Winter Weekend – 48 Hours of Winter Fun

It’s a triple play when it comes to the perfect two-day winter stay in Central Oregon – starting and ending with three distinct experiences.

Sisters

Based out of Sisters, after a pleasant night’s stay at FivePine Lodge, head to one of the town’s renowned bakeries to start the day. If you’re staying at Black Butte Ranch, brew up a cup and lay out some pastries in your vacation rental. After that, head to Hoodoo Ski Area to ski, ride or do a little innertubing down these Cascade slopes.

After a morning full of downhill runs, head back to Sisters for a late lunch or refreshments at the Three Creeks Brewing Company. If you haven’t been able to find time to see the latest movie, head next door to the Sisters Movie House, built inside a big red barn. If the slopes have gotten the best of you, there’s always the Shibui Spa at FivePine Lodge, just a two-minute walk from the theater and brew pub.

Day two is exploration day. It begins in Sisters with a relaxed cross-country ski tour on the Peterson Ridge trail system, a hike around nearby Suttle Lake or an amble along the Metolius River and into Camp Sherman. Try lunch at The Lodge at Suttle Lake.

Back in town, it’s time to troll the art galleries or hit the winter series of the Sisters Folk Festival, where you can find big acts in an intimate setting.

A family ice skating at Seventh Mountain Resort

Bend

If you’re launching from Bend, and staying at DoubleTree, Riverhouse on the Deschutes or the Hilton Garden Inn, try McKay Cottage or Sparrow Bakery before heading up for a day of alpine skiing.

Those wanting to be a bit closer to Mt. Bachelor will find a haven at Seventh Mountain Resort, five miles from downtown on the way to the ski area.

Legs a bit weary and ready to head back from the slopes, stop by The Row at Tetherow for apres ski or head right to town for a brew and a burger at either 10 Barrel Brewing Company or Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. Lodge.

Come evening, Bend has dozens of wonderful dining options such as the venerable Pine Tavern near Mirror Pond in the heart of the city.

After dinner, downtown has several music clubs, regular big-time music acts at the Tower Theatre, wine bars and places to simply sit back and relax after a long day on the mountain.

Or, an alternative itinerary for Bend would be to start off the day heading up Century Drive for cross-country skiing at one of the designated Sno-Parks, sledding at Wanoga Sno-Park or dog sledding with Trail of Dreams at Mt. Bachelor.

Back in town, explore the shopping downtown or in the Old Mill District. The dinner fare in town runs from Middle Eastern, to Far Eastern to Pacific Northwest and Western. In any case there are top-notch restaurants for every whim.

The Village at Sunriver Shopping

Sunriver

A third two-day excursion starts in Sunriver, with its wide variety of accommodations from lodge rooms and condos to rental homes. In winter, Sunriver is like being in a classic European alpine mountain community – small enough to walk everywhere yet replete with a central shopping and restaurant village.

The drive to Mt. Bachelor from Sunriver is short. When your legs can’t take any more on the mountain, head back to Sunriver Resort, where there’s Sage Springs Spa to minister aches and pains, Sunriver Brewing Company for conviviality and several excellent dining choices at the Lodge and in The Village at Sunriver.

Day two in Sunriver starts with a leisurely breakfast at Sintra before heading up to Edison Butte for a cross-country ski tour. By the way, dogs are welcome at Edison Butte.
Ending the tour with a picnic lunch on the snow is a fitting finale to two wonderful Central Oregon days.

Cascade Perfection – All Around Mt. Bachelor

From the day it opened 55 years ago, Mt. Bachelor gained a well-deserved reputation for its deep powder, its long season and the incredible vistas north over the Three Sisters Wilderness, west over the High Cascade Lakes region, south towards Crater Lake and east over the high desert country. Mt. Bachelor quickly became known as a cruiser’s delight – a mountain where almost every acre of terrain could be skied by just about anyone.

Mt Bachelor in Central Oregon

Over the intervening years, Mt. Bachelor added to its luster by becoming one of America’s first ski areas to welcome snowboarders, embrace telemark skiing, and install high-speed lifts. The resort was also in the forefront of the cross-country ski boom, adding a groomed trail system in the late 1970s.

