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.
View Western Canada lift tickets.
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.
View Northern Rockies lift tickets.
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.
If you’re talking trees, you should be mentioning Smuggler’s Notch. The most tree skiing in the East in my opinion. Also has an old time charm to it.
How is the tree skiing from the back of the Sterling Mtn. lift down to Rt. 108? That was great fun if you caught it bright and early before everyone else (who happened to know about it) tracked it out.
Birthday Bowls. ‘Nuff said.
Glad you played down Jay Peak and especially highlighting the “commercial” runs….if you know where to go there just isn’t any comparison because of the Jay Cloud. Beginners beware, not for the faint of heart….
Whitefish…Hellroaring Basin runs! Great tree spacing, mostly pretty steep.
Mont Orford in Eastern Townships Quebec has an amazing amount of tree skiing, a small amount is easy, most would be advanced/expert. (Secondary but appreciated, decent lift prices, short lines, and Magog’s a great town)
Mont Sutton in the Eastern Townships of Quebec has amazing trees.
I feel the best trees are at Whistler “The spirit ” is the ultimate the toilet bowl at Killington is pretty awesome
In my opinion, the area with the best tree skiing in the east is Sutton, Quebec. Most Americans have never heard of Sutton, but it has amazing tree skiing for all levels of skiers, from novice to expert, and is truly a gem of a ski area! Sutton is about 5 miles north of the Vermont border, and not too far from Jay Peak. It’s definitely worth the trip!
Sugarloaf. Nuff said.
Most of my tree skiing has been done in the Tahoe area; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. Great stuff! But last year, with the snow pretty scarce I went east where winter was definitely happening. Landed at Jay Peak. I thought I was a tree skier until I saw the locals showing us how it’s really done! Like the Pete says in the previous comment, “not for the faint of heart”. Word!
“Taos – New Mexico” No place for Wimps !
This qualifier in the Skiing Magazine in 1991 brought me to Taos, and the best Tree Skiing in a great Winter 92/93
The best thing about the Winter Park trees is that the Rocky Mountain Pine beetle killed off thousands of trees that were growing too close together. There is no more tight tree skiing as Winter Park also invested tons of money to airlift out the standing dead trees. Not only did this create much more user friendly ski spaces, but also decreasing possibilities for injury due to blow-down.
No one here has even mentioned bohemia in the keweenaw peninsula. I go at least once a year. Sure its just under 1,000 vertical and in the midwest but with 300-400 inches of snow a year and it being 100% ungroomed and steep,rocky and allllll chair accessed. No families here. Just hardcpre powder hounds. Probably the best kept secret in skiing and snowboarding. Worth checking out if get a chance to make it up
Just quick couple pics. But yeah its the real deal. Super remote and almost 100% glades. Just no begginers. They stress that there. Its a real easy place to get hurt because there is no out of bounds. Can quite literally go anywhere you see
[…] our quest to feature North America’s favorite resorts, covering everything from the best tree skiing to the best mogul runs to the best groomed terrain, we put up a social media query this fall asking […]
Hey! I just want to thank each of you for your comments! We’re working on a new post and you’ll see all of your suggestions and many of your tips incorporated into it! Thanks again!