Pros: state-owned, good trail shape, beautiful views, steep, not crowded
Cons: state-owned, wind whips thru Franconia Notch, usually very cold
Cannon Mountain is scary. I've skied every trail on it and I've been out west, but there is something terrifying about Cannon every time I go there. The trails are pitched in strange directions, the lower runs are steeper, and some of them seem to literally drop into Echo Lake. Franconia Notch acts like a windtunnel, blasting the air through and probably creating Cannon's reputation for ice-sheet conditions. This is the absolute coldest ski area I have ever been to; after working there 3 months (I started in December that season), the average daily high at the summit was only a single digit.
So why bother skiing it? Because Cannon Mountain is a skier's mountain. You won't find resort-like accomodations or on-slope lodging or weekend crowds. You will find skiers here. Serious, serious skiers. And just look at the lift ticket rates: $40 to ski one of the most historic areas in America? Here in New England, riding the tram is a skier's rite of passage. So make the drive -- everyone should ski Cannon sometime.