Today Mt. Bachelor is the model of a complete snowsports resort. It offers 360-degree lift-served groomed skiing and riding from its volcanic summit. Off the groomed, there is plenty of untouched gladed tree skiing over Bachelor’s 3,683 acres.

A friendly team of Mountain Ambassadors are available to make you feel welcome and safe on the mountain.

If you seek big air and tricks, there are terrain parks for your playground. Good to know that at Mt. Bachelor, kids up to age 12 ski for free (and ride the terrain park) if one of the parents buys a multiday ticket. Kids younger than five ski for free all season.

Close to the West Village Lodge is the lift-served Snowblast and Tubing Park where kids of all ages can slide down a groomed runway to their hearts’ content and then get pulled back up.

There are two base lodges that offer rentals and lessons, as well as first-rate food and beverage service. Up on the hill, Pine Marten Lodge offers a memorable ski-in-ski-out respite during a day on the slopes.

Directly across the main parking lot from the tubing park, terrain park and lifts is the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center with 56 kilometers of trails groomed for both skate skiing and classic skiing. From its classic log cabin structure, the Nordic Center offers lessons, rentals and a wood-burning stove to cozy up to for a snack and a hot chocolate.

Almanac – Mt. Bachelor

  • Elevation: Summit–9,065 feet, 
Base–6,300 feet
  • Vertical Drop: 3,365 feet
  • Maximum Run Length: 3.9 miles
  • Acres of Skiing: 3,683; 
1,600 acres groomed daily
  • Number of Runs: 88
  • Average Snowfall: 452″
  • Average Snow Base: 150-200″
  • 2014-2015 Rates: www.mtbachelor.com
  • Alpine Terrain Rating: 15% Novice, 25% Intermediate, 35% Advanced, 25% Expert
  • Chairlifts: 10 chairs, including 7 high-speed quads.
  • Day Lodges: Six, including the mid-mountain Pine Marten Lodge and the Nordic Center. High-speed internet in Sunrise and West Village base lodges.
  • Nordic Skiing: More than a dozen trails with 56 km of machine-groomed tracks.
  • Nordic Terrain Rating: 5% Beginner, 69% Intermediate and 26% Expert.
  • Ski Shuttles: Catch the Mt. Bachelor Shuttle to the mountain from its Park & Ride lot in Bend. Ski shuttle service is also available from Sunriver, Eagle Crest, Seventh Mountain Resort, Oxford Hotel, and Pronghorn.
  • Kids Ski/Ride Free: “Kids Ski/ Ride FREE” offer is for anyone in the family 12 or younger to get free lift tickets with a parent purchase of an adult multiday ticket.
  • Day-care Center: Mt. Bachelor offers a state-licensed day-care center that provides care for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.
  • Ski Report: 
(541) 382-7888 or (800) 829-2442
  • Trail Map: Available at the Central Oregon Visitors Association or at the mountain.
  • Information/Reservations: 
(800) 829-2442 or mtbachelor.com

Night Skiing – Hip Hoodoo

Central Oregon’s only night skiing destination, the Hoodoo Ski Area just west of Sisters lets you ski under the stars (and the lights) on Fridays and Saturdays. And every day, Hoodoo offers uncrowded, affordable, family-friendly charm along with three high-speed quad lifts, 32 runs and 806 skiable and rideable acres. With nearly all the runs ending at the main ski bowl near the lodge, it’s easy for families and friends to stay together, and the Mountain Cubs area is for ages 4 to 6.

Night Skiing at Hoodoo Ski Resort

Beginners will love Hoodoo’s new “1-2-3 and Rent For Free” program that gives first-timers: three two-hour lessons, three lift tickets and three equipment rentals, followed by free equipment rentals for the rest of the year, all for $149. And everyone can appreciate the easy in-and-out terrain from Hoodoo’s spacious, 60,000-square-foot lodge, close to the chair lifts.

Even non-skiers can tap into gravity-fueled excitement with downhill snowbikes, essentially bikes on skis, and at the Autobahn Tubing Park. One of the largest cable tows in the country takes riders to the top of the hill for more than 800 feet of inner-tubing downhill fun.

Making turns at Hoodoo Ski Resort near Sisters, Oregon

Another way to enjoy this terrain is on the 19 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails.

