Top 5 East Coast Ski Areas for Ungroomed Runs

Jay Peak glades. Ryan Greary / Getty Images

Unless the western resorts in Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California, resorts in the east are not well-known for their backcountry runs. Though you won't find much true off-piste terrain this side of the Atlantic (you'll have to head across for it some of the best backcountry in Europe) there are still opportunities to get a thrill, even within resort boundaries.

Top 6 Trails For Ungroomed Runs On the East Coast

  1. The tree runs at Jay Peak. Jay Peak, Vermont offers multiple glades for intermediate and advanced skiers. With five different "blue square" areas (Kokomo, Bush Whacker, Half Moon, Quarter Moon, Stateisde Glade) for intermediate skiers, Jay Peak is the perfect place to cut your teeth in the glades, which emulate a backcountry experience. For glade experts, Jay Peak won't disappoint, with almost twenty different advanced runs.
  2. ‘La 42’ at Le Massif, Quebec. Some might call Le Massif a hidden gym. Situated above the St. Lawrence, it offers 2,526 feet of vertical elevation. About 60% of the terrain is rated difficult or very difficult. With 260 inches of natural snow per year, Le Massif is a prime destination for skiers seeking the steep and deep. 
  3. Killington's mogul runs. Trails like Outer Limits and Superstar provide quite the challenge for skiers who are looking for more than pretty corduroy. Expect moguls and occasionally, massive whales of snow that make for a harrowing experience. Killington's black diamond tree runs are exciting as well, such as Somewhere and Nowhere, which are two short glades that run between Bittersweet and Skyelark off of Launch Pad. They don't call this Vermont resort the the "Beast of the East" for nothing.
  4. Tuckerman's Ravine, for the fittest among us. This is terrain of another level. New Hampshire's Tuckerman's Ravine is a true backcountry ski area, where safety gear such as avalanche shovels, beacons, probes is important to carry. Tuckerman's Ravine is a bowl which includes various runs, all of which are very steep, between 40 and 50 degrees, and remain completely ungroomed. 
  5. Mad River Glen, "ski it if you can." Mad River Glen's motto rings true. The resort, located in Vermont, is considered one of the most difficult resorts in the east. It emphasizes natural preservation rather than grooming, and as a result, many of its trails are narrow, moguled up, and riddled with natural obstacles such as logs, rocks and bushes in places with thin cover. However, that's the reality of skiing ungroomed terrain, and Mad River Glen offers one of the most authentic experiences in the east.

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Keep Reading: Backcountry 101: The Basics of Off-Piste Skiing