Backcountry Skiing: Washington's East Side Stevens to Snoqualmie
by Matt Schonwald
Northwest Avalanche Center
California: Tahoe Light Tours Colorado: Berthoud | Buffalo | Cameron | CO Light Tours | Crested Butte | Loveland | Marble | RMNP | Silverton New Mexico: Taos Oregon: Hood Washington: Baker | Crystal | ONP | Snoqualmie
In 1897, John Stevens found the passage for the Great Northern Railroad across a 4,000’ pass in the Cascades. Since then, Stevens Pass place in history is thick with decades of travel, avalanches, ski areas, and so much more. Stevens Pass is one of the essential gateways to the extraordinary backcountry possibilities that exist between I-90, US Highway 97, and US Highway 2.
Over 300 tours, accessible via ski areas, roadside pullouts, and long snowmobile approaches make this region’s diverse opportunities seem infinite. The East Side also provides a drier, colder snowpack—bringing blower pow (and persistent slabs) to the Cascades.
The author and publisher acknowledge that the lands described in this atlas are the ancestral home of the Pisquouse and Si’apkat, members of the Yakama Nation. The Pisquouse (Yakama name: Winátshapam), or Wenatchi, lived in the area that spans present-day Leavenworth to Wenatchee. Wenatchee is a Sahaptian word for “river water which comes from canyons” or “robe of the rainbow.” The first inhabitants of the Kittitas Valley were the Psch-wan-wap-pams (stony ground people), also known as the Kittitas, Si’apkat, or Upper Yakama. They lived along the upper Yakima River (today called Cle Elum), which was a traditional gathering place for tribes east of the Cascades.
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