Perfect Ski Day at Cannon Mountain

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A couple weeks ago, Martha Wilson shared her insider tips to experience the perfect ski day at Bretton Woods. This week, Meghan McCarthy McPhaul zips us around her home hill.  Meghan grew up skiing at Cannon Mountain and is the author of A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends.  With three kids under the age of 5, she makes the most of hitting the slopes both solo and with her little ones.  Here’s what she told me about her perfect ski day at Cannon.

A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales & Skiing Legends by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul

On solo days, Meghan hits Wendle’s in town (603-823-5141; wendles.com) to pick up
a hearty sandwich; she recommends the “Breakfast Reuben” (corned beef, egg, Swiss
cheese, and red onion on rye toast) and “The Oddball” (turkey, mushrooms, provolone, and
egg on your choice of bread). Scattered couches and bar tables may entice you to linger, but
there’s a snow day ahead, so keep moving.

Meghan arrives early, but her morning plan depends on who’s in tow. “If I’m skiing solo on a
powder day, I park at the tram. It opens earlier than the other lifts, so you get first tracks,” she explains. “With kids, I always park by the pods at the Peabody Base Area. You just get out of the car and on the snow and ski down to the family area.” The tram is open Friday to Monday during non-holiday weeks, and all week during holiday periods. Weekends and holidays, the mountain opens at 8:30; 9:00 a.m. midweek.


Meghan's kids check out the Rabbit Path sign in the Tuckerbrook Family Area at Cannon before heading down the trail.

Meghan’s kids love to ski the Tuckerbrook Family Area. The trails here are named
after animals: Rabbit Path, Fox Tail, and Turkey Trot. “My kids will ski there all day
and love it,” she says. “After my kids ski for an hour, they’ll warm up in the base lodge
with cocoa and a cookie or crackers—and then go back out.”

Without the kids, “my favorite run is Upper Cannon,” Meghan says. “It’s one of those original curvy trails, where you can ski as though you’re racing a giant slalom
corner to corner. Upper Ravine is another oldiebut-goodie, curvy and fast, and it
faces a different exposure. So if the sun’s not hitting one, it’s hitting the other.
When it’s really windy at the top, I ski off the Zoomer lift and the Front Five,
the trails you can see from the highway. They’re shorter and more protected, so you
can do quick laps down there. If the top gets too crowded, go to Zoomer; normally
if one area is crowded, the other isn’t. You just need to find the sweet spot,
depending on the day and the weather.”

Unusual at a ski area, Cannon has a dedicated Brown Bag Room, so often Meghan
will pack a lunch for herself and her family before heading off to the slopes.

Cannonball Pub
on mountain, or head to the Dutch Treat—a longtime local establishment with views of Cannon Mountain and live music on the weekends. If everyone is hungry Meghan will grab an “amazing”  pizza to go from Mojo Headquarter’s in Franconia. If it’s a weekend , Chef Joe’s Bistro, in the old Village House in town has a small menu, but great food.

To read more about Meghan’s book, visit: A History of Cannon Mountain: Trails, Tales and Skiing Legends. 

ABOUT MEGHAN: As a freelance writer, mother of three young children, gardener, skier, hiker, bicyclist, avid reader, and woods explorer, Meghan leads “a pleasantly full life.” Read some of her musings on her blog,  Writings from a Full Life.

  • Your ski trip with your family was surely enjoyable. How cute are the kids in the pics wearing their ski gears. Lovely!


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