Hoodoo also offers the most ski-in, ski-out RV hookups in Oregon. With 32 RV spaces just a few steps from the lodge, it’s easy to order a Hoodoo Voodoo IPA and tailgate right from your RV or trailer. Bring plenty of firewood and a fire pit to cozy up around the flame at night to watch the snow fall. Or, stay at cozy accommodations or spacious cabins in the woods at nearby at Suttle Lake, Camp Sherman or Black Butte Ranch. Hot tip: Black Butte Ranch offers packages starting at $165 including two Hoodoo lift tickets or four tubing passes, two free movie tickets and a free pizza.

Almanac – Hoodoo:

  • Elevation: Summit–5,703 feet, 
Base–4,668 feet
  • Vertical Drop: 1,035 feet
  • Maximum Run Length: 3 miles
  • Number of Runs: 32
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 450″
  • Average Annual Snow Base: 120-180″
  • 2014-2015 Rates: www.hoodoo.com
  • NIGHT SKIING: 
Fri.-Sat. beginning Dec. 20 (3:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
  • Alpine Terrain Rating: 30% Novice, 30% Intermediate, 40% Advanced
  • Chairlifts: 5 chairs, including three quads.
  • Day Lodge: Hoodoo has one centrally located lodge with rentals, a ski shop, a restaurant and a bar. The Autobahn Tubing hill has its own warming hut with food service.
  • Nordic Skiing: The Hoodoo Nordic trails are groomed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On non-holiday Tuesdays and Thursdays, Hoodoo doesn’t groom and skiing is free. The trails are generally closed on Wednesdays.
  • Ski Shuttles: 
From Eugene, contact Berg’s Ski Shop for schedule (800) 800-1953.
  • Deals: Tightwad Tuesdays lift tickets; and 2-for-1 lift tickets on Thursday and night skiing Friday and Saturday with stamped voucher of 10-galllon fill-up from participating Shell gas stations.
  • Night Skiing: Fri. – Sat. from Dec. 20; 
3:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Day-care Center: Hoodoo Day Care will hold five children ages 18 months to 4 years. $65 for a full day or $16/hour with 2-hour minimum. Lunch is $6 extra. Please call to reserve: (541) 822-3799 ext. 6952
  • Information: For questions about lessons and programs, email srsoffice@hoodoo.com or call (541) 822-3799, ext. 6510.
  • Ski Report:
(541) 822-3337 www.hoodoo.com/status
  • Trail Map: Available at the Central Oregon Visitors Association or at the mountain. Visit hoodoo.com.

Golf Guide – Golf Galore!

Variety is the spice of life when it comes to golf in Central Oregon.

From Scottish links-style, to towering Ponderosa-lined fairways, to pristinely manicured resort play… Central Oregon’s courses feature the finest course architects in the world.

View of lake, greens and Cascades in Sisters, Oregon

What makes the Central Oregon golf experience truly special is not only the variety and value of 30 golf courses within a 45-minute drive of Bend and Sunriver, but the exceptional caliber and diversity of course design. From high-mountain to high desert golf, you won’t find any single track like the next in Central Oregon. With some of the most renowned names in course design, you can be sure of a “bucket list” golf experience in Central Oregon. For many good reasons, Golf Digest named Central Oregon in its “Top 50 Golf Destinations in the World.”

And three Central Oregon gems are among Golf Digest’s Top 100 Public Golf Courses in America – The Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn (33) Crossater Club at Sunriver Resort (51) and Tetherow (54.)

Central Oregon courses aren’t short on scenery, with shots that challenge you to carry over deep canyons and the famed Deschutes River; bunkers carved from lava flows and filled with red sand; and fairways framing the majestic Cascade mountains. Just remember to call “FORE!” when the resident deer, rabbit or bald eagle ventures into the path of your shot.

Tetherow Golf Club - Hole #17

If your quest is to play a course designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, David McLay Kidd, and Peter Jacobsen then you’re in luck. This roster of all-star architects and many others, has chosen Central Oregon as the site for their most innovative course designs.

It may surprise you to learn that with less annual rainfall than San Diego, Central Oregon and its sunny, dry and mild temperatures is absolutely ideal for golf. Summer day temperatures average in the low 80s, while spring and fall provide crisp mornings and warm evenings for golf lovers. Many Central Oregon courses are open year-round.

