Whistler Mountain is best known for its wide open powder filled bowls and unbeatable alpine terrain. However, just below the Whistler alpine is tree skiing paradise. With 4,757 acres of skiable terrain there is lifetime of glades to explore on the resort. From marked runs to secret stashes there are perfect tree skiing lines for all skill levels.
I’ve never had a bad day at Whistler and this is thanks to the trees. Most skiers neglect the mid and lower reaches of the mountain. But, when the visibility is poor or the avalanche conditions are high, the trees are where the party is at! Trees help give much better definition and depth perception in white out conditions and they protect powder from the elements keeping it deep, dry and fluffy for days after a big storm.
This post is your ultimate guide to the best marked and un-marked inbounds tree skiing runs and glades on Whistler Mountain.
Please Remember to always ski with a buddy and wear a brain bucket and goggles. I swear by my Smith Vantage Helmet and IOS Goggles. Another fantastic and super affordable option is the OM Diamond Snow Helmet & OM Ultra XL Goggles. Keep your brain and eyes protected all day long!! (Use code JAMES10 for a 10% discount on anything on the OM website)
This one earned its name after the beautifully spaced and Christmas tree sized evergreens that litter the steep slope off the West Ridge. It’s the best gladed skiing on peak chair and frankly, some of the best skiing overall on the entire mountain. There is a great pitch and many stunted/small trees and larger ones to rip around. The further you go to the right, the steeper the pitch and tighter and larger the trees become. The Christmas trees get skied out super quick on a powder day but often hold nice soft snow throughout the year. The best way to access Christmas trees is from the peak Chair via West Cirque. Traverse left on Sneaky Pete (the obvious traverse) to the left below the last big rock on west cirque. Ski along the ridge until you find a good looking spot to drop in on the left side.
Tigers Terrace is an underutilized powder hideout. It’s not a favourite among people because you lose a lot of fall line getting over to it and have to ski to the bottom of the red chair. It is accessed via the Peak chair at the bottom of Whistler Bowl. Ski onto the ridge above shale slope (the ridge closest to the peak chair). The best lines are between air Jordan and the cliff/waterfall band to the skiers left. Most days the snow is untouched in Tigers Terrace and you will probably get 8-10 great blower powder turns through the trees. It’s short but sweet enough that it’s worth checking out every once in a while.
Upper Frog Hollow
Head to the West Ridge. West Ridge is accessed by skiing down Whistler Bowl or west cirque from the peak chair. Follow the West ridge all the way to the end and ski off the back. Stay to the right. The further you go to the left the more likely you are to get cliffed out. Enjoy your turns through the trees until the trail meets Highway 86. There are a few awesome options when skiing down Frog Hollow and it’s worth it to try it a few times on a quiet day to get even more familiar.
Gun Barrels is my favourite marked tree run on the entire mountain. They can be accessed off of Harmony Ridge just below Boomers Bowl. There are two different chutes (barrels) that you can ski down through the trees. They are steep and the snow is often soft thanks to the protection from the trees. One of my favourite run combos on a bluebird day is to carve harmony ridge and then drop into gun barrels for some bumps before meeting up with the harmony chair again.
Most skiers and riders get distracted by Gun Barrels, and Lower McConkeys and forget about Wet Dreams. Wet Dreams are the trees directly beneath the Boomer Bowl between lower McConkeys and Gun Barrels. There are many routes down wet dreams filled with steep pillows, glades, and drops. Make sure to check this area out from the lift so you don’t have to hike around the massive un-droppable cliff In the middle.
Ski down Harmony Ridge. Once you pass the horseshoes watch for Low Roll and Hidden Chute. Low Roll heads left towards the Harmony chair and Hidden Chute heads to the right down to the Symphony Chair. There are some great trees to the left and right of hidden chute but don’t veer too far off course because there are many cliffs in the area. Use lots of caution when skiing this area for the first time.
