After spending a glorious morning surfing at Hobuck Beach I headed out to the Hurricane Ridge ski area. Though I visited Hurricane Ridge a couple years ago, I didn't have a chance to do anything other than just taking a few pictures. And that's what most people would do - drive for 17 miles from Port Angeles just to take a few pics, go for a short stroll in the snow, have lunch, and head back out.
If you're visiting the area, and all you have is just a few hours, I highly recommend to make a trip to the Hurricane Ridge ! It's so beautiful there !
Skiing at every ski area in Washington state has been on my Bucket List for the past couple years, and I really hoped to add Hurricane Ridge to my list this year. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions ( the road had been closed for a couple weeks ) and my schedule I was a week late.
Instead, I went "ski/alpine touring".
I haven't had a chance to write about my new "hobby" yet, but in short - for alpine touring you use your "regular" downhill skis with specially designed binding set-up that allows the heel to free up for climbing and accessing backcountry. Then, the heel can "lock in", and the skis can be skied as normal alpine gear. To "walk uphill" on your skis, you use skins - removable pieces of nylon fabric whose nap runs at an oblique angle, allowing the ski to glide forward, but not back.
Avalanche danger was very high at the time of my visit, and I didn't want just "to wonder into backcountry".
As my trusted and favorite source I used " Snowshoe Routes Washington " , a great book for all skill levels, from beginner to experienced mountaineer.
I chose a relatively easy, yet very rewarding " Hurricane Hill " hike. It starts right behind the lodge, the trail is very used and thus easy to follow. I have to mention that for some ( inexperienced ) snowshoers the trail might get a bit tricky. Exposed ridgeline, two avalanche chutes, and knife-edged ridge crest might be more than you bargained for.
Even if the top isn't reached, the views are spectacular all along the trail. At the top you're rewarded with 360 degree spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Canada's Vancouver Island, upper Puget Sound, with Mount Baker rearing its icy head beyond, Olympus and Mt Angeles.
The way down was a breeze, and I was back to my car before closing time.
I wish I could just pass out in my car, but one thing that sucks about the Hurricane Ridge is that they close at dusk ( also, keep in mind that they open the gate at 8 am, and the lodge at 9 am, so it doesn't make sense to go there very early in the morning ).