The closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics are almost here and most of Bend will probably go into TV withdrawal. I mean, how can you sit there and watch Desperate Housewives after the thrill of seeing Apolo Anton Ohno in action?
BEND ON ICE?
Bend is such a cool town. Our little metropolis of 80,000 was represented by a downhill skier, a snowboarder and a cross-country skier in Vancouver - not to mention our coaches, wax techs and commentators. Hey, Bend had a bigger Olympic contingent than Kenya, Mongolia or Mexico!
The enormous crowds at WinterFest, in spite of an early spring, only demonstrate the lure of Bend as a winter sports hotspot. But, why, one has to wonder, don't we have an indoor ice rink? Sure, you can go up to the Seventh Mountain Resort for the Disco Skate on their outdoor ice rink the first Friday night of every month (visit www.seventhmountainresort.com for hours and prices). Or you could even throw a triple toe loop in the covered rink in the Sunriver Mall November through April (call 541-593-5948 for details).
It just seems like a perfect fit for Bend to have a place where we can do a little short-track speedskating, host a hockey team, practice a triple salchow and, most importantly, brush up on curling skills. Some people in Bend think likewise and have formed a group called Bend Ice (www.bendice.org) whose mission is to develop a Bend Community Ice Center.
Their first goal is to conduct a professional feasibility study, which would cost $20,000 to $30,000. If the results provide the impetus for viability of the project, it would probably cost $4 to $5 million to build the ice facility.
The group envisions building a facility similar to one in Klamath Falls, possibly in phases: open, covered and then fully enclosed. They are considering a single ice sheet with locker rooms, bathrooms, and seating with possible room for expansion.
"Funds for both the study and construction could be a combination of public and private with most of the construction costs coming from community members such as individuals, small businesses and larger corporation donations," says the website.
Just think! If we assembled a really hot curling team, maybe Swiffer would become a corporate sponsor!
"We'd like to see this project as a community cooperative plan with emphasis on community improvement and offering another healthy activity for children and adults alike," the Bend Ice website says.
Wouldn't it just be the icing on the cake if we had a whitewater park AND an ice rink?
The Crème de la Crème is here now! Consummate crust cruising in the morning followed by marvelous mountain biking in the afternoon. Conditions have been ideal this past week for Bend's signature Double Dipper of outdoor fun.
The bright sunny days melt the top layer of snow that sets into a smooth, firm crusty layer during the clear cold nights. No longer confined to groomed trails, a skate skier is treated to a vast sparkling playground of open meadows and rolling hills. I got in back-to-back days of crust cruising at Wanoga this past weekend where conditions were perfect all day. Another awesome area for crust cruising is near Broken Top and Ball Butte.
Lower elevation and eastside mountain bike trails are also in their prime right now. Not too muddy, not too dusty, just right. No longer confined to the spin studio and feeling like Goldilocks, I got in my first outdoor ride of the season on Phil's Trail. I hear Horse Butte, Horse Ridge and the Maston Allotment are all primo now too.
So, I say, go for two scoops. You deserve it!