It happens every autumn. I’ll post to Visit Bend’s Facebook page about snow falling in Bend, or an accumulation of inches at Mt. Bachelor and folks will respond one of two ways:
Ugh. I’m not ready for winter.
Here’s where I confess I sometimes fall in the second camp. I love Bend summers, and since I’m not a skier, I occasionally find I’m less-than-thrilled about winter’s arrival.
But then I take a step back and remind myself of all the awesome reasons that Bend winters ROCK—even for non-skiers. Here are six of them.
Find fun ways to stay warm
We’re accustomed to chilly weather in Bend, so we have oodles of creative ways to get warm.
If snuggling by a fireplace is your idea of fun, you’ll find dozens of fire pits scattered all over town, including an awesome collection of them around the Old Mill District. At Crux Fermentation Project, you can cozy up by the fire and enjoy a belly-warming pint and a Grilled Cheesy sandwich. Check out this blog post for more ideas on where to find fire pits around Bend.
If soaking your bones sounds like a good way to beat the chill, you’ll find plenty of Bend hotels and vacation homes with on-site hot tubs.
To warm yourself from the inside out, pick up some spiced rum from Oregon Spirit Distillers to mix with hot cider, or try blending Bendistillery’s Hazelnut Espresso Vodka with some warm cocoa and a dollop of whipped cream.
For more clever ways to stay warm in Bend, check out this blog post.
Get great deals on lodging and activities
For budget-conscious travelers, Bend’s chillier months are the best time to score a screamin’ deal on Bend lodging. Shoulder season in particular (October through early-December, and January through April) is when you’ll find Bend hotels and vacation homes at rock bottom prices.
And don’t forget to check our Deals and Discounts page for special packages that can include things like extra nights or free lift tickets.
Rediscover the thrill of snow days
Remember when you were a kid and you spent winter evenings glued to the TV, watching for news that school was cancelled the next day? Few things were more thrilling than a snow day, and you can recapture that magic in Bend.
Grab your toboggan and hit the sledding hill. Gather the family for a snowball fight at one of Bend’s nearby Sno-Parks. Get creative by building snowmen together or flopping on your back to make a snow angel.
Take a twirl around the ice at The Pavillion, Central Oregon’s only full NHL-sized ice sheet. It’s fully-covered and protected on the sides by translucent panels to reduce wind and sun exposure while maintaining an open air feel
After your cold-weather playtime, reward yourself with a hot cup of cocoa (or a grownup alternative like coffee from one of Bend’s awesome coffeehouses or tea shops).
Adrenaline rush optional
I’ve heard more than one ski skeptic explain an aversion to winter recreation as disinterest in daredevilry. But there are tons of winter sports that require no adrenaline rush at all.
If skiing holds some appeal but you’d like to keep things mellow, check out the Nordic trails near Bend for a slower-paced version of skiing. Try your hand at snowshoeing, which is really just hiking with tennis racquets strapped to your feet (er, more or less).
Visit the Snowblast Tubing Park at Mt. Bachelor to enjoy the fun of sledding without the need to lug your tube back up the hill. Bachelor also offers sled dog rides through Oregon Trail of Dreams.
Have someone hold your hand
If snowshoeing piques your interest but you’re nervous about traipsing out into the wilderness alone, a guided outing is a great option.
Book a snowshoe adventure with Wanderlust Tours and leave the gear, the planning, the driving, and the decision-making to someone else. Best of all, their naturalist guides will give you some awesome insights about our forests, the creatures in them, local history, and more.
Not so sure about snow? Wanderlust also does cave tours all year long!
But if you do want to learn to ski or snowboard…
If “I’m not a skier” is your perpetual reason for digging your heels in about a winter vacation, how about changing that?
Mt. Bachelor’s Ski or Ride in 5℠ is an award-winning lesson program designed for those “never-evers” who have not had previous experiences trying to learn to ski or snowboard.
It’s a five-lesson program with instruction by one of Mt. Bachelor’s hand-picked instructors based on their communication skills and overall success rate of coaching beginners. Included with each lesson is a ski or snowboard rental and daily lift ticket.
It’s a great—and surprisingly inexpensive—way to find out if you might be a skier or boarder after all.