LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Ridge open extra days

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

THE SNOWBOARD AND ski area at Hurricane Ridge finally opened last weekend.

In honor of the holidays — and for some, having some days off of work — the Ridge is scheduled to be open extra days this week.

There has been some confusion regarding how long the downhill ski and snowboard area will be open, but I think I have sorted it out.

It will open today and remain open until New Year’s Day, Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It should be an epic weekend,” said Frank Crippen, Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club president and owner of North by Northwest Surf Co. (360-452-5144) in Port Angeles.

Of course, every mention of skiing and snowboarding at the Ridge must be accompanied by the disclaimer that everything above is weather pending.

If there is too much snow on the road to the ski and snowboard area, then the road will be closed. If the road is closed, then skiing and snowboarding is a no go.

According to the weather forecast at http://tinyurl.com/RidgeWeather, there is a chance of snow through Saturday, but the rest of the weekend should be snow-free.

You can get the latest weather and road conditions by phoning 360-565-3131, or online at http://tinyurl.com/RidgeConditions. You can also follow @HRWinterAccess on Twitter.

Also note that when travelling above Heart O’ the Hills, your car must carry tire chains.

For more information about the Hurricane Ridge downhill ski and snowboard area, visit hurricaneridge.com.

Avalanche class

More snow at the Ridge is great for skiing and snowboarding, but it can also increase avalanche potential.

An avalanche awareness class will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Raymond Carver Room of the Port Angeles Library at 2210 S. Peabody St. in Port Angeles.

The presentation will be led by Tyler Reed of Pacific Alpine Guides. Reed is certified by the American Mountain Guides Association.

Some of the skills taught will be recognizing avalanche hazards, first aid and rescue techniques.

Also discussed will be preparedness, including which items you should have when you go skiing, such as a transceiver, shovel and probe.

“The fact is, there is no time to send for help,” Jack Ganster, who has been teaching backcountry skiing skills for over 20 years, said in an email sent to the Peninsula Daily News.

“A rescue needs to happen in minutes.”

There is no cost for this avalanche awareness class.

If you attend this class and want to learn even more, you can sign up for advanced classes. There will be a fee for these classes.

Up-to-date information about avalanche risk can be found at www.nwac.us.

Steelhead, finally

The rivers are at good levels and producing better steelhead catch numbers.

“The Bogachiel is putting out some hatchery steelhead and the Sol Duc is putting out some fish,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

“It has been an improvement. It’s not spectacular, but it has been decent.”

Even this “decent” news will be welcomed by anglers throughout the North Olympic Peninsula as the rivers recently have been plagued by high water levels.

“The rivers are in good shape,” Gooding said.

Crab closing

The winter crab season ends Monday.

This means two things. First, if you want some crab, your time is running out.

Although it has been inconsistent, the winter crab fishery has been fairly good to the few who have taken advantage of it.

The season’s end also means that winter catch cards must be turned in, even if you did not catch any crab.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish policy lead Rich Childers said the catch cards are important to the management of the crab fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.

Failure to submit a card will result in a $10 fine for sport crabbers when they purchase their 2013 crab endorsement.

Catch cards are due by Feb. 1, 2013.

Turn in cards by mail to: WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

You can also send your report online, starting Tuesday, at http://tinyurl.com/CrabCatch.

Razor clams

In keeping with what has become a tradition in the Evergreen State, razor clam digging will take place on New Year’s Eve.

The final razor clam digs of 2012 have been approved by state Fish and Wildlife.

The digging begins tonight and take place every evening through Monday.

Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state, reports that in past years as many as 20,000 diggers have participated in New Year’s Eve razor clam digs.

Here is the digging schedule, including the days, evening low tides and beaches:

■ Today: 6:42 p.m., -0.3 feet — Twin Harbors.

■ Saturday: 7:15 p.m., -0.3 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks.

■ Sunday: 7:47 p.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis.

■ Monday: 8:20 p.m., 0.0 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks, Copalis.

Ayres said the best digging typically occurs an hour or two before low tide.

The state has also announced tentative dates for razor clam digs in the first few months of 2013. To view these dates, spark up the Internet and visit http://tinyurl.com/RazorClamDigs2013.

Send photos, stories

Have a photograph, a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique?

Send it to sports@peninsuladailynews.com or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

________



Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 27. 2012 5:47PM
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