Sports

The hill is alive with the sound of ski bums

Two more weekends remain on Hurricane Ridge and this is the fun weekend, ski and snowboarders, as it's the annual ski carnival Saturday and Sunday on the hill.

The snow total has been down but the snow has been great. Although the popular Poma lift has not operated, the skiing and crowd count have been very good.

This weekend the carnival will feature slalom races on the intermediate hill for all comers, from youths to oldsters and the $10 entry fee per day gets you into the races and to a special hamburger feed as well.

It seems that it's either feast or famine on the ridge when it comes to having all lifts operating. The Poma is at the bottom of Hurricane Hill and, unlike regular ski areas where you jump aboard the lift at the bottom and ride to the top to ski back down, at Hurricane Ridge you can ride the bunny rope from the parking lot, ski across the top of the bunny slope and then hike up to where the Poma lift ends.

You then ski the backside down to the Poma and it lifts you to the top by the backside. This year, there hasn't been enough snow to operate the popular lift, as it takes six or seven feet of snow to build the track.

The snow total has been around the 50- to 55-inch mark most of the season, although they did get some snow about a week ago.

You know there hasn't been enough white stuff when treetops are poking out on the intermediate hill.

Regardless, get ready to hit the slopes this weekend for the carnival and have a good time.



Prep changes?

The Olympic, Nisqually and Western Cascade Conference leagues will be entering the second year of a two-year deal next fall after a successful sports season in football and basketball. But, already, there is word of possible changes for 2010-2011.

In late January, some 48 superintendents, athletic directors and principals held a meeting in Tacoma that was described by the Tacoma News Tribune as being "preliminary," but when that many school moguls get together, something usually is in the works.

Due to increase costs of travel, which worries every school in the state, administrators are looking at cutting down on long-distance trips. That could mean the Western Cascade Conference teams - Timberline, North Thurston, Yelm and Capital - seem likely to bolt the current arrangement for football and be absorbed into a Narrows League that could expand from 11 3A and 4A schools to as many as 23 schools in a huge multiclassification league.

Although distance wasn't an issue last fall when Port Angeles had to travel twice to the Olympia area and Olympic League schools on the Kitsap Peninsula also went to Olympia, travel is an issue.

Port Angeles likes the present set-up and the Riders would hate to see the Olympic League busted up again, but NK could be convinced to get back into the Narrows if they knew they could remain 3A in status.

Schools like Clover Park and Lakes would rather go to Foss and Lincoln or Wilson rather than travel to Bonney Lake and Enumclaw, while the Peninsula Seahawks might like to play in a league with Gig Harbor.

How's this for football:

_ Narrows League Pierce Division: Bellarmine, Lincoln, Wilson, Stadium, Foss, Clover Park and Lakes.

_ Thurston Division: Yelm, Shelton, Timberline, River Ridge, Olympia, North Thurston and Capital.

_ Peninsula Division: Port Angeles, North Kitsap, Olympic, Central Kitsap, Bremerton, South Kitsap, Peninsula and Gig Harbor.

Nothing is in stone yet but don't be surprised if the leagues really start talking about such a football conference unless the cost of gas and diesel really plummet in the next year.



March Madness

I, for one, cannot get very excited this year about the NCAA men's basketball tournament as there is no outstanding team to put atop one of the many brackets that are flying around.

There seemingly have been 100 No. 1 teams throughout the season, and ... "on any given ...."

I can't see Gonzaga making it to the Sweet 16 this year, as they have too many defensive liabilities, and Washington's run through the Pac-10 has been exciting but the conference is well-balanced and they have lucked out on the road.

I'd like to see Jon Brockman and the Dawgs make it to the Sweet 16 but they have had a habit of falling behind by 10 or 12 points and then battling back to win. In this company, sports fans, they can't afford to do that.

My pick to make it to the top? Memphis.

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

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