Tree skiing holds a special place in the hearts of skiers across the world. Stashes and slashes all exist in these hallowed grounds that in some places in Japan are considered Shinto (or holy ground). That said, it’s no surprise that some of our biggest ski revelations happen while making a turn between old growth pines.
Visit these 10 places to find your moment of Zen whilst shredding between perfectly spaced trees in perfect snow.
10) Serre Chevalier, France
The only European resort on this list, Serre Chevalier is one of the few European resorts that offers world-class and consistent skiing below tree line. While most European resorts are known for their dramatic and above tree-line terrain, Serre Chevalier offers both at a world-class level.
Go to Run: Aiguillette
9) Mad River Glen, Vermont
Ever wonder why the kids who hail from Vermont shred harder than anyone else at ski resorts in the West? Maybe it’s because those same skiers grew up skiing tight trees in places like Mad River Glen under ice coast conditions. Actually, that’s definitely why they shred harder than you. That said, Mad River Glen on a good day can be the best tree skiing in the world.
Go to Run: Paradise Trail
8) Stevens Pass, Washington
Stevens Pass is known for receiving absurd amounts of snow on good years (450 inches annually), providing for some of the best inbounds tree skiing in the Northwest. Also, it’s a bit higher than its northwest neighbors and can provide for lighter snow than is per usual in the Northwest (i.e. Mt. Baker and Mt. Hood). Head up 7th Heaven lift for some amazing lift serviced skiing including the meadows zone on deep days.
Go To Run: Meadows Zone (accessed by the 7th Heaven lift)
7) Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat is the tree skiing capital of the United States. With Aspen trees galore, Steamboat is an anomaly within Colorado ski resorts. Pitches fall away in consistent fashion and are complimented by the lack of skiers and riders on the further up reaches of the mountain. Combine that with its trademark (literally) champagne snow and you have the some of the best tree skiing in the good ole’ US of A.
Go To Run: Shadows
6) Cerro Catedral, Argentina
While southern hemisphere resorts are known for their stunning alpine scenery, Cerro Catedral is a tree skiing mecca. With its Lenga trees, Cerro Catedral’s runs look alien to those used to the Aspens and Pines of the Northern hemisphere, not to mention they provide for some of the most well spaced tree’d terrain in the entire world.
Note: Known before you go or else you might end up in stand of colihues (better known as Argentinia bamboo).
Go To Run: Zona Lomo
5) Telluride, Colorado
The lower reaches of Telluride give skiers some of steepest tree runs in North America, making it number #5 on this list. The perennial local’s favorites are Kan’t Make Em, Satisfaction, and Happy Thoughts.
Go to Run: Happy Thoughts
4) Sierra-at-Tahoe, California
Sierra-at-Tahoe is undoubtedly “Tahoe’s Best Tree Skiing” and there’s a reason why. During the 1800’s, lumber companies laid waste to much of Tahoe’s slopeside forests but left Sierra-at-Tahoe alone. The reason for not including Sierra in the mass logging efforts were the indigenous Red Firs, which have waterlogged trunks, making them useless for logging purposes. What remains is the best old growth tree skiing in the USA.
Go To Run: Huckleberry Canyon
3) Niseko Hanazono, Japan
Chris Benchetler and JP Auclair made this area famous in their segment for the Poor Boyz film “Reasons.” With bouncy turns galore and pillows littered amongst bare birch trees, it’s as though a higher being designed the area for tree skiing and tree skiing alone.
Go to Run: Strawberry Fields
2) Red Mountain, British Columbia
Red Mountain was a favorite of the late, great Doug Coombs who loved the lack of an “out-of-bounds” policy at the Canadian ski resort. However, the inbounds skiing is just as good and reveals a different style of skiing compared to resorts in the lower 48. The trees are both tight and unmanicured, demanding technically sound skiing from its visitors.
Go to Run: Doug’s Run
1) Krasnaya Polyana, Russia
I remember the first time I watched someone skiing in Russia on film. It was Pep Fujas shredding Krasnaya Polyana in Matchstick Production’s film, The Hit List. As Pep sliced high-speed turns through the perfectly deciduous trees of Sochi my mind was blown immediately. Since then, the olympics and other feature ski films and articles have brought attention to this bastion of freeride skiing and although the medical resources make it a bit sketchy, the tree skiing is bar none.