Best Ski Glades in Colorado

By Dom Nozzi

According to Wikipedia, ski “glades” (also known as tree skiing) is downhill skiing through trees off-trail or on a defined woods trail. I enjoy glades for their solitude, beauty, relatively high skill level required, and the ungroomed powder they often provide. Wooded areas also tend to hold better snow longer thanks to the shade and shelter trees provide.580cabba_DSCN7760

Ski resorts may have defined glade trails, ungroomed glade areas, or boundary-to-boundary policies. Glade skiing is inherently more dangerous than skiing on trails and usually reserved for experts, though moderate glade terrain exists. Hazards such as cliffs or streams may or may not be blocked off by ski patrol. Other dangers include tree wells, logs, stumps, and the trees themselves.

As of the 2012-2013 season, I have made the decision that glade skiing is about the only form of skiing I enjoy anymore, although I’ll occasionally ski moguls or other challenging black diamond downhill runs. Indeed, on the rare occasions that I ski an open, marked blue- and black diamond run, I often ski along the edge of the run to look for glade skiing opportunities in the flanking wooded areas of the run.

The following are the best glades I have found so far in my (relatively limited) time as a glade skier in Colorado.

  • Wolverine (Keystone)
  • The Grizz (Keystone)
  • Badger (Keystone)
  • Bushwhacker (Keystone)
  • Timberwolf (Keystone)
  • The Burn (Breckenridge)
  • Ore Bucket (Breckenridge)
  • Jolly Jug (Eldora)
  • Placer (Eldora)
  • West Ridge (Eldora)
  • Brian’s (Eldora)
  • Moose (Eldora)

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I urge you to email me (dom@walkablestreets.com) or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.

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Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality. Each list is a work in progress.

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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