Olympic National Park: Crews brave thrills, chills and aging equipment to plow Hurricane Ridge Road

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Les Peterson lowers the massive head of a Stewart & Stevenson front-discharge snow blower into an untouched 5-foot drift, shooting plumes of white powder more than 100 feet across Hurricane Ridge Road toward Cox Valley.

As he approaches a sharp curve near The Slot, a tricky span of road just below the Ridge summit, Peterson uses a hand control to maneuver the plow just shy of an orange stake marking the edge of the pavement.

“Occasionally, you get stuck in the ditch,” he says loudly over the roar of the 500-horsepower engine. “It does happen.”

At 9:45 a.m. Friday, Peterson and four other Olympic National Park road crew workers have been on the Ridge Road for almost three hours in preparation for weekend traffic and the start of downhill ski season.

The rest of this story appears in today’s Sunday Peninsula Daily News. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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