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Glade Skiing: What It Is & Where You Can Go in the Adirondacks

Glade skiing is essentially downhill skiing through forested areas. That said, there's some debate about the difference between glade skiing, tree skiing, and backcountry skiing. Check out info below on glade skiing and where you can experience this physically demanding yet rewarding winter sport.

glade skiers in woods by sign

What Is Glade Skiing?

Glade skiing, which is typically recommend for experienced skiers looking for a challenge, usually means skiing wooded trails (or glades) that have been thinned out by professionals at a ski resort expressly for the purpose of creating tree skiing trails.

You will find glade trails at many ski mountains in the northeast and there are plenty of experienced backcountry skiers who love getting out on the peaks of the Adirondacks after a good snowstorm.

Why Go Glade Skiing in the Adirondacks?

snowy woods

Maybe you're looking for more of a challenge or perhaps the downhill slopes are getting a bit crowded and you want some fresh powder. Glade skiing offers additional physical and mental challenges as you navigate the wooded terrain on fresh powder.

If you are interested in tree skiing, we recommend starting with glade skiing trails at a ski resort before you venture out onto the backcountry slopes of the Adirondacks. Glade ski slopes at a resort will offer plenty of challenge and you will be able to ski in groups. Out on the steep, tree-studded slopes of mountains like Lyon Mountain in Clinton County, you will have to make your way up the mountain yourself and there often won't be any trails for you to follow.

How Can I Glade Ski Safely?

group of glade skiers

Proper gear, including helmets, is essential for glade ski safety. Downhill skiing can be dangerous on groomed slopes, but it is even more so in glades with trees and other hazards. Before you head into the glades you should make sure you have mastered the following skills and taken safety precautions:

  • Wear a helmet and goggles to protect yourself from branches, flying snow, and other hazards
  • Don't have your pole straps around your wrists
  • Keep an eye out for sudden changes in terrain or obstacles
  • Follow the rules and don't start a slope close to sunset
  • Respect trail boundaries and ski area closures - they are there for a reason
  • Ski in groups
  • Make sure you can link hop turn, sideslip, and hockey stop - these skills will help you navigate the often tricky terrain of a gladed slope

Where Can I Go Glade Skiing in the Adirondacks?

cave glades sign with guy

Gore Mountain

Gore in North Creek has 28 glade trails of varying degrees of difficulty and is an excellent place to challenge yourself to improve tree skiing skills. You can find glade on every mountain area of Gore, so there is a lot of variety.

McCauley Mountain Ski Area

McCauley Mountain Ski Area in Old Forge is a smaller mountin that packs a big punch. They offer glades, long cruisers, steep bumps, double-black diamond challengers, and more. This is a great place for intermediate glade skiers to practice.

Read more about McCauley Mountain »

Whiteface Mountain

A popular mountain in Lake Placid, Whiteface also offers glade trails for intermediate and expert skiers. The Sugar Valley Glades are "friendlier" than other glades on Whiteface and are the most expansive.

Find out more about Whiteface »

You might also check out Lyon Mountain.

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