This marks my 42nd Christmas on planet earth, and more than half of those have been in Bend. About half of those have been an actual white Christmas, which gives us decent odds of having some fluff on the ground December 25, 2016.
But what can you do to guarantee it?
While plenty of folks swear performing a little snow dance will make the white stuff fall, it’s seldom helped my step kids when they’re desperate for a snow day from school. But here are 5 tried-and-true ways to ensure you experience a real white Christmas in Bend this year.
Make plans at Mt. Bachelor
If you’re spending Christmas in Bend and want to see snow on the big day, you can make sure of it with a 20-minute drive to Mt. Bachelor. Yep, the mountain is open on Christmas Day.
Even if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, there’s plenty to do up there. My own family has a tradition of hitting the Snowblast Tubing Park after all the presents are opened and everyone’s bundled up in Christmas sweaters and mittens.
You’ll also find opportunities for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and even sled dog rides (though make sure you have reservations for those, since they book early during the holidays).
For more info on conditions reports, hours of operation, and lift ticket specials, go here.
Take a twirl around the ice
A real white Christmas doesn’t technically require snow at all. Just a big sheet of glistening white ice, and you’ll find that at The Pavilion.
Central Oregon’s first and only NHL-sized 200’ x 85’ ice sheet is open for business on Christmas Day 2016. Besides the pristine sheet of pretty white ice, you’ll find a 30,000-square-foot roof and translucent panels that protect the rink from wind and sun exposure while still giving it an open air feel.
The Pavilion also has outdoor fire pits, a spectator area, skate rental, changing rooms, full-service concessions, and even an elevated viewing/warming room with free wi-fi.
For info on the holiday schedule, go here.
Did someone say whitewater?
If your definition of white Christmas extends to snow in its liquid form, why not take a Christmas Day stroll to see some of Central Oregon’s most scenic whitewater?
The easiest option is to station yourself near the Bend Whitewater Park to see if any insane brave kayakers decided to celebrate the season with a bit of frostbite. Even if no one’s in the water, it’s a lovely sight to see, and good inspiration for planning your next summer vacation in Bend.
Depending on snow levels December 25, you’re also likely to find a waterfall or two to give you a whitewater fix. Seeing Tumalo Falls this time of year will likely require snowshoes, but what a payoff when you get there!
You might also get a gander at some of the lower-elevation waterfalls like Steelhead Falls and Benham Falls.
For a good roundup of waterfalls in Central Oregon, check out this blog post.
Tune up that sled
If Mother Nature complies, we’ll have oodles of glorious powder coating Downtown Bend on Christmas morning. If that’s the case, spots like Drake Park and Hollinshead Park have lovely little sledding spots where you’ll be able to hop in your saucer sled and fly like a maniac.
But even if there’s no Christmas Day snowstorm in Bend-proper, you won’t have to journey far to find a perfect snow-covered sledding hill. Less than twenty minutes from Bend (just few miles before you hit Mt. Bachelor) is Wanoga Sno-Park. In addition to offering 180-miles of groomed snowmobile trails and some pretty awesome warming huts, they have dog-friendly snowshoeing and Nordic skiing trails.
But it’s the sledding hill that draws families this time of year, so make sure you packed your Flexible Flyer or saucer sled.
Pro Tip: If your sled happens to break, please, for the love of all that’s holy (not to mention your love of Bend’s pristine outdoor spaces) pack it out with you and dispose of it properly back in town. The sled graveyard that piles up during holiday breaks is time-consuming and expensive to clean up, so please do your part to pack out what you pack in.
For more sledding ideas in Bend, go here.
What? I didn’t say these were all good ideas.
Also, googling “How to develop dandruff” yields exactly zero helpful tips on contracting this condition, but a lot of handy hints for curing it. You’re welcome.
But seriously, no matter how you manage to do it, have a lovely white Christmas in Bend.