PORT ANGELES — Olympic National Park will open Hurricane Ridge Road for the winter season on the day after Thanksgiving, weather permitting.
“Park employees, contractors, and partners have worked tirelessly to get this done. Thanks to their monumental efforts, everyone will be able to experience a full winter season on the Ridge,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs in a press release.
The ski area, which is operated by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club, is not scheduled to open until Dec. 3 — and that’s only if enough snow has accumulated.
The latest report placed snow depth at the Waterhole Snowtel site at the Ridge at 9 inches.
“We need a minimum of 3 feet for the bunny and intermediate lifts,” said Danielle Lawrence with the club.
“If we have the minimum of 3 feet, we should be able to open the tubing area as well. The Poma lift needs more snow for us to build the track, so that will not be open,” she said.
During the current closure, work crews have tackled multiple construction projects, Jacobs said.
A restroom trailer and visitor contact station have been installed and connected to utilities. By the end of the closure, crews will have completed utility trenching and the demolition and removal of the Hurricane Ridge Day Lodge debris.
Ridge in winter
Weather permitting, Hurricane Ridge Road is scheduled to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March 31, although it will be closed on Christmas Day. It also will be open daily from Dec. 26 through Jan, 1, as well as on Jan. 15 and Feb. 19.
Temporary trailers will provide restrooms and a visitor contact station. The contact station will be staffed intermittently Fridays through Sundays.
Visitors should be prepared to use their vehicles as a warming area and pack extra food, water, dry clothing and blankets or sleeping bags. There will be no indoor warming area, food service, potable water or gear rentals available.
Hurricane Ridge Road will open at 9 a.m., weather permitting. The road will close to uphill traffic at 4 p.m., and all vehicles must exit the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station by 5 p.m.
Winter storms can close or delay opening of the Hurricane Ridge Road; strong winds and sudden blizzard conditions are not uncommon.
Road and weather updates will be available on the Road and Weather line at 360-565-3131 — and the park’s website.
Hurricane Ridge Road closes temporarily when the parking lot is full. Additional vehicles will be admitted as space becomes available. Visitors are encouraged to park efficiently to maximize parking space.
All vehicles, including those with four-wheel drive, will be required to carry tire chains when traveling above the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station during the winter season.
Opportunities for cross-country skiers and snowshoers range from open, level meadows near the visitor center to extreme terrain in the wilderness backcountry. Anyone skiing or snowshoeing beyond the immediate Hurricane Ridge area should be prepared for steep terrain and the possibility of avalanches.
Due to risks posed by wildfire-damaged trees, Obstruction Point Road is closed to skiing and snowshoeing from Waterhole to the Obstruction Point Trailhead.
Information about ski and snowshoe routes is available at park visitor centers, in the park newspaper the Bugler, or on the website — Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing Routes — Olympic National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
Find more information at nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hurricane-ridge-in-winter.htm.