Tree skiing in Europe


To understand the meaning of glade skiing it is important to know what “Glade” means in the first place. The term “Glade” refers to an open space in the middle of the woods. These areas are usually empty and they normally give their visitors a feeling of being in a fairy tale, either because of the light, the presence of the animals, or the softness of the snow under the trees. All this combined makes it a very beautiful and rewarding experience when crossing these spaces.

To reach them, you must ski through the forest, where there are usually no established tracks. Therefore, you must know how to ski in the forest to enjoy these beautiful views. Here you will find some tips to make tree skiing easy and fun!

What is the difference between glade and tree skiing?

Both terms refer to the activity of skiing through the forests or woods off the trail. On some occasions, there might be a trail defined by other skiers. There is, in fact, no difference in the meaning of the terms “glade” or “tree” skiing. 

Is tree skiing dangerous? 3 recommendations before jumping into the forest 

Skiing through the trees is in fact a dangerous practice. It is very important to know the risks before skiing the forest to take the correct precautions. One of the hazards is to get trapped in a tree well, also known as a spruce trap. This happens when the snow that falls leaves a space between the fallen branches under the tree creating a buried air spot. When falling into a spruce trap is very hard to dig yourself out without any help. Also, this one might be a bit more obvious, but is good to remember, crashing into a tree is not fun at all. Some of the most serious injuries occur from colliding with trees. For this reason, we are going to give you some tips to reduce the chances of this happening.

One of the main things to have into account is the conditions of the snow. If you have never tried skiing off-piste and then you try tree skiing after 5 days snowing in a row, my friend, you are not making a good decision. 

  1. Skiing through the trees requires good practice before. It is good to have off-piste skiing knowledge since you need to avoid the trees quickly. Make sure that you master the parallel technique. The best is to learn in open spaces when the snow is soft, so there are no possibilities of crashing into a tree or falling against the icy hard snow. 
  1. Check out the snow conditions. If you already know how to ski off-piste or have a basic level, it is good to check the softness of the snow since the more powder-like the amount of snow, the more technique, and level of preparation you need. Make sure the snow has settled a bit and there is enough snow to ski on. 
  1. Make sure to have wider skis. Off-piste skis do not have the same characteristics as piste skis. Therefore, take into account the material you are skiing with before jumping into the forest. Usually, the skis for powder snow are wider to help you float in the snow. You can find here some of the best all-mountain skis for powder beginners. 

So, to sum up, if you have proper skis for off-piste, you have trained before on an open field, know the feeling of the powder snow, and the snow conditions are good, then you are ready to attack the forest!

5 tree skiing tips

  • Have a partner to explore the forest with! When skiing it is always better not to go alone. 
  • Trust yourself and be ready to make quick turns. Once you get the technique will be super fun to dodge the trees. 
  • Focus on the empty spaces instead of focusing on the trees. Keep looking where you want to go. 
  • Maintain a good position in your body. Keep your legs bent, throw your hands forward and keep your weight in the center of your balance point. 
  • Control your speed before turning into a human bullet! Having control on your feet will keep you stable and safe, do not want to run, enjoy the ride, and nature. Believe me, it’s worth it! 

Some of the best places to go tree skiing are in Europe. France stands out for its many possibilities to ride through the trees. On our platform, you can now rate the ski resorts according to the quality of the tree skiing in the area. This feature helps visitors to find the perfect ski resort according to their tree skiing preferences. You can try it out yourself!  Some of the top ski resorts for tree skiing in Europe are:

Serre-Chevalier, France: This French ski resort is known mainly for its wide possibilities of tree skiing. We can say It is the paradise of the tree skiers! It belongs to the “Hautes-Alpes” and its maximum height reaches 2,800 meters. The majority of the ski area is below the tree line, so if you are passionate about tree skiing, you definitely can’t miss going to this amazing resort!

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France: This is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, placed in the southeast part of France. It belongs to the French Alps. On the way to the village, there is a strip of about 1000 meters from the first chair lift to go through the forest. 

Schladming-Dachstein, Austria. A large percentage of the territory is surrounded by trees. A fun fact about this resort is that they celebrate a race called the “night race” because it happens at night. Find more about the night race here.

Check out these and many other resorts on Ratoong. Tree skiing is a very fun and trendy practice and even a bit addictive! In Ratoong we love taking care of our community and sharing valuable information. Follow us on Instagram now for daily exciting stories!

Love always,

The Ratoong family.