Rumble In The Trunks
Ski down Harmony Ridge and hang a right onto the glades enjoying some open tree turns. Just before The Glades merges with Harmony Ridge head right into the trees. This section of trees is known as Rumble In The Trunks and you can continue through the trees from Harmony Ridge, past Burnt Stew trail until you hit the second cat track which you can turn right down and cruise down to the Symphony chair. The trees are steep, decently spaced and skiers will be rewarded with some stellar powder snow.
Harvey’s & Robertson’s
These are two top notch and stellarsteep glade skiing runs. Access Harvey’s and Robertson’s from The Glades. The trees are nice and spaced at the top and then open up into a beautiful snowfield beneath. Once you converge with the Burnt Stew Trail spot another line through the trees and ski Rumble in The Trunks down to the Symphony Chair. Always make sure that the Symphony chair is open when skiing these runs because hiking up the cat track back to the Harmony chair is a bummer and will eat about 30 minutes out of your skiing day.
Glissando & Jeff’s Ode To Joy
The bottom of the Symphony Chair is loaded with some of the best mellow glade skiing on the mountain. The Glissando Glades and Jeffs Ode To Joy are great spots for intermediate skiers to become familiar with tree skiing. If you want more of an adventure, play around in the trees between Glissando and Adagio. Things get pretty flat near the bottom of Symphony so if the powder gets deep you may have to hike a little bit.
Between Ratfink & Green Acres
The Emerald chair is one of my favourite mid-mountain spots to be on a powder day. The trees in some of the sections are well spaced and you can get super playful in there. Any of the trees between Ratfink and Green Acres are fair game.
For intermediate tree skiers or people becoming familiar with the trees try skiing down marmot and turning left into the trees under the peak 2 peak gondola. The slope is super mellow and the glades are nice and spaced thanks to the clearcutting for the lift. Follow underneath the peak 2 peak gondola until your reach Sidewinder and follow it to the left back to the Emerald Express.
Green Acres and Ego Bowl
Any of the trees between green acres and Ego Bowl are great fun and a whole day can be spent playing around in these trees.
Franz is a super fun zone to play around in. There are loads of different lines to explore in Franz. You can stay to the right and pop out at the bottom of the Franz chair or stay to the left and enjoy some of the tree skiing above the creek on the way down to highway 86. Franz is one of my favourite places to be when there is fresh snowfall, it never gets old!
Located to the left of Tokum from the Garbonzo Chair. The trees have been thinned out on this one making for some killer glade skiing. Due to the lower elevation, the conditions need to be cold and snowy for In Deep to be a blast.
Club 21 & Side Order
Accessed via Raven. Similar to In Deep, there needs to be a solid base for this run to be skiable. If the conditions line up this run is an absolute hoot. You can follow it to the left, right, or through the middle. Once you reach Ptarmigan pop back into the trees on side order and enjoy some more great tree turns before heading left down Upper Olympic and back to the base of the Garbonzo Chair.
Please remember to always ski to your skill level and ride with a buddy in the trees. The trees aren’t a place to experiment with steeper terrain, save that for the open runs until you are very confident. Tree wells are very hazardous and cause the greatest amount of skiing related deaths each year in the South Coast (more than avalanches). If you are looking for some tree skiing tips, check out my top 12 tips for tree skiing HERE. Never duck ropes and ensure that you are within the bounds of the resort (or in between) runs if you are exploring in the trees.
The most important guidance I can give you about tree skiing is that EVERY PART of the mid-mountain is tree skiing. Some of my favourite are spent popping in and out of the trees along marked runs.
Always wear a brain bucket AKA a HELMET while ripping in the trees. If You’re looking to buy one check out the OM Diamond Snow Helmet with MIPS technology. Its super affordable and will keep you brain protected while skiing trees all day long!!! (Use code JAMES10 for a 10% discount on anything on the website)
Have fun ripping those glades!
Let me know in the comments if there are any awesome tree runs I’ve missed.