Luckily this storm wasn't all NWS hype and it did indeed deliver as advertised. All said and done we probably got just under 2ft at the house. I was staged and ready, took Friday off and was outside enjoying the actual arrival of winter from Friday morning straight through to Sunday afternoon.
Friday/Saturday at Cannon was interesting. Storm skiing through and through. Friday things were just getting going but it was already snowing and blowing real hard in the Notch. Just about whiteout conditions and pretty damn cold. It was blowing hard enough to keep the conditions on the variable side. The snow was having a hard time accumulating on the trails with all the wind. I had a sweet run in with a pre-teen who either had a seizure or just randomly decided to shoot erratically to his left just as I was coming by him on the dump out from Spooky creating a need for some evasive action. Lucky for him I'm real good at evasive action so no collision but I did hit a junk bump right after that my weight was no longer properly distributed for and I had a pretty sweet little explosion. All in a days work.
Got up real early Saturday to dig out to get to Cannon for first chair. I lucked out and both Meredith and Sanbornton plowed right before I left and the drive was actually really easy considering this was one of the biggest storms of the last few years. Oh, and snow tires are AWESOME. I highly recommend Conti ExtremeWinterContacts. There is no stopping the Fit. Saturday was one of the deeper days I've had at Cannon over the last 5 years or so but good god did it hurt. I don't think temps got over 15 up there and the wind was howling all day so wind chills were easily below 0. We went to the top once and that was one time too many. Immediately went deep freeze riding the cannonball and we all got frostbite on our noses and cheeks on the way down and had to stop in the Peabody for coffee to get everything warmed back up. After that we stuck a bit lower and lapped the Front and some of the sheltered lines off the Peabody. Unfortunately the woods are not in play up there yet. There was enough snow from this dump but just no base and too many of the lines still had all kinds of garbage showing. It was a good day but the temps and lack of wooded action made it hard to fully enjoy.
Sunday was the pick of the weekend IMO. Snow was a bit more played out but the weather was perfect. Shaun had been stuck in Boston for Saturday but was itching to get out on his new AT setup so we decided to check out Cardigan and Clint tacked on as well. Lots of other people had the same idea. Tons of cars in the parking lot. We ended up seeing quite a few other people I knew. Apparently I've been recreating in this area long enough to know about 30% of the people who would show up on a day like this.
We stuck to the plan of ascending Holt/Clark trails to PJ Ledge and then we decided to go a bit higher to see how the summit looked.
Shaun sweating to the oldies
view from PJ Ledge
Shaun got a pretty sweet trial by fire as there are a few tricky spots and some technical skinning as you get higher. He got all the good stuff; cross fall line, steep switchbacks, thin cover on slab, the WORKS. The summit was pretty wind scoured but it looked at least marginally workable so we continued up a bit to a little sheltered spot about 1/4 of the way past tree line to transition and get some calories.
After Alexandria we made the short skin over to Kimball's to take that back down to the base. It was strangely very wind affected even though it is lower down and very sheltered and wooded. Its a fun lower angle run. About half way down I tried to plow through a wind drift that turned out to be a bit deeper and more dense than I thought it would be leading to full on somersault antics. Great way to end the day.
I really hope we can end this winter with a bit more legit winter weather and lots more recreation opportunities like this weekend.