Windy Knob + Tronsen Head

Blewett Bluebird Blower

On the east side of the Cascades, Blewett Pass is known for its sunny weather and light snow. Although I have skied there a few times, I have always gone there as a backup when it is marginal on the west side, so the snow has always been on the heavy side and weather not the best. But I still saw the potential in the terrain and loved the glades and bumps.

Earlier in the week, I got a head cold that shut me down. By the weekend, I felt like I could do some easy touring but did not want to push it. So I decided to go out to Blewett Pass for some chill powder laps in the sun and see how I feel. They had just gotten about a foot of low density snow, a rare dump. Silvia and Jack offered to join me, as they had never skied Blewett before.

It was a cool March morning, but we knew with the mixed clouds that it would heat up real fast in the sun. Blewett is nice because almost all the ski aspects are on the north half of the compass, and many of them are due north.

Gazing up at Diamond Head.

During my previous trips to Blewett, bad visibility and stability had relegated me to just Tronsen Head. So this time, we headed up towards Windy Knob. In open areas, the strong west wind had some effect on the top layer of snow, but it would still ski very well. In more gladed terrain, the snow was absolutely perfect light powder.

Jack skinning up the ridge to Windy Knob.

We ended up ascending the NE ridge to the summit of Windy Knob. The top bit of Windy Knob is a little tighter and steeper with intermittent cliffs. On later laps, we just stuck to the lower part of the north slopes, since that is where the better skiing is anyways.

Reaching the summit of Windy Knob.
Some tracks off Diamond Head.
The Stuart Range hiding in the clouds.

We did a few shorter laps on the north side of Windy Knob, enjoying the light fluffy snow. As Jack described, it was basically the perfect snow: not bottomless, responsive, and incredibly playful and easy.

Silvia farms a hallway of light and powder.
Jack getting a taste of that mythical Blewett blower.

There were a few parties also out on Windy Knob, and all were friendly and stoked. After a few laps, we decided to skin over to Tronsen Head and check out that zone.

The flat tablelands to the south.
Jack and Silvia observing the vastness of the Wenatchee Mountains.

With good stability and visibility, we were able to drop into the Tronsen Head glades from the ridge line. Because nearly all of the Blewett Pass runs are rock glaciers, the top of each run is a steep escarpment carved by erosion of the glacier. Thus, the top hundred feet or so of each of these runs features tight chutes, cliffs, and all kinds of fun! The terrain at Blewett Pass is so much more interesting than it looks on a map.

Jack dropping into our first run at Tronsen Head.
Silvia demonstrates her perfect, superior Euro form on “Euro pow skis”, aka 85 underfoot.

At the base of our run, we were shocked to find no skin track leading up Tronsen Head! This was probably one of the best days all season at Blewett, so it was surprising to see no one else out in this vast zone. We put in the skin track and put down lap after lap through the most beautiful glades I know.

Lap after lap.

The sun most disappeared in the afternoon as spring convective clouds build around us. The Teanaway and Stuart Ranges were completely in the snow showers, but we remained in the clear. The warmth had created a slight crust on any aspect that was not due north, but fortunately we were only skiing due north.

Silvia lays down more fresh tracks.

As Silvia was recovering from COVID and I was getting over a cold, we kept the pace easy and relaxed. I love the vibe of Blewett – so chill and laid back. There are no big objectives or lines to chase. Every run is basically the same, yet unique.

One more lap!

We kept cranking at an easy pace until we were out of food and water. At the end of the day, we logged 8500 ft of vertical, my biggest day of the season! And it came in my worst physical condition. But the skiing and company were just too good to quit early!

To me, Blewett is not just a place but a vibe. The terrain and snowpack is such a contrast from the western mountains I am used to. It is a wonderful change of pace and if (this is a big IF!) the conditions align, it can deliver some great skiing! I think this is my first day of backcountry skiing, ever, where every single turn was good. Not sure when I will be able to say that again!


  • Blewett Pass is in the rain shadow of the Cascades and has a thin snowpack. Many storms drop a foot or two over the Central Cascades but hardly anything over Blewett. However, sometimes storms come from the opposite direction and favor the east slopes. This is when I look to go to Blewett.
  • Closer to the highway, the trees are extremely dense and snowpack is not deep enough to ski. But there is a network of approach roads, maintained by volunteers, that can be used to get to the actual ski terrain. There are maps along the trails you can follow.

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