With one of the longest ski seasons in North America, Bend is home to the Northwest’s premier cross country ski team, XC Oregon, and is a regular spring training ground for the U.S. Ski Team. But for most of us who just want to get out there and enjoy the beauty of winter, the breathtaking scenery, steady snowfall, and consistent sunshine of Central Oregon, Bend makes the perfect place to learn the sport.
At Mt. Bachelor, explore 56 km of Nordic trails that weave through the Deschutes National Forest, including easy loops for beginners, and double diamonds with 600-foot elevation gains for experts. The Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center has skis available for rent that are waxed and sharpened daily, along with new equipment and demos from Rossignol, Madshus and Alpina. The Nordic Center has some of the best instructors in the area teaching both skate and classic style skiing. There are affordable packages for beginners which include rentals, a day pass, and a one-hour lesson.
After a few hours of gliding around on expertly groomed trails, plan to have lunch by the cozy fireplace in the Nordic Center. Try one of the freshly made burritos that are known to Mt. Bachelor employees and local skiers alike as the best lunch on the mountain.
There are also a number of Sno-parks off Century Drive on the way up to Mt. Bachelor. The most popular is Virginia Meissner, maintained by Meissner Nordic. The community ski area offers 30 km of groomed trails for both skating and classic style skiing. Meissner is connected through a series of trails to the Swampy Lakes Sno-park, two miles further up Century Drive. Pack a lunch, and relax and refuel in one of the many warming huts with fireplaces throughout the trail network maintained by the Central Oregon Nordic Club.
If you would like to bring your canine friend along, there’s a dog-friendly groomed trail at Wanoga Sno-park, just past milepost 14 and the entrance to Virginia Meissner. It is 3.5 km long and groomed for skate skiing, though classic skiers are welcome, too. There’s even a separate snowshoe trail for those who prefer stomping over gliding. This dog-friendly snow zone is maintained by the canine lovers at DogPac. Dogs are also allowed on the ungroomed trails at Skyliner, Edison and Kapka Butte Sno-Parks.