Bend is nothing if not famous for its outdoor winter activities, first rising in popularity decades ago as a great place to go for snowboarding and skiing in a gorgeous environment. Today, Bend has built on that legacy by embracing a wide array of popular winter sports: If you like to get outdoors and play in the snow, there’s something here for you.
And while everyone knows about skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor or other nearby slopes, there are plenty of other outdoor winter adventures that fly below the radar that we suggest trying out when you move to Bend.
Sled Dog Rides
Sled dog races and associated sports have become increasingly popular in Bend in the past years. Our cross-country landscape of winter forests and slopes provides an ideal environment to test sled dog skills…or just have some fun. You can view the races, or you can arrange a sled dog ride of your own!
Night Skiing at Hoodoo
Night skiing events are popular activities that combine a party atmosphere with strategically placed lighting that gives the slopes an otherworldly feeling. Hoodoo’s setup is notable because they have permanent light installations with filters and LED color changes to experiment with, allowing them to offer night skiing sessions every week for 23 different runs. Yes, this is definitely worth trying out at least once.
The hilly nature of Bend’s landscape makes it an ideal sledding spot, and when the parks get covered with snow, they unveil nearly unlimited options for sledding fun. This family-friendly activity is very versatile: You can visit Hollinshead, Wanago, Shevlin and other parks to explore a variety of different sledding hills and setups depending on what you’re looking for. Or take your sledding to the next level and try out more advanced options like Snowblast Tubing at Mt. Bachelor!
Cross Country/Nordic Skiing
If you’re a skier that demands more of a challenge – and more exploration – Bend has excellent Nordic trails (around 56km of them, and growing), as well as a Nordic Center at Mt. Bachelor to help you get outfitted. There are also lots of training packages if you are just getting started, and plenty of Sno-parks where you can practice before hitting the actual countryside. If you have dogs, look for dog-friendly Nordic trails so you can bring your friend along!
No, we didn’t forget about ice skating: There are a number of covered outdoor skate parks in the Bend area that are great visits for the family if you love skating. The Pavilion is right by Old Mill and especially beautiful at night. The Village at Sunriver is a bit of a drive, but a great time to visit Sunriver’s unique shops while you are done. Seventh Mountain Resort also has ice skating options worth exploring!
If you’ve never snowshoed by moonlight or starlight, you really need to give it a try. Find or rent a dependable pair of snowshoes, pack a daypack with snacks and thermoses, and look for tours or groups that know some of the best places around Bend for these nighttime snowshoeing adventures. There are some great little hiking cabins and outlooks around Bend that provide a gorgeous look at the valley and city lights while you take a break around a campfire. There are even versions that involve beer, because of course there are. Great for a romantic date or with a group of friends!