Skiing Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch Park, NH

This past weekend I headed up to Cannon Mountain to ski with my husband and a few friends. It was a cold day, mid 20s for the temp, but there was some serious wind too. The sky was gray, snow guns were going on quite a few trails, the world looked sepia. The only color was from bright ski jackets, and the two tramway cars, Mustard and Ketchup. The tramway? Oh man, I could write a whole post on the history of the tramway. Alexander Bright saw tramways in at ski areas in Europe as a member of the US Olympic Ski Team. North America’s first aerial tramway was built in 1938…..Alexander Bright’s vision came to life thanks to L.R. Bateman and his American Steel and Wire, E.J Loyd and Roland Peabody of Franconia, and the NH government at the time. Peabody was the first manager of the tramway. One of the chairlifts is named after Peabody.

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Heading up to the top on the Cannonball Quad, loving the beautiful rime ice on the chairlift!
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Mountain Station, tramway side! There’s Mustard ready to head back down the mountain.
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Other side of the Mountain Station, the 4080′ Cafe and restrooms are inside. Selling point? Highest Beer Tap in NH!
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Looking back at the view on the Peabody quad I believe
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Racing shack on Lower Ravine (my favorite trail)….but lets just pretend its my quaint warming cabin k?
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Check out all the snow making action! It was so windy we wondered if any snow made it to the ground!

I am pretty sure we did every blue trail besides the Tuckerbrook family area. There aren’t a ton of green trails, but loads of blues thankfully! A couple of us took a break and my husband and some others headed over to the Mittersill ski area. Mittersill is a sub peak of Cannon Mountain. The Taft Trail on Mittersill had been used for skiing/racing since 1931-32. Baron Hubert von Pantz (I know, what a name) opened lift service to the Taft Trail in 1942 with a rope tow. The Baron built what he called the Franconia Mittersill at the base of Mittersill after his Austrian Mittersill Castle. After WWII, Mittersill was quite the resort- a restaurant and ice bar along with the inn, and besides skiing there was skating, dancing, tennis, and car races on frozen Echo Lake! In the late 50s, Mittersill started to make snow, and the resort flourished in the 60s. Competition with its neighbor, Cannon Mountain, started to heat up in the late 60s and by 1984, Mittersill was done. The inn is still there though, see their website here. When the inn opened in 1945, it was a society hot spot. The Baron was already back in Austria working on his Mittersill Castle there when the ski area in NH closed.

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Looking back at the summit of Cannon from Mittersill! See the Mountain Station up there?
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View of the Cannonballs and the Kinsmans are in the background in the clouds.

Before Mittersill even closed, Cannon was trying to figure out how to incorporate the Mittersill ski area. See the history here or here. Finally in 2009, the rope cutting took place! In between time, many backcountry skiers utilized the Mittersill trails by skinning up, and skiing down. That is now not allowed! In those early couple years, you had to take the tramway or the lift up to the summit of Cannon and ski/hike over to the Mittersill trails. It was still very much backcountry status. A double chairlift started up in 2011 over there so now you can ski Mittersill without using lifts at Cannon. On Saturday when we were there, my husband said big training/racing was going on over at Mittersill, very exciting. Part of the deal for Cannon getting Mittersill was that the Mittersill trails were going to be a racing complex. The money needed to construct and expand the trails for that were contributed by the Franconia Ski Club and the state of NH. That means that the racing facility does not just belong to Cannon….it belongs to the Franconia Ski Club and NH…which is pretty cool. See all the drama of the racing expansion here.

So I need to go back many more times. There was just too much. There’s a ski museum at Cannon that I didn’t even get to go to. There is so much history at Cannon/Mittersill. I just can’t help but think about how glamorous it all must have been. The Cannonball Pub at the base of Cannon is terrific, but to see the ice bar or restaurant at Mittersill back in the 50s? That would be something.

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3 thoughts on “Skiing Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch Park, NH

  1. Love the Mittersill history! I remember huffing up there before the lift was put in wondering if it would be worth the extra little climb and if I would be able to find my way back to the base for d cannon without having to hike or hitch. Always a fun adventure. Cannon has always been a spooky mountain for me with that ominous ice encrusted peak and the old school historic feel…

    I got to get up there!

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    1. That’s amazing! All the respect for those who trudge uphill in ski boots haha! This was my first time there as a skier, I have hiked it before. I can totally see the spooky…covered in ice its like a different planet!

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      1. Just to be clear I only ever trudged up to Mittersill from the peak of Cannon…Not from the base! I’m a 3 season hiker for the most part. So far anyway!

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