Corkbark fir is an extremely southern variant of the subalpine fir (A. lasiocarpa), in fact it was earlier held to be a separate species. It is most easily distinguished by pale grey, almost cream-coloured, soft, corky bark. The needles are dense and a beautiful blue-grey, like those of the southern mountain forms of the subalpine fir.
The Subalpine fir, generally blue-grey in colour, is native to North America. It is closely related to the more eastern Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), but they each have adapted to their individual range, the Subalpine fir to the western mountainous areas of North America.