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Diving Into The Forests For The Trees


Never too far from the forest at Taos. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)

Few things bring skiers and riders closer to the mountain than getting off the piste and into the forest.

Tree-skiing means ready to turn at a moment’s notice and challenges the ability to look ahead a couple of turns to map out a route through the trunks. Colorado and New England have always been go-to regions, but there’s no shortage of trees across ski and snowboard country.

Here’s a SnoCountry.com look at some of the best:

Trees, trees and nothing but trees at Jay Peak. (Jay Peak/Facebook)

Locals say you can find trees anywhere on Jay Peak. The northern Vermont mountain has nearly a dozen specifically cut glade trails across the mountain. Half-trees half-open Deliverance runs long from mid-mountain, as does Everglades on the other side off Bonaventure Quad.

Slip off side of trail into trees at Sugarbush. (Sugarbush/Facebook)

At Sugarbush, warm up off the side of Sleeper before hitting the steep trees of Eden Woods and Stein’s Woods on Gadd Peak on the Vermont mountain. Tight trails all over invite skiers and riders to veer into the trees. Rumble off Castle Peak seen as toughest test.

New Mexico's Taos Ski Valley is both steep and full of tree runs – many lift accessible. Go through gate at top of Al’s Run for thigh-burning North American and Ernie’s Run that never seem to end. Sir Arnold Lunn combos trees and moguls on fallaway terrain, while a hike and traverse to West Basin ends up a Wild West Glade.

Upper reaches of Steamboat a tree-skiing paradise. (Steamboat/Facebook)

Many call Steamboat the “tree skiing capital.” Most runs on the Colorado mountain go through aspens (lodgepole pine fell victim to massive beetle kill), and anything off either side off Storm Peak quad gets you right into them. Upper reaches below Werner Peak have nothing but glades and chutes, with black diamonds softening to blues in the trees as you get lower down.

Gettin' pumped to hit the trees at Sierra-at-Tahoe. (Sierra-at-Tahoe/Facebook)

The water-logged trunks of red firs saved what is now Sierra-at-Tahoe from the logger’s saw. That mean’s old-growth firs all over the mountain above Lake Tahoe, with both front and back full of widely spaced glades.

Other Western favorites for those who can’t stay out of the trees are Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon, Winter Park in Colorado and Stevens Pass in Washington. 

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