That Is Real Skiing

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This new year might be off to a good start for two reasons:

  1. My ski blog is finally online (yay).

  2. It continues to dump.


First day on the slopes for me was this past Sunday at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire — CannonMt.com. I’d been wanting to ski at Cannon for years from all the great things people say about it, like the terrain is fun and it is more laid back and less commercial than some resorts. Those are pretty much good characteristics according to me. A not so great thing that people say about Cannon is that it can be very cold, but thankfully Sunday was not too bad.

One thing I noticed immediately is that Cannon people are nice. For instance the person at the first parking lot we pulled into, which was at capacity, was friendly and upbeat. He told us the best place to park and how to get to the base lodge. Now, you might think that is the most simplistic observation to make, but if you have ever skied at areas that are not like Cannon, you know that the parking lot is where bad vibes can start as soon as the attendant glares at you.

The other thing that I noticed is the loyal following Cannon has. I knew that coming in, because, as I mentioned, people had already told me great things about the mountain. But it was nice to hear it from other skiers that day on the mountain too. A couple dads in the line for the tram were talking about how much they love Cannon and that even though Sunday was the busiest day they had ever seen at Cannon, it was still mellower than some other resorts.

Not to diminish the skiing aspects of my day at Cannon, which were fun too, but no matter what it is pretty much more fun than anything else to ski in fresh snow. And it snowed at Pico, where I skied on Monday, which reminded me why I really love winter and why I really love to ski.

In theory, it’s nice to get first tracks on a powder day, and there usually is no such thing as friends on a powder day, but in truth I followed neither of those adages on Monday. I drove about an hour to get to Pico Mountainand instead of getting first tracks I enjoyed a lovely omelet and mimosa breakfast. Finally I headed out for some runs with a friend of mine who I have known longer than I haven’t known, or so her husband calculated for us.

We skied; we smiled, then finally we took a run and I said, “That is real skiing.” Real skiing to me is great snow and great bump lines. The snow does not have to be knee deep and the lines don’t have to be tight or big. You see, I do love to ski, and I have fun most of the time when I am skiing, despite the actual conditions. But what I really love is skiing on interesting and challenging terrain with natural snow, good lines and maybe even some pucker brush poking through. And this year, I got that on my second day out.


Read more New England Ski tips from Heather Atwell.

  • Gretchen

    I think skiing in brush makes you happier than anything. It is the road less traveled. But then again, Pico is always a special treat.

  • I also have started a new tradition–making time for that wonderful, warm, and hearty breakfast BEFORE going to the lodge. Here’s my tip of the day: If anyone is heading to Sunapee, be sure not to miss the breakfast at Bradford Depot. Lord, it’s so good and so inexpensive. I was with two others, and we couldn’t believe how big a great breakfast $3 bought. It’s on Route 114. We got there from Peterborough by getting off Route 202 North, exiting at 114 where the sign says “Henniker.” We turned left, and right past the sign for Bradford was the Bradford Depot. Just leave room for me!


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