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Glade, Backcountry Skiing Popular In The Midwest

Mount-Bohemia-powder-and-views-Facebook A skier in Mt. Bohemia's backcountry with Lake Superior in background.

Glade skiing, popular out west and in the east, doesn’t take a backseat in the Heartland. Ski areas located across the upper tier of the Midwest offer tree skiing and even a few cliff jumps.

Upper Michigan’s Mt. Bohemia is legendary for backcountry skiing. It offers the only cat skiing east of the Rockies and is listed among Powder Magazine's annual reader poll of the best backcountry powder in North America. Bohemia routinely comes out on top in the east and has finished among the top four. There’s a 900-foot vertical drop spread out over 600 acres with cliffs, chutes, trees, steep drops, all-natural Lake Superior snow, nothing groomed. The annual average lake effect snow is 270-inches. It’s the only Heartland area that is truly backcountry.

There are five other ski resorts in Lower Michigan, two in Wisconsin, and one each in Minnesota and South Dakota that offer glade skiing. There’s no backcountry but alluring glades to the side of groomed runs offer nice swaths of powder.

In northern Michigan, all three ski areas located near Petoskey—Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, and Nubs Nob—have glade areas marked on trail maps.

The Mountain has three advanced glades and the Highlands four scattered across ski area ridges. Nubs has seven glades that stretch across the front side, south side, and Pintail Peak. One of their upper glade slopes can be accessed only by hiking up; just like out west.

Crystal Mountain offers five glades scattered across the ski hill requiring varying skill levels. Caberfae Peaks has a 25-acre area off the backside of North Peak marked as backcountry terrain offering lots of nice powder lines.

Wisconsin’s Granite Peak offers several acres of glades in between widely spaced runs scattered across the mountain. Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains has glade runs scattered across three of their mountains, many well away from the groomed runs offering seclusion like you would find out west. 

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