LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Ridge ready to open

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

HURRICANE RIDGE IS ready to open Saturday for skiing and snowboarding.

Yes, the Ridge really will be open before Christmas.

“This is the earliest opening in a long, long, long time,” Frank Crippen, owner of North by Northwest Surf Co. (360-452-5144) in Port Angeles, said.

The volunteers who make up the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club, of which Crippen is the current president, have dedicated themselves to readying the Ridge so it can open when there is enough snow.

Club leaders hope that this will be the first of many years that the Ridge opens this soon.

“We’re starting an emphasis on opening earlier,” Crippen said.

Crippen said that the intermediate lift will be ready by Saturday.

The bunny tow still requires some work, but he said if it isn’t ready on Saturday that it should be by Sunday.

As is the norm, the Poma lift won’t be set up until probably February.

With only a few days until skiing and snowboarding begins, how ready are you?

In case you aren’t quite ready, here is a checklist provided by Snowlink.com.

■ Equipment: Have you had your board or skis tuned up?

It would be a shame if your first ride was marred by loose bolts.

“Make sure everything works proper,” Crippen said.

“There’s no snowboard shop up there [at Hurricane Ridge].”

You can get your tune ups and adjustments performed at North by Northwest Surf Co.

■ Gloves/mittens: It’s hard to enjoy the slopes if your hands are wet and frozen.

Gloves are always the last thing I think about when I’m doing something outdoors.

This has come back to bite me twice recently.

Once was last month when I went to Seattle and watched my alma mater lose a football game to the University of Washington.

The other time was earlier this week when I chopped wood without gloves and had to pull slivers out of my hands with tweezers when I got home.

■ Jackets/pants: If you’ve been skiing or snowboarding before, you probably have both of these.

But do they fit?

Do they keep you warm?

What about your kids? Have they outgrown their outerwear?

■ Helmets: These not only protect heads from injury, but helmets also help keep them warm.

■ Goggles: Make sure yours aren’t too scratched up from years of use.

■ Pass: Do you have one yet?

Season passes at the Ridge are $200 for individuals and $425 for a family of up to five members (additional family members can be added at $50 each).

These passes give you access to every lift for the entire season. (But take note that they do not include admission to Olympic National Park.)

If you don’t want a season pass, you can ski or board only the bunny lift for $12 a day or the intermediate and bunny lifts for $24.

Season and daily passes can be purchased at the trailer located in the parking lot at the top of the Ridge.

Know before you go

Crippen suggests checking the weather conditions before driving up the mountain.

This will help you know what to wear and can give you an idea of how bad the road to the Ridge is.

“You’ve got to outsmart the weather,” Crippen said.

You should also know whether or not the road will be open.

Road and weather condition updates are available on the Olympic National Park website (www.nps.gov/olym) or by calling the park’s Road and Weather Hotline at 360-565-3131.

You can also obtain road condition updates on Twitter at @HRWinterAccess.

One more thing about driving to Hurricane Ridge: every vehicle must carry tire chains.

________



Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2012 5:52PM
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