Cannon's not for wimps. Got it? If you need pampering, posh slopeside dining and lodging or tony boutiques, this state-run mountain ain't for you, honey. But if you thrive on challenge, demand variety of terrain and know how to dress warm, then one of New England's oldest, toughest mountains awaits. Cannon's fans are serious skiers who try to outdo each other with stories of the temperatures and conditions they've braved. Likely they're making up a good portion of their tales just to scare off what they perceive as less worthy skiers. As one regular says: Cannon's "cold, windy, challenging and empty." Cannon skiers love to complain: about the grooming, the weather, the food and the lack of snowmaking and capital improvements. But they always come back, because Cannon, home of Olympic medalist Bode Miller, is the kind of mountain serious skiers adore. "Very challenging terrain even for expert skiers," says one reader. "Between good natural snowfall and limited grooming, powder stashes abound," says another. You get "good top-to-bottom, full-vertical runs" at Cannon, and that's a respectable 2,146 feet. "Good value," too, as one reader attests. Other pluses are the untouched slopes and trails on adjoining Mittersill, a defunct ski area that offers lift-served backcountry, and a segregated beginner's area. And then there's history: Cannon is home to the first race trail and first tramway in North America. As readers note, it's an "old-time" mountain with "skiing like it used to be." -H.N.
WHAT'S NEW $1 million in upgrades to the tramway electrical system and work on additional terrain in the beginner area.
A GOOD DEAL Two-for-$40 lift tickets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
MEDALS GOLD Challenge, Value, Access, Scenery; SILVER Terrain.
HIGH/LOW RANK Access (10), Value (15), Scenery (16); Lodging (59), Family Programs (60), Weather (63).
DON'T MISS The New England Ski Museum, located in a building adjacent to the Tram Base. This winter's exhibit is "Highlights of New England Skiing." The museum shop is a great source for vintage ski posters.
READER REMARKS (+) "Excellent mountain, good value, excellent terrain." "Vistas equal to anywhere in the U.S." (-) "When the wind blows, it really blows." "Can be very icy."