Best Trees 2009: Steamboat

Ranked by the readers of Skiing Magazine.

Best Trees
Huge snowfall and low forest density make the ’Boat home to the country’s best tree skiing. And they’re big reasons why local Eugene Buchanan has lived there for 16 years. Storms sweep in from the west, stack against the Park range, and regularly nail the mountain with seven- or eight-inch dumps. “And it’s not like other resorts that have a thick blanket of forest and only one or two access points,” Buchanan says. “Here you can duck into the trees from any trail and find lines.” Rolling off the steep, consistent west face of Storm Peak, the marquee spruce and pine glade called Closets gives way to Shadows, an aspen glade with GS-gate spacing. And since it storms almost as regularly as you drink your morning coffee—a record-smashing 37 feet fell last season—wind-protected glades are the place to be.

Three Things You Need to Know:

Grab a fat breakfast burrito at Azteca Taqueria on 9th Street.

As with tree skiing anywhere, tree-well entrapment is a real danger in the coniferous glades. Wear a helmet and don’t ski alone.

The Buddy Werner statue is at the top of Storm Peak quad. Tap it with your pole for good luck.

Best of the Rest
2. Jay Peak, Vermont
3. Wolf Creek, Colorado
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
5. Powder Mountain, Utah
6. Solitude, Utah
7. Brighton, Utah
8. Crested Butte, Colorado
9. Vail, Colorado (pictured above)
10. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia


#6: Steamboat Springs, CO


The term “champagne powder” was coined in Steamboat Springs, and the town boasts more Winter Olympians (63) than anywhere else in the country. Coincidence? No, sirree. The two big hills (Mount Werner and Storm Peak) gather some of the fluffiest, most consistent snowfall in the state, like this year’s 105 inches in 11 days.