Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire
Cannon Mountain is the only resort in New Hampshire on our list, located in the north-central part of the state near the great town of Lincoln.
|Real Vertical ?||2,130′, Rank: 63|
|Size||285 Acres, Rank: 99|
|Annual Snowfall ?||160″ claimed / 163″ actual, Rank: 95|
|Lift Pods ?||5, Rank: 59|
|Distinct Trails ?||91, Rank: 41|
|Review Date||March 2023|
|Number of visits||1|
Cannon Mountain Review
This resort was the 3rd stop on our Big Trip of 2023. It almost didn’t make the list due to being 2nd from the bottom in size and with low snowfall, but multiple people told us it should be included so we added it. We are so glad it made the list because it was one of our favorites on that trip.
On paper, it doesn’t seem like much but stats don’t tell the whole story here. If you use your imagination there is plenty to keep you busy for a couple of days. I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that it’s only 285 acres because it feels much larger than that. Vertical drop is limited but it is very usable vertical because it’s a great run from the top all the way to the bottom — entertaining all the way. Most of our runs were top to bottom and then 2 lift rides to get back up.
We happened to ski it on a beautiful bluebird day, but the wind was absolutely ripping at the top so we got to experience some of the famous wind that Cannon is known for. It didn’t affect our day at all because it wasn’t that cold and the wind was not affecting lift operations, but I’m sure on a cold day with closed lifts it’s a whole different experience.
Snow was really good when we visited because they had just about received the annual average of 160″ and much of it fell the 3 weeks before we arrived. Still, the fact that 2/3rds of the terrain is covered by snowmaking was appreciated because the steeper terrain that wasn’t was pretty rocky and icy. Only a couple of trails were closed due to thin cover. A couple weeks before only about 60% were open so we were lucky.
The top of the mountain is served by the Cannonball Quad fixed-grip chair. This serves only about 40% of the vertical but all of the trails up there are interesting. 2 of the runs “Upper Cannon” and “Upper Ravine” are two of the most fun groomers we’ve ever skied. We’ve seen these runs that were intentionally cut to wind back and forth to ease the steepness from advanced to intermediate before, but never as good as these were. We took “Upper Cannon” 3 times. What a blast!
A fun top-to-bottom run is “Taft Slalom” to “Upper and Middle Hardscrabble”. The Hardscrabbles were really the only non snowmaking-covered terrain we skied. It is a memorable winding narrow bumpy run — classic New England skiing all the way.
There are some named glade runs but the trees were WAY too tight for us to be enticed to try them. We like tree skiing but this is next-level. Kudos to people who can ski that kind of terrain!
Notably, the Cannonball chair was voted 2nd coldest in the Northeast by the readers of Boston.com: https://www.boston.com/community/readers-say/the-coldest-chairlift-in-the-northeast-according-to-readers/.
We took this lift almost every run because we were skiing top-to-bottom most times. This is the only express lift at Cannon (other than the Tram). The ride time for both this and the shorter Cannonball Quad are about 5 1/2 minutes each so it works well to just ride the 2 lifts to get all the way back up. The terrain is mostly easier and this is where most of the longer intermediate runs are. We skied all of them in combination with the upper mountain.
This is an older fixed-grip triple with only 630′ of vertical drop. The runs are pleasantly steep though so it’s definitely worth spending part of your day there. It was closed for several weeks just prior to our arrival but was repaired just in time for us.
The tram did run later in the afternoon but we never ventured over to the tram base to give it a ride. It seemed like it was only open for sightseeing because we never saw any skiers disembarking at the top.
The tram is old and has also been plagued with mechanical issues over the years. It is slated to undergo a major refurbishment soon. I would say it’s more useful as a scenic ride than a ski lift because the tram base is really far to the right of the natural fall line, isolated from the rest of the resort.
The Mittersill double is only open on weekends but we did venture over there to ride the T-Bar on the racing hill. The Mittersill base seems to be entirely dedicated to ski race training. It’s isolated from the rest of the resort and requires crossing through the very flat Tuckerbrook zone. We never got to sample the interesting advanced runs above the T-bar because you can’t get there without a serious uphill slog on “The Saddle”. On the map it looks flat but it’s a pretty significant climb in real life.
The base lodge is pretty primitive with basic food options. This was kind of expected for a resort like this. It looks like many people just pack their own lunches — a time honored New England skiing tradition.
- Really interesting and fun terrain
- Great views
- Fun traditional ski culture
- Small acreage
- Known for being very windy and cold
- Lifts and facilities are aging
- Base lodge and food are very basic
- Low snowfall
The bottom line
Bodie Miller claims to have skied every day Cannon was open for 3 years straight when he was growing up in Franconia, NH. That is a testament to either how crazy he is about skiing or how decent the resort is. I’m sure it’s a little of both, but our take is that Cannon is a super fun small mountain with all the key ingredients to make it worth a visit.