Skiing in Bend and Central Oregon
Visiting Bend, Oregon is a treat, especially if you’re a skier. Bend sits near the base of the Cascade Range, making it the perfect home base for all Central Oregon winter adventures. The city is blessed with light and dry high desert snow, the perfect type of snow for fun, powdery days on the mountain. Central Oregon is also known for its long ski seasons, which can stretch from November to May. With two ski resorts nearby and plenty of backcountry terrain to explore, there’s no shortage of opportunity for winter adventure. Ready to hit the slopes? Read on for a complete guide on skiing around Bend, Sunriver and beyond.
Ski Resorts Near Bend, Oregon
Two main resorts are close enough to Bend to be considered for a day trip: Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort and Hoodoo Ski Area. Mt. Bachelor is about half an hour from Bend down the Cascade Lakes Highway, while driving to Hoodoo will take a little less than an hour on Highway 20. Both resorts receive plenty of snow, on average more than 450 inches each year. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels are welcome, both resorts offer lessons for all ages and a variety of terrain.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort
Visit Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, and discover a new love for skiing. As the sixth largest ski resort in the United States, Mt. Bachelor has over 4,300 acres of lift accessible terrain with 12 lifts, magic carpets, terrain parks, rental shops and plenty of food options for a day away. With over 100 runs to explore, this mountain is full of surprises, even for seasoned veterans. What if not all your family members ski? Not a problem! Enjoy the warm indoors and a warm or cold beverage and some nibbles at one of the two base lodges.
The resort also offers classic and skate-style cross country skiing, across the West Village parking lot at the nordic center, with 56 kilometers of groomed trails. Enjoy the stillness of nature as you glide across meadows and through a winter wonderland. For additional thrills, head to Snowblast Tubing Park, Central Oregon’s largest tubing park. For an adventure more outside-the-box, consider dog sledding, led by professional mushers along snowy, tree-lined trails near the resort.
Hoodoo Ski Area
Hoodoo is Oregon’s most centrally located ski resort, and draws skiers from around the state and beyond into the heart of Oregon. Founded in 1938, Hoodoo is also the oldest ski area operating in Central Oregon. When visiting Sisters, Oregon, a day trip to Hoodoo is only 26 minutes away. Sitting at the summit of Santiam Pass, Hoodoo has more than 800 acres of skiable terrain, divided into 34 runs with five lifts to access it all. The ski area also offers the Autobahn Tubing Park, a huge tubing hill with several groomed 800-foot runs. While many skiers enjoy taking morning turns, Hoodoo offers another option. Head to Hoodoo after dark for the chance to enjoy night skiing in Central Oregon; nowhere else in the region can you glide under the cover of night with twinkling stars in the sky. Night skiing runs are illuminated to help skiers find their way.
Central Oregon Backcountry Skiing
For those that dream of avoiding the lift lines and shredding untouched powder, Central Oregon’s backcountry is calling. Backcountry skiing can be a liberating experience and enthusiasts claim that once you ski in the backcountry, you’ll have a hard time ever wanting to go back to a resort. For those new to the experience, Oregon Ski Guides provides guided backcountry adventures to help get skiers and split boarders get better acquainted with the backcountry. They help relieve the added stress of navigating, and accessing terrain and give you the freedom to learn and enjoy the powdery turns. Local organizations such as the Central Oregon Avalanche Center, or COAC, and Three Sisters Backcountry Access offer avalanche awareness courses that are designed to increase awareness and help navigate more safety in the backcountry. COAC also offers forecasting info for those experienced ski tourers or split boarders looking to get out into the backcountry unguided. But always remember, experienced or not, it’s important to have the knowledge, the tools and understanding of the dangers of backcountry skiing before venturing out.
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