For many skiers and snowboarders, skiing the trees is the holy grail of winter fun.
When you duck into a glade, you’re one step closer to skiing’s backcountry roots. You leave behind the noise and commotion of the larger resort and enter an entirely different world.
On sunny days, the light in the forest is diffuse and dappled, while on storm days, glades offer welcome relief in a monochromatic landscape.
You don’t have be an expert to enjoy skiing and riding glades. You just need to find the right pitch and the right tree spacing for your level of experience.
We asked, you answered.
Last season, you helped us compile two fun lists: North America’s best groomed runs and North America’s best mogul runs. This season, we’re building two more lists, starting today with the best resorts for tree skiing and moving on, next month, to powder.
Because our lists are based on suggestions gleaned from social media, they are far from exhaustive and definitely not scientific. Without a doubt, we missed your favorite resort. So please, help us out and leave information about your favorite tree skiing in the comments.
At the top of our list are Whitewater Ski Resort and Red Mountain Resort, B.C., two neighboring resorts that were mentioned again and again.
These interior B.C. favorites are famous for deep, dry powder and terrific trees. As one skier put it, “the tree skiing and glades are steep or not, as you choose. They have it all.”
Red Mountain Resort is spread across three peaks: Red Mountain, Granite Mountain and Grey Mountain. Intermediates head for the Paradise lift on Granite Mountain, while advanced and expert riders choose between highly praised glades like Powderfields on the Front Side, Captain Jack’s Trees and Beer Belly, both on Granite Mountain.
Glory Ridge Side is a good place to start at Whitewater Ski Resort. If you’re new to trees, find mellow, open glades by heading skier’s left off chair. Specifically, follow Morning Glory to Ramble On.
Seeking more aggressive terrain? Head skier’s right off of Morning Glory, or check out Sproulers off of the Summit Chair, where you’ll find perfectly spaced trees along a straight and true fall line.
Stateside, beginner to expert options can be found at Big Sky, Montana, our list-leader for the US. Noted for having both “easy glades and tight trees,” one skier shared that “the first place I really enjoyed tree skiing was in the Andesite glades.”
Beginner tree skiers can indeed find enjoyment in Freemont’s Forest on Andesite Mountain, while Porcupine is a great novice option on Lone Mountain.
Big Sky’s Moonlight area has two new intermediate glades to explore this season, White Magic and Short Stack. On Andesite Mountain, it’s a family affair, with Pomp and Lizette (the names of the actual Sacajawea’s children) offering excellent glades on both sides of the Sacajawea run.
Experts, of course, will find endless options. Take your pick amongst Snake Pit, Shady Chutes, Peru or Bolivia on Andesite Mountain or Tango Trees, Soul Hole, Double Jack or Single Jack on Lone Mountain.
Great tree skiing is found everywhere in ski country. Eastern resorts getting shouts include:
- Snowshoe, West Virginia (look for more snowmaking and newly thinned glades between Cupp and Shays in the Western Territories);
- Bretton Woods, New Hampshire (“best trees for learning in the East”);
- Jay Peak, Vermont (Valhalla, Everglades and Andre’s Paradise were nominated);
- Sugarbush, Vermont (look for Castlerock Glades);
- Bolton Valley, Vermont (Vista Glades will be your mark);
- Mad River Glen, Vermont (“best trees requiring the least snow”); and
- Ski Stoneham, Quebec (excellent beginner glades in La Casimir).
View New England lift tickets.
From Small to Large
Since you don’t need tons of acreage to have fun tree skiing, smaller western resorts are well represented in our list.
In Colorado, check out Powderhorn Mountain Resort and Wolf Creek. Close to Boulder, Eldora, has topnotch tree skiing, with surprisingly few crowds.
Other smaller western resorts nominated include Ski Santa Fe and Utah’s Eagle Point.
As for big western resorts, here’s our start on what is sure to be a much longer list.
- Telluride, Colorado (Plunge Trees);
- Steamboat, Colorado (Shadows and Closets);
- Winter Park, Colorado (Eagle Wind Territory);
- Northstar, California (Monument Glade is especially good for beginners);
- Mount Hood Meadows, Oregon (Fright Glades and Jack’s Wood);
- Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico (80 acres of hike-to glades in Wild West).
If you’re new to tree skiing, the best tip is don’t look at the trees. Look around them at the path you want to follow. Anticipate your turns and plan ahead.
Start with widely spaced glades on a moderate pitch and choose a day when the snow is soft. Icy runs in the trees are much harder than powder or packed powder runs.
As you get more confident try steeper lines, and then, tighter trees.