If you live in Central Oregon, you know that winter is not a time for hibernating, but a time for getting out in the glistening snowy wonderland. As we jump into the full swing of winter amidst pandemic restrictions, you may be wondering what activities are still on offer for kids in Bend and beyond.
- Brian Becker
- Little shredders at Mt. B.
SNOW SPORTSMt. Bachelor
It just wouldn't be winter in Bend without a few trips to the mountain. Although several of their tried-and-true programs have been canceled for the season, Mt. Bachelor is still offering private and multi-week lessons with COVID protocols in place.
Private lessons - Friends and family pods (up to five-person groups) with members as young as three years old can schedule half and full-day lessons at West Village. For children ages three to six, a parent or guardian is required to participate in the lesson to assist their child in standing up, loading and unloading the lift. Part of the lesson content is giving parents the tools and skills to help their kids navigate the lift and hill successfully and independently. Due to COVID-19, emphasis will be placed on contactless teaching tips and tricks.
Multi-week lessons – Once-a-week lesson series for children ages seven to 15, with three, four and eight-week options throughout the season are being offered at Sunrise Lodge. These lessons are Wednesday afternoons, Saturday mornings and afternoons and Sunday mornings and afternoons for two-and-a-half hour intervals. Prior to the start of the lesson series, due to COVID-19, participants need to be able to load and unload the lift safely by themselves, and make controlled, linked turns on green terrain independently. Children also need to be able to gear up independently, including skis, boards, boots, helmets, goggles, gloves and jackets.
Learn more: mtbachelor.com
Happily, kids can still take lessons at Hoodoo with heightened COVID-19 measures in place. Classes will be limited to six students per instructor, with the first-time lesson sequence modified to focus on teaching students to get up unassisted. Instructors will do their best to limit close contact with all participants. Hoodoo's Ski and Ride School has implemented a new reservation system, as well. Go online to reserve a spot at least 24 hours in advance. Walk-up space may be available but isn't guaranteed.
Mountain Cubs for four- to six-year-olds and Junior Ski and Snowboard lessons for seven to 12-year-olds are offered every day during the season.
Group and Private Lessons are available for all guests. Participants will be required to load and unload lifts on their own, without assistance from an instructor. Reservations are highly recommended.
Ski Bikes and Trikes – For adventurers 13 and up, why not try a ski bike or trike? Lessons include the rental, so it's a great way to learn something new. A quick 45-minute lesson will give students the basics. At the end of the lesson they will receive a Snow-Bike, Snow-Go or Trike license if they show the skills to ride the lift and stay in control on the mountain.
Learn more: skihoodoo.com
Just up the Cascade Lakes Highway, Wanoga continues to be the most popular and easiest access sledding hill near Bend. Kids (and adults) of every age will feel the wind in their hair as they zip down several short hills. Bring the hot chocolate and be sure to observe the established sledding safety guidelines—depending on conditions, things can get pretty fast. Remember, a Sno-Park pass is required and, BYOS (bring your own sled).
Find out more: Wanoga- Sno-Park
ICE SPORTSThe Pavilion
Bend Parks and Rec Hockey Lessons (ages 4-14)
These lessons are designed to introduce players with little experience to the sport of ice hockey, develop the fundamentals of the game, promote physical fitness and above all else, have fun. Participants should be able to skate on their own before enrolling in this class. Full hockey gear is required, gear rental is available. Sign up at the Bend Parks and Rec website.
Bend Parks and Rec - Learn to Skate Lessons (ages 6-14)
Learn to skate programs offer progressive classes designed to increase skating experience and develop the basic skills that are fundamental to figure skating. Offered in February. Sign up at the Bend Parks and Rec website.
- Courtesy of Bend Parks and Rec
- Ice skating lessons at the Pavilion.
Skate sessions are by reservation-only. Skaters and spectators must reserve and pay admission due to capacity limits. Reservations are open at midnight, seven days prior to a session. Find out more: bendparksandrec.org/facility/the-pavilion/
Ice Skating at Seventh Mountain Resort means experiencing central Oregon's oldest outdoor rink. While Seventh Mountain's Rink is open to the public, reservations are needed prior to arrival. Because this is an outdoor rink, it is subject to weather delays and closures.
Learn more and reserve your spot: seventhmountainriverco.com/ice-skating/
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ice rink will not run as usual this winter. Reservations will be required for all skaters and can be booked a maximum of 14 days in advance. Approximately 50 reservations are available from 9am-9pm every day of the week, through April.
Learn more and reserve online: sunrivervillagefun.com/sunriver-ice- skating/
Some other options that won't break the budget include bringing the kids to some of the sno-parks along the Cascade Lakes Highway for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fat biking adventures.
Why not try: Virginia Meissner, Swampy, Edison, Dutchman Flat and Kapka Butte.
Also, Skyliners Sno Park, at the end of Skyliners Road in Bend is a magical place in the winter for skiing or snowshoeing. Or, if you're up for a drive, try Santiam and Ray Benson Sno-Parks out of town.