John Fox runs a course on Hurricane Ridge. (Greg Birch)

John Fox runs a course on Hurricane Ridge. (Greg Birch)

Winterfest set for Saturday, a Hurricane Ridge skiing fundraiser

PORT ANGELES — Winterfest 2016, set for Saturday night, will give the public a chance to support efforts to keep the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area open for recreation this winter.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. Winterfest will begin at 6 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. at the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door. Admission is $25 for children 12 and younger.

Also available are community tables for parties of eight. Each table, reserved with the buyer’s name displayed, is $360.

Individual tickets can be purchased at these Port Angeles outlets — Swain’s General Store, 602 E. First St.; Necessities &Temptations gift shop, 217 N. Laurel St.; Brown’s Outdoor, 112 W. Front St. — as well as at Brian’s Sporting Goods, 609 W. Washington St., Sequim.

Checks for community tables can be made payable to the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Education Foundation and mailed to the organization at 136 E. Eighth St., private mailbox 218, Port Angeles, WA 98362.

For more information regarding community tables, contact Winterfest Chair Danielle Lawrence at 360-477-0386.

The annual fundraising effort, organized by the foundation, is the biggest and most important fundraiser of the year for the nonprofit, said Eric Flodstrom, education foundation treasurer, earlier this week.

“It is definitely the most important” fundraiser and “kicks off the winter skiing season at Hurricane Ridge,” Flodstrom said Wednesday.

The education foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers youth education programs pertaining to skiing and snowboarding.

The organization operates the ski lift and provides a ski patrol to help those in need, according to hurricane ridge.com.

Winterfest this year will include a prime rib dinner catered by Next Door Gastropub, live and silent auctions, and live music by Bill and Rudy.

A series of short films featuring local skiers and snowboarders ripping it up at Hurricane Ridge are planned for the evening.

The top films from the VideOlympics, a Port Angeles film festival, will be shown.

This year’s films include “A Day at the Ridge” by Jack McColl, “March Archives” by Bobby Stevenson, “Overthrow” by Chris Earl, “Max Poops” by Tim Stanford and “Homeland” by The Z Boys.

Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area is located in Olympic National Park — 17 miles south of Port Angeles — and is one of only two remaining lift operations in the National Parks, Flodstrom said.

“It provides a great benefit to the people here,” he said.

“It is a fun way to get away from the rain in the winter.”

There are up to about 3,000 individual visits to Hurricane Ridge each winter season for the purpose of participating in winter sports, Flodstrom said.

Rising a mile high, the ski and snowboard area is small and family-oriented, offering residents and visitors alike a quality winter sports experience without the high cost or congestion of most ski areas, Flodstrom said.

The ability to offer such discounts is totally dependent on public donations, Flodstrom said.

The nonprofit hopes to raise about $35,000 this year, he said. About $34,000 was raised during last year’s Winterfest.

Tax-deductible contributions support capital improvements to the ski area, as well as scholarships for underprivileged children in the community who would like to learn how to ski, snowboard or participate on ski team.

A lack of public donations “would make it extremely difficult to continue to operate Hurricane Ridge,” Flodstrom said.

“Hurricane Ridge does not make money and loses money typically each year through the operations because we don’t charge what it actually costs to run the operations. We try to keep it as affordable as possible.”

The Ridge boasts some groomed areas, but for the accomplished skier or snowboarder, the steeps, bowls and glades are well worth the effort it takes to get there, according to hurricaneridge.com.

With a summit elevation of 5,240 feet, the average annual snowfall is 400-plus inches.

There also is a tubing hill, established in the past few years, that has become very popular for youths, Flodstrom said.

“That is bringing out some of the younger kids to play in the snow,” he said.

________

Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

An unidentified skier prepares to drop into the Sunrise run on Hurricane Ridge. (Greg Birch)

An unidentified skier prepares to drop into the Sunrise run on Hurricane Ridge. (Greg Birch)

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