New Snowmaking, Trails Redefine Legendary Cannon

Cannon kicks it up a notch with new snowmaking and trails. (Cannon Mountain)

New Hampshire’s Cannon Mountain kicked off the season Nov. 25 with a blanket of white that’s going to change the way the state-run mountain is defined. A $5 million snowmaking, energy efficiency and infrastructure project has landed the mountain over 400 new, high-efficiency tower guns and over 40 new land guns at Cannon and Mittersill, and a new booster pumphouse at mid-mountain.

Long known for its excellent terrain, but at the mercy of the whims of northern New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch, Cannon’s Greg Keeler told the biggest impact this project will have is changing the Cannon brand. “Normally there’s talk about Cannon after a big snowstorm, but people are going to start talking about Cannon in a different way. They’re going to be blown away by how much snow we can make in a short amount of time.”

In the past, Cannon has normally had one route available to kick off the season, traditionally right around Thanksgiving. This year, however, Cannon offered more than just a white ribbon for hardcore skiers itching to get back on snow. “With this new equipment we were able to turn on nine trails, with big chunks of terrain, big wide trails,” Keeler added.

Cannon front five

“This year’s opening was dramatically different. Never in the history of Cannon have Gary’s, Zoomer and Rocket been open on opening day,” Keeler told us, referring to three of Cannon’s legendary “front five” trails.

The new snowmaking system makes it possible for Cannon to make “50 percent more snow with 50 percent less energy consumption,” Cannon general manager John DeVivo told us.

Keeler added that the snowmaking team has been amazed at how much more snow they’re able to make at once, finding that “holy mackerel, we can turn on another trail!”

Thanks to the new system, Cannon can quickly recover from warm or rainy spells, as the Northeast encountered last year.

Cannon is also putting the finishing touches on the $4 million Mittersill improvement project, completely financed by fundraising through the Franconia Ski Club.

The project includes four primary routes with snowmaking, two world-class ski race training slopes, and the new Valar T-bar on the Taft training slope. A new warming hut and restroom facility will offer conveniences at the base of Mittersill.

All races and race training will move off Gary's and Zoomer and over to the new race training venue on Taft. Baron's Run will also have races, including the 2017 NCAA Alpine Skiing National Championships.