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post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
OK, so I asked my husband where he wants to ski the week before Christmas this year....He said 'someplace with steep, ungroomed, tree-peppered slopes'...for me, I like the ungroomed & tree-peppered part, but it doesn't have to be scary steep! (When we're done in the trees, we do enjoy bumps as well.)

So - what resorts in North America have terrain that best fits that description?

For reference, I believe we found some terrain that met that criteria at Lake Louise (off Ptarmigan & Paradise) & Sunshine (off Goat & Wawa) last year, as well as in Blue Sky Basin at Vail the year before.

East, west, Canada, doesn't matter - I just want to get a short list of likely places - we're going to try to book last minute based on where the snow is....
post #2 of 9

You might be pretty limited in available places due to the early-season nature of your trip. The week before Christmas is a bit early (on average) for many of the western resorts.

That said, here are some places where I think there's good glade skiing:

Grand Targhee: Not exactly super-steep but they have some of the best glades around and are as good an early-season-snow bet as anywhere.

Steamboat: Famous for their aspen glades. Keep in mind that an aspen tree tends to be much less forgiving than a pine/spruce tree. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Solitude: Quite a bit of good tree skiing, especially if Honeycomb Canyon is open. Also has a pretty good early-season snow record.

Snowbasin: I think this place has some of the best tight and scattered tree skiing I've seen anywhere. Tons of it all over the mountain. If you stay on the far north side of the John Paul lift, it should be steep enough and treed enough for *any*body. The problem is that you'd be very unlikely to have good enough coverage that time of year.

Those are the ones that come to my mind.

Good luck,

post #3 of 9
My last 3 trips out west were to Big Sky, Taos, and Fernie. I think you could find something to make you happy at any of them. As pointed out, the big variable will be coverage. The steeper it is, the more snow it takes to open.

Can you wait until the last minute before booking to see what area of the country are getting snow? That might maximize your chances of getting to ski some steep slopes, instead of just getting to see them.
post #4 of 9
I agree with Bob that the best, most consistent tree skiing I've experienced is at Snowbasin. Warm up in the Strawberry glades (keep right), then go between the pistes on the Needles Gondola, then graduate to the John Paul glades. Finally, the back side of No Name (don't risk it if the gates are closed) is .... like Alta must have been before Alta had lifts and runs : . The exposure is West or directly North, depending on which side of No Name you choose. The North slopes NEVER get any sun, so you have 1400 ft. of vertical in dry powder with tight trees before you have to, reluctantly, traverse back to the resort.
But the best, most memorable single day of glade skiing I have ever had was just after a huge dump at Arizona Snowbowl, just outside Flagstaff, AZ. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive there from Phoenix, but if there is lots of snow, you'll be glad you made the trip. The ponderosa pines are close enough to get your attention but far enough apart to let you pop through.
post #5 of 9
Jackson Hole has A lot of everything But it will probably be sketchey that early in the year...
Alta also has some good glades especially on the supreme lift...
I didnt even see a rock on the 15 of december last time I was at alta..
Just a few to put on your list

post #6 of 9
I'd vote for Crested Butte. Probably the steepest tree skiing I've seen in Colorado. There might be bits of A Basin that are comparable, but certainly not as much terrain as CBMR.

Be careful what you ask for though.. that terrain is pretty brutal and ungroomed conditions in an average snow year can be rough. You may be happier somewhere like Vail's Blue Sky Basin which is more predicatable.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback so far! [img]smile.gif[/img] I'm making a list!

Actually, I think I really am more of a 'Blue Sky Basin' sort of tree skier, but the scary stuff may interest my husband (who will drag me into it anyway...)....we'll have to negotiate where we actually end up!

Definitely planning on the last minute booking thing - and if I can't get a reasonable price out West to someplace with snow, I'll just drive East. I do have Jay Peak on my list - was only ever there once before Christmas in a simply horrible snow year, so if Vermont is getting snow, I may re-route to there so I can give Jay another try....

Keep the ideas coming!

(On another note - anyone have any luck getting good - or even reasonable - package deals booking at the last minute? How last minute - 1 week, 2 weeks?)
post #8 of 9
If you're going to Jay, don't forget to head about 20 minutes directly north and hit up another great tree-skiing spot, Sutton, Quebec.
post #9 of 9
If you plan to ski a lot of glades, be careful, as there are always a lot of trees in the way. It's dangerous.
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