Glade Skiing Action

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under features

Snow skiing is a popular winter sport in many parts of the world, and keen skiers often enjoy an off-the-beaten-track challenge – and glade skiing fits the bill. Glade skiing is basically any sort of downhill skiing that takes place through trees. But this doesn’t mean that anything goes, as most ski resorts have boundaries and restrictions imposed for the safety of skiers. Boundaries prevent skiers from inadvertently encroaching on busy trails, as well as keeping them clear of major hazards such as large streams and cliffs.

While boundaries may be set and major hazards identified, glade skiing remains a sport most suited to advanced and experienced skiers as an element of danger remains. In addition to the trees themselves, there are countless smaller hazards such as tree wells, logs, creeks and streams which require sharp reflexes and considerable skill to negotiate. Moreover, it is more difficult for rescue teams to reach glade skiers should the need arise.

While people living in remote areas may have been using skiing as a means of getting around for decades, in recent years it has been gaining popularity as an extreme sport, with more and more resorts opening up gladed areas that had previously been out of bounds. For your own safety and wellbeing, there are some points to keep in mind if you want to try your hand at glade skiing. Firstly, be aware that glade skiing requires a high level of competence as a skier, and most glades are Black Diamond graded. If you come across a barricaded or roped off area it is because experts have deemed it unsafe to enter – respect that. As these vast areas have limited patrolling, never ski alone and be sure to carry a radio or cell phone. A helmet and goggles are essential, as even small twigs can prove hazardous to your eyes and face, and head-butting a tree without a helmet is an experience you would rather avoid. Don’t glade ski late in the day, you don’t want to spend the night in the woods if something goes wrong.

Snow skiing enthusiasts who have tried glade skiing generally love the challenge. The solitude of being in the woods, the thrill of uncharted territory and excellent quality of snow (often powder) that has been protected by the trees, keeps them coming back for more.