The winter of 2019 has blossomed into a record-breaking snow year for Bend.
February brought us more than 30 inches of white stuff, with 25 of them falling in a three-day period. That’s the heaviest February snowfall on record since 1917!
Up at Mt. Bachelor, that translates to more than 314” inches of seasonal snowfall, not to mention some of the most epic conditions we’ve seen in ages.
While we’re all diggin’ the winter wonderland vibe buzzing through Bend’s shopping districts and walking trails, it does create challenges for folks trying to get around.
Here are five tips for getting around in Bend’s bounty of snowfall.
Choose your footwear wisely
Whether you’re trekking Bend’s winter hiking trails, or just making the 15-foot journey from your car to the door of your favorite Bend restaurant, you’re going to encounter some snow.
Even in places like Downtown Bend and the Old Mill District where they do a fab job of clearing sidewalks, you’re bound to stumble upon slush puddles and snowbanks.
Start by making smart footwear decisions. Flimsy sneakers will earn you soggy socks, and high heels are a recipe for broken ankles. Hiking boots can work if you’ve got ‘em, but taller, sturdier winter boots are better. Don’t worry, ladies—they don’t have to be clunky and ugly. Brands like Merrell, Keen, and Teva make adorable waterproof boots that pair great with skirts and skinny jeans. If you don’t already own something, plenty of Bend retailers have great stock, and now’s a perfect time to score at seasonal sales.
Need extra help getting your footing? Yak Trax makes terrific traction devices you strap right onto the bottom of your shoes. You’ll find them in plenty of Bend shops as well as online.
Don’t just look at it—experience it!
I love nothing more than cozying up by a fireplace with a mug of tea to watch the snow swirling softly outside my window, but there’s something to be said for experiencing the glittery goodness up close.
Rent a pair of snowshoes or book a guided snowshoe outing with Wanderlust Tours. Schedule some ski lessons at Mt. Bachelor, or keep it simple with a sledding sesh in their Snowblast Tubing Park.
Take a twirl around the ice at The Pavilion, or rent some Nordic skis to explore the trails at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park.
For more ideas on snow-play around Bend, go here.
Let someone else do the driving
I’m a fourth-generation Oregonian who learned to drive while attending college in Montana, but even I get nervous jumping behind the wheel in two feet of fresh snow. Fortunately, I don’t have to.
The addition of Uber and Lyft to Bend’s traditional taxi services has been a godsend, particularly if I’m out trekking the Bend Ale Trail or enjoying happy hour at Bend’s awesome bars.
The Mt. Bachelor Shuttle is a cheap and easy way to get you to and from the mountain without needing to white-knuckle it on your drive up the hill. Bonus: You won’t have to hunt for parking when you get there.
When you book your winter adventures with Wanderlust Tours, you can leave the driving to someone else and enjoy your snowshoe outing, cave tour, or brewery hop without a second thought about how you’ll get around.
If you’re determined to do the driving yourself, make sure you’re ready for winter roads.
Invest in sturdy snow tires for your vehicle, or snag an inexpensive set of chains someplace like Les Schwab where they’ll show you how to use them.
Read up on winter driving tips, or go a step further by taking a SkidCar driving class through Deschutes County.
Before you set out, check your planned route using ODOT’s TripCheck website or app.
Stock your car with essentials like water, healthy snacks, and warm blankets so you’re ready for any sort of emergency or snow delay.
Make it easy on yourself
Choosing Bend lodging that’s close to the attractions you’re most excited about is a great way to cut back on the amount of time you spend navigating Bend’s snowy roads.
Are most of your Bend bucket list items centered around the Downtown Bend core? Lodging properties like The Oxford, Wall Street Suites, and Doubletree by Hilton are all walking distance from the best tasting rooms, restaurants, and shopping that Downtown has to offer.
If your visions of Bend vacation include lots of scenic strolls through the Old Mill District, consider lodging properties like Hilton Garden Inn, Springhill Suites, and My Place that make it easy to walk between all the best shopping and dining in the area.
Hotel properties on the Northeast end of town will put you in closer proximity to attractions like Worthy Brewing or the Oregon Badlands Wilderness, while properties along Century Drive like Mt. Bachelor Village Resort will put you on a direct path to Mt. Bachelor.