It’s no secret we’ve seen some severe weather in the Pacific Northwest this winter. Conditions have run the gamut from ice storms in Portland to flooding in southwest Washington to massive dumps of snow in Central Oregon.
It’s the latter that has snow-enthusiasts rejoicing about the winter of 2017, and they’re celebrating even harder as this weekend approaches. February 11 and 12 are predicted to be “bluebird days,” which is a fancy term for the holy trinity of clear blue skies, bright sun, and fresh snow.
Thinking about a last-minute getaway to Bend to enjoy this winter weather phenomenon? Here are 8 ways to spend a bluebird day in Bend.
Hit the slopes
If you’re a skiing or snowboarding enthusiast, Mt. Bachelor is already on your agenda. Conditions this season have been epic, with more than 360” of snowfall already, and plenty more to come. Their new Cloudchaser quad lift has added 635 lift-serviced acres to Mt. Bachelor’s existing terrain (not to mention reducing lift lines that were already pretty short).
Oh, and did you know kids 12 and under ski free with advance purchase of an adult lift ticket for three or more days?
Okay, but what if I’m not a skier?
There’s plenty to do at Mt. Bachelor even if you’re not a fan of strapping boards to your feet.
Hit the Snowblast Tubing Park, or schedule a sled dog ride. You can even check out Bachelor’s groomed Nordic trails for a chance to glide on fresh snow under pristine blue skies.
If snowshoeing is your scene, book a guided outing with Wanderlust Tours and leave the driving, gear, snacks, and decision-making to their skilled naturalist guides.
Walk the Bend Ale Trail
It’s easy to cruise the Bend Ale Trail responsibly if you book a tour with the Bend Brew Bus and let them shuttle you between your hotel and a handful of breweries.
But when skies are clear and weather is mild, why not walk a portion of the legendary beer trail? More than half of the 15 breweries on the trail are within walking distance of each other, and it’s a great way to burn off a few of those beer calories while enjoying a leisurely stroll through Downtown Bend.
Recapture the thrill of a snow day
There’s something about the combination of blue skies and fresh snow that brings out the kid in a lot of us. Seize the moment by scheduling a snowball fight or making snow angels in fresh powder.
You can also recapture your youth by taking a twirl on the ice rink at The Pavilion or heading up to one of the Sno-Park to build a snowman.
The possibilities are endless, and I have it on good authority that giggling cures wrinkles.
Go for a hike
Clear skies make for perfect hiking conditions, and there are several hikes you can plan this time of year with no snowshoes required.
Stroll along the Deschutes River Trail with the added bonus of giving yourself easy access to post-hike snacks at one of several restaurants in the Old Mill District.
Late-winter is my very favorite time of year to visit the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. The craggy volcanic rocks and ancient junipers look stunning against a backdrop of blue sky, and with nearly 30,000 acres to explore, odds are good you’ll have a trail to yourself.
Hit the High Desert Museum
I adore the High Desert Museum for all its cool natural history and critters, but I’ll admit I’m a wimp about exploring the outdoor exhibits when the weather is nasty.
But blue skies are a great excuse to wander their expansive grounds checking out the birds of prey and the recently remodeled otter exhibit.
Check their online schedule to make sure you don’t miss any cool presentations or animal demos.
Save time for stargazing
Another upside of clear skies is the chance to check out the winter stars in all their twinkly glory. We’ll see a full moon on February 10, which means the whole weekend will be primo time for a moonlight snowshoe adventure.
As a bonus, this month’s full moon (known as the full snow moon) isn’t the only thing you’ll see when you look up at the sky. This weekend’s skies will also bring us a comet and a lunar eclipse, and being in Bend pretty much guarantees you a great viewing platform to take it all in.
Hang out under the stars by a fire pit at Wall Street Suites
Few things are as magical on a clear winter evening as cozying up beside a fire pit after a good meal and gazing up at the stars.
What’s that? You don’t have a fire pit handy? Well Wall Street Suites does. They also have some of the coolest luxury suites in Bend, and a fab Downtown setting that makes it easy to walk to the best shops and restaurants. Restaurants like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . Jackalope Grill?
Wanna win a package that includes a one-night stay at Wall Street Suites and $100 to spend at Wall Street Suites?
Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite thing to do on a bluebird day in Bend. Don’t worry if you’ve never been—you can just share which idea above sounds most appealing to you.
We’ll draw a winner at 4 p.m. on Friday, February 10. Good luck!