With the holidays upon us, it’s a good time to get out of the house and check out the snow at the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Area.
It will be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., weather and road conditions permitting, through Dec. 31.
The Hurricane Ridge Sports Area is operated by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club. The area started full season operation Dec. 9 and has two rope tows and a Poma lift for beginner to advanced skiers.
Passes — both season passes and reduced cost tickets for just the bunny lift, the intermediate and bunny lifts or the Poma and all lifts — are outlined on the club’s website at www.hurricaneridge.com.
There is also a dedicated tubing run.
The club is offering free lift tickets to fourth- and fifth-graders for the 2017-18 season.
Parents/guardians should bring proof of enrollment to the ticket window to receive a free ticket. Homeschoolers can bring proof of age.
Funding for the free lift tickets comes from the Hurricane Ridge Education Foundation.
For more information, call 848-667-7669 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
None of the ski area passes or tickets includes entrance to Olympic National Park.
As of Dec. 20, 58 inches of snow — almost five feet — had settled on the ridge, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center. Almost 18 inches of snow fell in the Hurricane Ridge area in the Dec. 18-19 storm.
The Northwest Avalanche Center reported that the new snow that fell last week brought a peak in avalanche danger. Visitors to the Olympics might encounter decreasing avalanche danger — considerable to moderate levels of danger — with elevation and should avoid travel in terrain connected to higher start zones.
During the winter season, Hurricane Ridge Road is open to uphill traffic from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and holiday Mondays, weather and road conditions permitting.
For the 2017-18 winter season, the road is scheduled to be open Fridays through Sundays and holiday Mondays through April 1 and open daily for winter break from Sunday through Jan. 1 — but closed on Monday, Christmas Day.
All vehicles, including those equipped with four-wheel drive, must carry snow chains to proceed up Hurricane Ridge Road beyond the Heart o’ the Hills toll station.
Entering the park at the Heart o’ the Hills station requires a daily or yearly pass.
A single-visit pass is $25 per vehicle or $10 per person. The Olympic National Park annual pass is $50.
According to the park service, Hurricane Ridge Road opens at 9 a.m. but times might vary depending on weather and road conditions.
The park’s road condition Twitter feed, @HRW interAccess, reported Tuesday the roadway has been covered with snow and slush above milepost 14.
All vehicles must be off the Ridge and below the toll station by 5 p.m. The park service encourages visitors to call 360-565-3131 for a 24-hour recording of current road and weather conditions.
Olympic National Park advises Hurricane Ridge visitors to carpool and park close to other vehicles in available parking. The Hurricane Ridge parking fills early, causing long delays at the Heart o’ the Hills entrance station.
Authorized businesses provide shuttle service to Hurricane Ridge. For information, inquire at the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center by calling 360-452-2363 or go to www.portangeles.org.
There’s more to do up on the Ridge than skiing and tubing, though.
Through the end of March 2018, snow permitting, families can join a ranger-guided snowshoe walk.
Walks are offered at 2 p.m. weekends and holiday Mondays. The walk lasts 1.5 hours and covers less than a mile. Snowshoes and instructions are provided.
The cost for snowshoe walks is $7 for adults, $3 for youth 6 to 15 years old, and free for children 5 years old and younger.
Group size is limited to 25 people. Sign-up begins at the Hurricane Ridge information desk 30 minutes before the walk.
Reservations for a morning walk for school or community groups must be made in advance by calling 360-565-3136.