Cannon Mountain ski report-August 21, 2014

From the highway I could see that Cannon Mountain has started to mow the slopes in anticipation of a long, cold and snowy winter. All of Gary’s had been cut and I could see the tractor cutting away on Rocket. I looked for black bears on all of the front five slopes, often they are feeding on the grass, and especially on Gary’s and Rockets. I would not see any bears, although earlier in the day I saw two foxes a long the road in Crawford Notch. I make my way to Echo Lake Beach at the north end of the lake. The front five rises above the lake. The sky is quite cloudy and there are a few rain drops around, the temperature is around 68 degrees. I wade into the water and see the red tram car (ketchup) is making its way up the cable to the summit. I dive in and begin my swim, the water temperature is colder than I thought it would be, and it’s very refreshing. My destination is the boat ramp at the southern end of the lake. As I swim, I take my breath to the right and look up at Rocket and Gary’s. I think that come winter I’m going to shred those slopes and carve them to pieces with my skis. In fact, Gary’s is usually one of the first to open for skiing; it won’t be too much longer. For now, I’ll have to make due with carving my way through the water. After all, what is water but snow in its immature, liquid form and I’m actually swimming in snow that melted off the slopes last spring. Snow that we all skied on.

The water is feeling even colder as I make my way to the middle of the lake. I stop, tread water and then float on my back. I look up at Eagle Cliff and there are clouds moving up the gap between the cliff and Agony Ridge towards the summit of Lafayette. I see again the tractor cutting the grass and now the yellow tram car (mustard) is making its way to the summit. There’s a small boat on the lake with one man fishing from it. The sides of my body feel cold and so too do my elbows. For my own safety I decide not to swim the length of the lake and turn back towards the beach. One should not swim in open water alone, just as one should not ski in the woods alone; then why do I do both? On the way back I swim towards a small buoy and I think I know what it’s marking. A few years ago I was swimming in that area and could see a big pipe that disappeared into the depth of the lake. That’s the snowmaking pipe that the ski area draws water from to make snow. I swim over to the buoy and see at the sandy bottom of the lake in about ten feet of water a large concrete footing. It’s about five feet square, three feet high and there’s a steel grate on top of it about four feet square. Both the concrete and grate look brand new. I believe that Cannon may have done an upgrade to the water intake, because before the pipe just disappeared deep into the depths of the lake. In any case, that pipe will soon render that frozen concoction that helps us ski on. The water will return to the slopes in the form of snow, snow that we will all ski on this winter. The cycle will continue.

The trees in the mountains are already beginning to cycle to their next stage too; a few are well on their way to peak color. As I drive south on I93 I see that the little slope Jasper’s Hideaway had been mowed too, I have a secret little spot over there. So with the slopes being mowed, the leaves turning color and a snow making upgrade at Cannon, I will end this summer time ski report. It won’t be too much longer now.

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