Snowboarders use a rope tow at Hurricane Ridge earlier this month. (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 more than 6 feet of snow at the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Area.

Up at 5,242 feet, the winter sports area will be open today, Saturday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather and road conditions permitting.

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. 4 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 2016-17 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, phone 848-667-7669 or email skischool@hurricane ridge.com.

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

As of Wednesday, 76 inches of snow — more than 6 feet — had settled on the Ridge, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center. Over a foot of snow was added to last week’s total.

It’s been showery in the Port Angeles area and up on the Ridge, there is a chance of showers today, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast for Saturday is cloudy with rain or snow possible. Snow showers are expected to return Sunday to start the new year.

Monday should be partly sunny.

The Northwest Avalanche Center reported Wednesday that “very dangerous avalanche conditions persist in much of the terrain” at Hurricane Ridge.

The Center advises visitors to “avoid avalanche terrain of consequence until storm and persistent slabs stabilize.”

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, @HRWinterAccess, reported Wednesday the roadway has been covered with packed snow and ice.

The road closes to uphill traffic at 4 p.m. 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.

Snowshoe walks

There’s more to do up on the Ridge than skiing and tubing, though.

Through the end of March, snow permitting, families can join a ranger-guided snowshoe walk.

Walks are offered at 2 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays. The walk lasts 1.5 hours and covers less than a mile. Snowshoes and instructions are provided.

The snowshoe walk is $7 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 15 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.

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