Glade skiing has seen a tremendous growth in popularity over the past decade, and for good reason. Skiing the trees offers challenge, adventure, diverse terrain and the opportunity to find untracked natural snow in quiet woods away from crowded slopes and trails. Gore Mountain was among the first Eastern ski areas to develop gladed terrain for its skiers, and now boasts two dozen diverse named glades on its trail map.
For experienced glade skiers, the Cave Glade is a must-do. Accessed from Ruby Run, the Cave Glade drops all the way down into the Straight Brook valley and features nicely spaced evergreens with alternating steeper (but never really steep) and moderate pitches. Halfway down, on skier’s right, is the cave for which the glade is named. Explore the cave, but be careful of the smooth-as-glass ice that flows from seeps within the cave. It’s a great spot to stop with a thermos of hot chocolate and some snacks, especially for families.
All of the upper mountain glades in the Straight Brook and High Peaks terrain pods come highly recommended. Many of these glades feature multiple lines and interesting terrain features. In general, these woods are steeper and tighter. If you only have time to sample a handful of these glades, try the Straight Brook, Mineshaft and Dark Side Glades. Then again, someone else might recommend the Chatiemac Glades and Darby Woods. Of those, Mineshaft and Darby Woods are shorter and slightly easier.
One more glade deserves special mention: Cirque Glades, the longest glade in the East. Located on Burnt Ridge, the Cirque can be accessed from either Sagamore or Echo. The Sagamore entrance is recommended for its dramatic drop-in through a notch in the cliffs that run parallel to Echo. Be prepared for a long but beautiful tour as these glades extend all the way to the base of the mountain. Skiers on telemark or AT gear will feel right at home kicking and gliding between the challenging steep pitches, snowboarders not so much.
As you explore Gore’s woods, ski safe and keep the following precautions in mind:
- Always wear goggles and a helmet.
- Remove pole staps from around your hands.
- Be alert for sudden terrain changes and unmarked obstacles.
- Respect ski area boundaries and closures.
- Ski with a partner. A group of three is better.
- Look carefully before exiting the woods.
- Be confident in your own ability before taking children or less experienced skiers into a glade.