Snowboarders use a rope tow at Hurricane Ridge in 2016. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)
                                Snowboarders use a rope tow at Hurricane Ridge earlier this month. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Snowboarders use a rope tow at Hurricane Ridge in 2016. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News) Snowboarders use a rope tow at Hurricane Ridge earlier this month. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Snow piling up at Hurricane Ridge Ski Area

HURRICANE RIDGE — With another holiday weekend 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.

Up at 5,242 feet, the winter sports area will be open Saturday but closed Sunday and Christmas Day. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather and road conditions permitting, Tuesday through Dec. 31.

Hurricane Ridge Road will be open for daily use through Monday.

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 skischool@hurricaneridge.com.

None of the ski area passes or tickets includes entrance to Olympic National Park.

As of Wednesday, 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 Monday-Tuesday storm this week.

The Northwest Avalanche Center reported Wednesday that the new snow that fell this 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. to 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.

Snowshoe walks

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.

A man dressed as Santa Claus went snowboarding at Hurricane Ridge last year. (Greg Birch)

A man dressed as Santa Claus went snowboarding at Hurricane Ridge last year. (Greg Birch)

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