Whoever wrote that, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" song clearly never lived in Bend. Locals know that this season is one of the best times to get outside for snow-related activities. From skiing to exploring the winter wilderness to partaking in the season's festivities, here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of the some of the best winter events around Bend. Mark your calendars now.
With a good layer of powder already on the mountain and more on the way, skiers and boarders can ride some of the best runs in the country. The mountain's official Opening Day is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 25.
If you can't make it to the mountain thst day, check out 10 Barrel Brewing Company's Pray For Snow Party. Co-hosted by Mt. Bachelor, the free annual event will be the biggest one yet, with food trucks, music, beer, giveaways and 10 Barrel's custom snowboarding rail jam truck at the NE 18th Street brewing facility.
Riders can enjoy lots of new runs when the new Cloudchaser lift opens in mid-December. (Check out the full rundown on that in our Feature section, p. 8.) Also check out the Sled Dog Rides from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2. The canines and mushers of Oregon Trail of Dreams slide riders effortlessly across the snow for breathtaking views of the surounding peaks. For more information, visit mtbachelor.com or call 800-829-2442.
Wanderlust Tours kicks off several winter-themed events starting next month. The tour company will host Snowshoe Tours starting Tuesday, Nov. 22. Snowshoes provide a unique way to travel across deep packs of snow. Tours take explorers deep into the snowy wilderness around Mt. Bachelor and the Deschutes National Forest. No experience is necessary, as Wanderlust's guides will teach you.
Book a daytime tour or plan a nighttime trip such as the Moon and Starlight or Campfire gatherings starting in December. The 21 and up crowd can also sign up for the Shoes, Brew and Views tour, and enjoy some Cascade Lakes Brewery beers, with root beer for the kids! Tours are open to all ages and equipment is provided. Bring winter boots, warm clothing and a camera for some spectacular views. To sign up for a tour, visit wanderlusttours.com or call 541-389-8359.
Parks & Trails
You don't have to go far to experience winter wonderlands, thanks to Bend Parks and Rec. Walkers, runners and hikers can exercise their legs at Pine Nursery Park Trail and Larkspur Trail, both over a mile long. Looking for more of a challenge? Take on the Deschutes River Trail at Awbrey Reach, a 4-mile path that dips and dives along the river. Park and Rec doesn't clear this trail of snow, making it ideal for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. For more info about parks and trails open in the winter, visit bendparksandrec.org/winter_outside.
One of the other trails still open in the winter is the Oregon Desert Trail. Located in the Badlands, this 750-mile trail provides some of the most beautiful scenery in the state, no matter what season you visit. Thanks to its location and climate, the environment can often be snow-free, even in the dead of winter. Hit the trail on foot or mountain bike to check out gorgeous views of the Cascades, or search one of the many lava tubes and caves hidden around the region. The ODT is a challenge year-round, as well as a delicate habitat protected by the Oregon Natural Desert Association, so be sure to properly prepare for the trip. You can learn more by visiting onda.org or calling 541-330-2638.
It wouldn't be much of a winter in Bend without the ultimate seasonal festival, WinterFest! This winter's WinterFest is from Feb. 17-19, and features all the classic events and performances that Bendites anticipate each year. Immerse yourself in the art of winter with ice sculptures, fire pit competitions and experimental fire arts. Sample delicacies from local food carts and breweries, or stroll along the Wine Walk for a tasting tour. Get the whole family active at this year's Royal Run obstacle course and the exciting Kids Hot Cocoa Run. Enjoy incredible performances from Metal Mulisha, K9 Kings, as well as popular local and national bands at the Music Chalet. And rub elbows with royalty when you meet this year's Fire King and Ice Queen. There's no excuse to stay inside when there's something for everyone at WinterFest. For more info, visit oregonwinterfest.com.
And for the record, Frank Loesser wrote that famous winter song.