The Pacific Amateur Golf Classic

Looking for a reason to test your game and sample this bounty of golf? If you have an established USGA handicap, you’re invited to enter the largest amateur tournament in the West – the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic. The PacAm, held September 19-24 2015 and now in its 19th year, welcomes hundreds of golfers each fall to this three-day, 54-hole event. The top four finishers in each flight qualify for a fourth round at famed Crosswater Golf Club in Sunriver, where the PacAm Champion is crowned. Nightly 19th-hole activities make the PacAm a celebration of golf and camaraderie. The tournament benefits the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon. For tournament and entry information, visit PacAmGolf.com or call (888) 425-3976.

Pacific Amateur Champion - Trophy Presentation

On The Trail

With 30 courses in the region that make up the Central Oregon Golf Trail, many golfers set their own itineraries that will, over several visits, allow them to play every course. To plan your Central Oregon Golf Trail or customize a destination golf vacation, visit CentralOregonGolfTrail.com or call our vacation planners at (800) 800-8334.

It Don’t Mean A Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing

Duke Ellington’s observation on swing extends beyond great jazz. In golf, the swing – be it that of Fred Couples, Rory McIlroy or a weekend warrior – is everything.

Pronghorn’s Troon Golf Academy offers comprehensive instruction, from full-swing to putting and short game to on-course management, and state-of-the-art video analysis. Led by world-renowned Director of Education Tim Mahoney, the academy offers discriminating travelers the Troon Golf Experience.

The Tetherow Golf Academy is a year-round, state-of-the-art golf training facility led by PGA Teacher of the Year finalist Mike Lewis. It includes two hitting bays for indoor and outdoor practice, and video-assisted swing assessment and diagnostics.

Central Oregon Hat Trick

It’s spring, and the region’s golf courses are snow free. Yet up at Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo ski resorts, there’s still tons of snow and the Deschutes and Metolius rivers are prime for fly-fishing. So how about carving a few turns in the morning, playing 18 holes in the afternoon and casting a fly at twilight? This cross training is an abundantly practiced Central Oregon perk. The best part may be when you kick back to sip your favorite Oregon Pinot noir or craft brew at the end of a day and just share the day’s stories.

Shopping Central Oregon’s Malls and Collections

Old Mill District

Bend’s Old Mill District is its own small town of shops. Stretching along the bank of the Deschutes River, this revitalized historic site incorporates vintage brick buildings into a beautiful promenade with a popular collection of shops. Major retailers include Victoria’s Secret, REI, Coldwater Creek, Banana Republic and The Gap and local favorite Saxon’s Fine Jewelers.

With so much shopping to do here, you’ll need to stay energized with a stop for lunch, a local microbrew, cocktail, or dinner. At Greg’s Grill, Pastini Pastaria, Anthony’s and Level 2 in the Old Mill District, bask on the patios with gorgeous views of the Cascade Mountains over a tranquil stretch of the Deschutes River.

Head to the Ticket Mill for concert tickets, gift certificates, pint glasses, postcards, posters or check out binoculars and a birding list for viewing along this stunning avian migratory corridor.

must-have: The perfect dress that’s great over a bathing suit and can go straight to drinks and dinner on the patio.

Bend Factory Stores

At the south end of town lies one of Bend’s biggest secrets. The Bend Factory Stores have everything from sportswear and formal wear to children’s wear and home furnishings. For those who love a deal, the Bend Factory Stores has a Nike and a Columbia Sportswear outlet to name just a couple. Other stores in the outlet include The Coach Factory Store, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Izod, Pendleton Outlet and Pearl iZumi.

must-have: A head-to-toe high-tech ensemble that keeps you smiling and comfy under our true-blue summer skies or on snowy adventures – all at a reasonable price.

Bend River Promenade

The long-established Bend River Promenade Mall on Third Street is a hub of shopping variety in Bend. This shopping center is home to many of the trusted brands we grew up with, such as Macy’s, Kohl’s and T.J. Maxx. The Duck Store is just across the street for University of Oregon Duck gear and accessories.

must-have: A new pair of polarized sunglasses, because we have 300 days of sun a year, and even less rain than San Diego.

