Looking for a “resort” experience? Look elsewhere. State-run Cannon certainly lacks for those kinds of frills, and its rankings show it (No. 25 for Lodging, 26 for Dining, Après, and Off-Hill Activities, etc.). And yet it cracks the Top 20, inspires some of the most enthusiastic comments from readers, and rates an impressive No. 7 for Overall Satisfaction. How so? Because the place has undeniable soul. Bode Miller’s home hill, located at the north entrance to rugged, stunningly beautiful Franconia Notch, earns No. 5 rankings for both Character and Scenery. Terrain is a strength, too, ranking No. 4 for Challenge. (The fearsome “Front Five,” visible from the highway, set the tone, though there’s lots of blue terrain that’s harder to see.) “Cannon is the people’s mountain,” says one reader, “and those that experience it will be amazed with its history and character.” And as a “people’s mountain” should, Cannon keeps the prices affordable, ranking No. 3 for Value. Even better, it’s easy to get to—right off I-93—ranking No. 3 for Access as well. “Great history, challenging trails, killer views, good value,” raves one fan. “A skiers mountain; love the vibe. Please, please, please remain state-owned and managed.”
DON'T MISS >> The historic tram is an attraction in itself. There may be more efficient lifts, but none more fun to ride. Plus it’s nice and cozy on cold days.
OFF-HILL RESTAURANT >> Worthwhile dining options are few in sleepy Franconia, but the Sugar Hill Inn is the exception with its refined, fireplaced dining room and ambitious menu.
MANDATORY RUN >> The formerly defunct Mittersill trails, recently added to Cannon’s terrain, are once again lift-served, but little has been done to tame their appealing wildness.