Can it be Winterfest already?

It's time to get out the ski boots, find the slats, see what kind of shape the old gloves are in, check the goggles for cracks and see if you still fit into that ski parka.

I know it's only the 5th of November, but it's getting close to ski time and that means Winterfest is here.

The World Series is over, the Huskies still haven't won a football game and they are looking for a new coach; Sequim is getting ready for its regular season football finale and the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club is getting ready for Winterfest 2008 to celebrate 50 years of skiing on Hurricane Ridge.

Winterfest is a two-day blast at the Vern Burton Center in Port Angeles. It opens with dinner and a movie Friday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m. It's a $40 ticket if you buy in advance at Swain's General Store, Port Book and News or Brown's Outdoor Inc. Ducats will be $45 at the door.

Dinner will be by Oven Spoonful, there will be the famous HRWSC oyster bar, a no-host adult beverage hour, music by the Port Angeles High School jazz band and great silent and live auction items.

That night also will be the premiere of the new Warren Miller film, "Children of Winter," sponsored by Dan Wilder Jeep and the HRWSC ski team. It's a fun night and you don't even have to get dressed up.

There will be other ways to support the Hurricane Ridge ski operation if you don't want to take part in the live or silent auctions. For the past two years, Chapman Sports Services has donated gasoline for operating the lifts one weekend and one year donated the plastic ties that hold the lift ticket on the jacket.

By the way, Winterfest is a fundraiser sponsored by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Education Foundation and is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the Winter Sports Club, ski team, ski school and ski patrol.

Big ski swap

Nov. 22 is the annual ski swap where you can sell your gear that no longer fits and buy items that are

terrific specials. It's $3 admission and $7 for the whole family to offset hall rental expense, which used to be donated.

Turn in items for sale between 8:30-11 a.m. Return at noon to shop for more stuff until 3:30 p.m. and come back at 4 p.m. to collect money or unsold gear. This event is sponsored by Kitsap Sports and the ski team. By the way, Kitsap Sports will have great specials on new ski equipment as well.

Then at 7 p.m. is the Warren Miller movie for the public. Tickets are $10, as the cost of getting that movie keeps going up.

So, as I wrote above, get all your ski gear together for swapping, mark it on the calendar and be ready for a fun two days.

Chain up

The winter schedule for Hurricane Ridge is out and there will be something new for drivers to be aware of beginning Nov. 21.

To improve public safety, Olympic National Park will require that all vehicles traveling to the ridge between

Nov. 21-May 1 carry chains when going above the

entrance station.

The new requirement is for all vehicles, including 4-wheel drive rigs, regardless of tire type, and will apply to all road and weather conditions. Additional requirements, such as traction tires or chains on vehicles may be enacted when conditions warrant.

Now, why carry chains. As new ONP superintendent Karen Gustin explained: "Having a set of chains in every vehicle that travels to Hurricane Ridge will provide a greater margin of safety when sudden storms arrive or road conditions worsen during the day."

The new edict may give the park greater flexibility in keeping the road open during times when conditions are on the marginal side.

Why the new rules? Because some yahoos head for the ski area in the winter with regular tires and when there is a change in the weather they become hazards going up and coming down the road.

Your scribe thinks it is a great idea. Now, will somebody be able to help me put on chains when the weather turns bad?

Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at

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