4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
Some people say that the Phantom Trees is the best tree skiing in all of Washington.
It is easy to see why as it starts directly across the road from Alpental Parking lot, the trees are quite open making for easy riding and it is a decently steep area.
This area is quite popular for predawn missions when people want to make a lap before heading to work.
Now that I’ve mentioned all the good things it needs to be mentioned that this area can be dangerous if avalanche conditions are questionable.
Since this zone is located near the pass the upper slopes can get wind loaded causing massive potential for slab avalanches.
The scary thing is that if you get swept in an avalanche there is a good chance you could be taken into trees.
Play it smart and never hesitate to turn around.
Now on with the route.
Starting at the main Alpental Parking lot make your way onto the Snow Lake Summer trail.
At first you will cross a big avalanche swath and once in the trees for a few minutes it is time to start climbing.
Unlike many other slopes the bottom part is the hardest as it starts steep then mellows out up higher.
Work your way through the forest with a focus on spotting where you would like to ride down.
Most people climb up to the exit ridge of the Slot Couloir before descending.
While riding down have a game plan, for example if this is your only line or if you would like to go again.
If you want to ride again then descend until the bottom section was steep down and transition above it for the next lap. With a well placed skin track make your way back up to the transition point and prepare for your next lap.
There is more than enough space is the trees to ride all day but if it is time to exit there is a gem of a line that goes right back to the base.
Heading a hard skiers left soon enough you will get over to the open avalanche swath you passed at the bottom.
This is a great line but you will be doing turns above a cliff so you need to be cautious about snow conditions.
If all is good then ride the open slopes until the terrain seems to all over, this is the cliff section.
From here you need to traverse skiers right into the trees and ride around it before traversing back into the open section.
Now just ride back to the parking lot and call it a day.
You can’t get more straightforward than this.