riders and a handful of telemark skiers slide past me and into the lift line. In a minute or two Becca came gliding up and we joined the short lift line. Fun to have the first run done and we had the whole morning to keep on doing it.
We alternated between the Zoomer and Eagle Cliff chairlifts and mixed up the way we skied the trails.
The ski club kids were free skiing with their coaches. The mountain built a big jump and quite a few were tackling it with some success—some made it up and flew over the lip and others didn’t quite get enough speed to make it up the ramp!
As we were skiing the crews were busy making snow higher up on the mountain. Cannon’s snow report announced that there would be top to bottom skiing and another dozen or more trails to be opening as soon as the next day. (Yes, Cannon is open top to bottom now be sure to check out their snow report at I am looking forward to going back soon.
Good Deals at Cannon: Back this winter are Tuesdays & Thursdays 2 for $75 and $25 Wednesdays for NH residents.

Winter scene on the summit of Mount Sunapee.


Yours truly and Kris enjoying the sunshine at Mount Sunapee and saying “Awesome” to each other.

Sunny Sunapee
Last week my friend Kris called me and convinced me to join her for Sunapee’s Opening day. I met Kris in the lodge after she picked up her season pass. We both buckled up our boots and headed out the door.
We were in the lift line early and yet a least a dozen skiers were ahead of us. She reminded me that last year together we made first chair at Ragged Mountain on their opening day. These Sunapee skiers were the most eager first day skiers I’ve seen. I think some were already waiting when we drove into the parking lot.
The dark clouds were breaking up and the sun came out and it was bright and white where they made snow. The Sunapee Express zipped us to the summit and we made fun turns down Blast-Off, only stopping once just long enough to say “Awesome”.
We repeated our fun on Blast-Off and then we skated over to the Sunbowl and enjoyed Wingding all the way down to the Sunbowl Express.
From the trail the views over Lake Sunapee’s open water were good of the local hills, clouds rested on the top of Mount Kearsarge and clouds hid the bigger peaks further away but we happily skied in the sunshine. The snow was loose granular and they had done a great job for the first grooming of the man-made snow covered slopes. We had fun turning our skis and zipping up and down the mountain.
Two high-speed quads and two top to bottom trails—we made a lot of runs by noon, at least ten maybe a dozen before we called it a day. We noticed during our last run that we had the trail all to ourselves. I guessed we weren’t the only ones that had to get back to the real world in the afternoon. Sure was hard to leave all the fun behind.
Good deals at Sunapee: “Twofer Wednesday” 2 for $74 and if you purchase your ticket at least 4 days in advance on-line you can save up to 50%. Sunday Fundays—Noon to 4pm are just $49!
Have Fun.