Glade skiing refers to off-trail skiing through forests typically on a pre-made trail. These Glade runs typically wind tightly through the trees with the previous skier’s tracks leading your path.
Glade skiing is typically just a few feet from the ski hill and can be found in the patches of forest between runs. Most larger ski resorts feature glades somewhere on the resort.
Is Glade Skiing Difficult?
Glade skiing is noticeably more difficult than traditional alpine skiing. The main reason that this style of skiing is more difficult is because of all the obstacles you must avoid on the trail.
When going down a regular ski hill you will have plenty of room to turn, slow down, or even fall over if you have to.
While in the glades you will find this is much more difficult. The tightness of the trees makes it trickier to slow down or stop. Oftentimes you will find your skis do not want to turn from the pre-made tracks on the glads.
This makes it difficult to turn your skis sideways so that they can reduce your speed.
This issue with not reducing your speed is that there are many trees around. Most of which could lead to a dangerous fall. A fall in the glades is much more likely to be dangerous than a fall on the ski hill.
Another danger of glade skiing is the obstacles that may be under the snow. Glades runs are not groomed like the rest of the resort. There are several other dangers to look out for such as tree wells, stumps. or fallen logs.
Tips For Beginner Glade Skiing
Our first tip before you start glade skiing is that you understand the dangers and difficulty of glade skiing. As we stated earlier this is much more dangerous than the regular ski hill so you want to be sure you are ready.
We suggest that you consider yourself a moderate to elite level skier before entering the glades.
If you learn how to ski the glades then you are going to have plenty of opportunities to do it in your life. There is no need to make your first glades run more difficult than it has to be.
This means you should enter the glades incredibly slowly. The glades, like the rest of the hill, is on a decline. So even if you entered the glades at a full stop you could still make it down the hill with ease.
As we mentioned earlier it is hard to slow down once you are in the glades. So make sure that you do it beforehand.
Start On A Green Run
Though the glades are not going to be on the run itself they will still be at the same gradient. I’ve made the mistake of taking the glades on a black diamond before and it was much more difficult than I was expecting.
Starting on a green run is going to offer you a much better opportunity to learn glade skiing. It can still be plenty of fun despite the lower gradient.
Make sure that your first few glade runs are done on a green run so as to make sure you are able to properly learn this style of skiing.
Stay Close To The Hill
Glades skiing can cover quite a large area on the hill or mountain. For this reason, it makes sense for beginners to ski in glades that are close to the ski hill. This will allow you for an easy exit if the terrain becomes to difficult to ski.
Glades runs will vary greatly throughout the mountain. Sometimes a trail that started easy may turn out to be very difficult in times like this it advantegous to have a safe exit strategy.
We hope that this guide to glade skiing has taught you everything you need to know about this style of skiing. For those that still have questions you can reach out to us in the comments below and we’ll be happy to answer.