Cascade Village Shopping Center

The Cascade Village Shopping Center is located on the north edge of town. Here you’ll find many larger format stores including Trader Joe’s, Target, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Ross, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Famous Footwear.

must-have: Crunchy and delicious organic snacks for your trip up to the mountains, and gear that will keep you happy while you’re there, no matter the season.

Get Outdoors – Central Oregon Summers Shine

Floating the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon

Want to start a debate at a Central Oregon brewpub? Ask a local which season is best: Summer or Winter?

Mt. Bachelor might get all the press – it is the Pacific Northwest’s largest ski area after all. But you’d be hard pressed to find a better summer destination than Central Oregon.

The Deschutes River has always been the lifeblood of Central Oregon and vital to any “must do” list. Taking a refreshing and relaxing inner tube float down the Deschutes from Bend’s Farewell Bend Park is required river therapy. The best part of the float—apart from its highly social nature—is the availability of a shuttle bus ride from Drake Park back to Farewell Bend Park to do it all over again.

SUP at Sparks Lake - Central Oregon

If recreational kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddling is more to your liking, there are acres of open water with great views out over the mountain and forest landscape in the High Cascades Lakes of the Deschutes National Forest or on Paulina and East lakes in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

For those who fancy lakes with houseboating, water skiing and swimming, there’s Lake Billy Chinook near Madras.

There’s also fishing in all the region’s lakes such as Cultus and Davis lakes and reservoirs such as Crane Prairie and Wickiup, and, of course, the Deschutes, Crooked and Metolius rivers. The Deschutes is famous for its native “redside” rainbow trout and its annual steelhead runs. The smaller Metolius River is known for being home to monster bull trout. Crane Prairie Reservoir, Davis Lake and East Lake are all noted for their trophy trout.

Cabins on Metolius River near Sisters, Oregon

On dry land, there’s more than 300 miles of Central Oregon mountain bike trails. There’s a wide variety from mellow cruisers for beginners to technical downhill trails on Mt. Bachelor requiring expert skills.

Mountain Biking in Bend, Oregon
courtesy Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttles

The singletrack trail network is also well used by trail runners and hikers. Some of the best Central Oregon hiking is in the Three Sisters Wilderness, at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and at Smith Rock State Park—a world-famous rock climbing venue. Climbers now also flock to the basalt columns at Trout Creek Recreation Area close to Madras.

Back on pavement, Central Oregon has become a hub for road cycling with scenic bikeways fanning out in every direction. The region also hosts the Cascade Cycling Classic, the longest running road cycling stage-race in the country, now in its 36th year.

Madras Mountain Views Scenic Bikeway with cyclist near Bend, Oregon

Each June, athletes, joined by their families and friends, converge on Central Oregon to take part in the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival. The Pacific Crest is known as the jewel of multisport events in the Northwest and a destination race for athletes from around the world. The Pacific Crest Weekend features a Health & Fitness Expo, great food, a beer garden, live entertainment and some of the best competitive racing in the country.

In the heart of Central Oregon’s inspirational running country, Sunriver Resort is proud to host the Sunriver Marathon for a Cause in August. Runners, skiers, bikers and paddlers compete in Bend’s festive Pole Pedal Paddle in May, starting at Mt. Bachelor and finishing in the Old Mill District.

Fairway on Crosswater Club golf course in Sunriver, Oregon

With 30 – that’s right 30! golf courses in Central Oregon, the region has become a nationally recognized golf destination. In September, the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic (the largest amateur event in the West) moves from among a handful of the courses before the Championship Round at the award-winning Crosswater Club Course.

No matter what time of year and what recreation precedes it, the region’s brewpubs are always alive with activity. Brewing craft beer and the publican lifestyle have become a Central Oregon hallmark. Many of the region’s pubs have integrated their indoor space with expansive outdoor dining while offering excellent food, live music and, of course, tasty ales, lagers and stouts. Cheers!

Crux outside table and beers

To take it all in—brewpubs to golf, hiking, fishing or floating—can be daunting. Leave the logistics (and driving) to GETIT Shuttle and The Bend Trolley. Both of these transportation boutiques offer tours built around recreation and libations.