Kinsman Glade

Steepest Ski Trail in New Hampshire - Kinsman Glade, Cannon

Located off the tram at Cannon are two trails that are capable of making the preponderance of skiers and riders proclaim, “Damn, you would need to be absolutely Kray-Kray to attempt that nonsense!”.  The trails are DJ’s Tramline and Kinsman Glade. Many may go so far as to say the trails are as evil and twisted as the infamous twins, Reggie and Ronnie Kray, who were the origin for the slang term that uses the brothers surname.  While DJ’s Tramline is one of the most famous trails in Eastern North America and is often touted as the hardest run in the East, Kinsman Glade is no slouch and some may argue it is even harder than DJ’s. The glade is located to the left of DJ’s Tramline when looking up the mountain and shares many of the same steep pitches.  In fact, DJ’s sustained pitch is 32.28 degrees and Kinsman checks in at an incredible 35.22, making it the fifth steepest trail in Eastern North America and the steepest trail in New Hampshire. This pitch coupled with the spruces, firs, hemlocks, pines, ashes, elms, maples, oaks and a plethora of other trees native to New Hampshire that are interspersed over the 3471 feet of the trail is what really amps up the level of difficulty.   While DJ’s is known to have massive boulders on the trail, Kinsman is not as rocky. But, that is like saying Pam Anderson has small boobs when comparing them to Dolly Parton. Kinsman still has the ability to rip a core shot in through the base of your skis that will leave you viewing You Tube videos on how to apply p-tex. In fact, unlike its 2nd cousin, Paradise at Mad River Glen, Kinsman is rarely open because of the amount of snow cover, greater than two feet, needed to make the trail skiable. 

Kinsman starts off mellow for the first 700 feet, but after that the trail drops and maintains 30 degrees plus the next 2000 feet.  Kinsman lulls you into thinking you’ve got everything in control because the first 700 of the trail is nothing more than a blue square that rambles along at a less than impressive 14 degrees.  It is around the 700 feet mark that Kinsman becomes like the carnival ride, the Rotor. The floor drops out from underneath you, however like the carnival ride you won’t stick to the wall, in this ride, gravity takes over and there are no escape routes at this time, because the trees are too thick.  Plus, even if you did manage to traverse through the woods, your exit would be DJs Tramline! It maintains the pitch until about 2400 feet into the trail where it mellows to approximately at 22-degree pitch until the end.

The incredible thing about the trail is that it was first envisioned in 1946 when an individual by the name of Steve Bradley wrote a letter to the ski trail architect Sel Hannah, suggesting a “slalom glade” with trees forty to fifty feet apart by the tram.  However, his vision wasn’t recognized until 2002 when Kinsman officially appeared as a trail. To think of skiing Kinsman on wood slabs with a cable binding and lace up leather boots seems near suicidal, you really have to give it to the old timers and what they thought and many times were capable of doing on their equipment.