Hurricane Ridge Ski Resort is nestled inside Olympic National Park in Washington on the northeast side and south of Port Angeles. From Seattle, the trip to Hurricane Ridge ski area is about three hours. One of the resort’s biggest draws is it is one of only three ski resorts with operating lifts situated directly inside a US national park. This Pacific Northwest winter hotspot features a rise of almost a full mile and a surrounding area filled with activities, recreation and scenic points of many kinds. One of the best family ski resorts and ideal for all ages, Hurricane Ridge skiing features runs of all levels as well as an uncrowded backdrop ideal for amateur skiers avoiding more adventurous and experienced skiers.
A summit rise of more than 5,000 feet has created a ski resort with many possibilities. More than four hundred inches of crisp, white snow falls annually, making the Hurricane Ridge ski area a great bet during the winter months from the middle of December through March when conditions are most ideal. Visitors can ski on weekends from 10 a.m. through to 4 p.m. and also during specific holidays the resort chooses to stay open—generally any holiday falling on a Monday. Hurricane Ridge offers a combination of two runs by rope and one platter lift (or j-bar). Ten ski runs are diversified into multi-level trails with beginner, mid-range, and pro runs. The trails are groomed, but afforded their natural look and feel and there are plenty of naturally occurring jumps. Glades, steeps, and bowls are also offered for skiers and snowboarders.
The Hurricane Ridge ski area on the Olympic Peninsula dedicates a professional staff to carrying out both snowboard and ski lessons for children ages 4 and up in smaller size classes for optimum benefits. Group lessons begin at one-hour intervals and private lessons are also available. There are annual five-week children’s classes offered to area residents and visitors. Hurricane Ridge ski school has operated for more than five decades equating into patient, pro staff on board. Visitors can rent Hurricane Ridge skiing equipment and snowboarding gear directly from the rental shop onsite and also purchase lift tickets separately from lessons.
Hurricane Ridge ski lodge is the perfect place for beginning and intermediate level skiers and snowboarders. The highest concentration of runs are made exactly for the less experienced. A handful of expert runs are available, but they are outweighed by the many, easier runs carved out for a better family experience. Roughly two acres houses the entire Hurricane Ridge skiing area. Anyone planning on driving to Hurricane Ridge via Heart O’ The Hills road should note that all vehicles, regardless of type, must carry chains for their tires for impromptu snowstorms and be prepared to turn back in the case of unsuitable road conditions from avalanches and other serious weather conditions.
For families with members who don’t enjoy skiing or snowboarding, there are many other things to do within Hurricane Ridge. Aside from Hurricane Ridge skiing, there is snowshoeing, cross country skiing in the surrounding meadows and forests, tubing and sliding, and 90-minute guided snowshoe walks. Registration at the Visitors Center is required for participating in extra activities.
There are no lodges or hotels located within the Hurricane Ridge ski area which means lodging must be arranged outside of the park. The only alternative option is winter camping at one of the seventeen campgrounds within the park or reserving one of the park cabins available. Some areas are closed during the winter season due to high elevations coupled with undesirable accessibility. There are several hotels located less than ten miles away in Port Angeles. They get booked up quickly in prime season so be sure to book in advance. Cabins are another popular accommodation choice, but also tend to fill up rapidly. Amenities available onsite include a fully equipped ski shop, restrooms, and a snack bar where casual meals and drinks are sold.
Image: backonthebus (flickr)