Trip Report    

Cross-country Ski - Sun Mountain Trails

This was a great advanced intermediate 12 mile ski on the Thompson Ridge trails.

  • Snow and ice on road
  • Snow levels were low in the Methow over the first weekend of January.  The Thompson Ridge trail, a wide forest service road, is a a great place to go when snow cover is low. 3 Teresa, Cheri and Danielle.jpg

    Our descent on the Meadowlark and Blue Jay trails were a little bit icy as they are under cover of trees.  9 Danielle and Cheri on Bluejay.jpg

    The lower end of the Blue Jay trail was a bit dirty due to low snow cover.  

    IMG_0473 2.HEIC

The road from Winthrop up to the Chickadee Trailhead was  a little icy, but no problem with AWD and safe speeds.  We were the first party in the parking lot at 8am, getting an early start because we feared new snow on the trail would slow us down.  Alas, it did not snow overnight.  On the flip side, conditions were fast and our early start allowed our party of 8 to travel together on the more narrow trails on the descent.  If I were to do this again, I would cap the group at 6, as it was not easy  to gather on the sides of the Blue Jay and Meadowlark trails.  

We started from the Chickadee Trailhead (2,630 feet) at 8:20 and took a steady pace up the Thompson Ridge and Upper Thompson Ridge trails, pausing to gather up at trail junctions and efficiently shed layers.  We made a longer stop at Thompson Pass (3,450 feet) for snacks, foot care, and to add layers for the descent. Link to Sun Mountain Trail Map.  

Blue Jay and Meadowlark trails were fun to descend, with intermediate downhills interspersed with some flats. Up closer to the pass, some of the turns above embankments were a little icy.  We chose to take the Blue Jay trail because we were having so much fun that we wanted the slightly longer route. 5 Meadowlark & Bluejay junction.jpg

We stopped for lunch at a beautiful view just above the junction of the Meadowlark and Blue Jay trails.DSC02024.jpg

We connected back to the Thompson Ridge trail next.  Half the group went with one leader back down the intermediate Thompson Ridge trail to the trailhead and warming hut.  The other half joined the other leader, taking the black diamond Lower Inside Passage to the finish of the trip.18 Donna & Dave at Chickadee Hut.jpg

The group was wonderful, looking out for each other, joining in to make navigation decisions,  leaving plenty of space between participants on descents, and sharing sweep duties.  I would definitely lead this trip again.  Weather: mostly sunny.  Temps: around 30F.  Total time: just under 5 hours. 1 Thompson Ridge group.jpg