Central Oregon Winter Adventures Unveiled: Ski, Savor, and Soar

Central Oregon Winter Adventures: Mt. Bachelor
Photo by: Visit Central Oregon

Its breathtaking natural setting makes Central Oregon a gateway to seasonal excitement, offering endless possibilities for adventure, culinary explorations, and more. As the seasons shift, the snow-capped Cascade Peaks and bluebird days transform the region into a winter playground, attracting travelers seeking thrills from both near and far.

Skiing Magic in Bend, Oregon: A Nominated Ski Town

Bend, Central Oregon’s largest city, was recently nominated by the USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards for Best Ski Town. Why? Whether an expert carver or new to the slopes, Mt. Bachelor – North America’s sixth-largest ski and snowboard resort – will offer seemingly infinite terrain to explore. Nominated by the USA Today 10Best Readers Choice Awards for Best Ski Resort and Best Place for Snowboarding, Mt. Bachelor is also set to debut the highly anticipated Skyliner Express 6-pack chairlift in December, increasing the lift capacity by 50 percent.

View MT. Bachelor’s Snow Cam: https://youtu.be/jF9f7hsdlJg

Trails and Adventures: Beyond the Slopes

The corduroy trails of the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center and the Deschutes National Forest beckon to cross-country skiers, hikers, snowshoers, and motorheads with miles of trails. For an altogether different perspective, snowshoers and Nordic skiers can adventure under the stars.

Tap a local expert, such as Wanderlust Tours, for an exceptional guided experience that shares Central Oregon’s beauty.

See what the Snowshoe Tour is about: https://youtu.be/C7tmpBkM_nw?si=yeqlo49avKEAoSmg

Culinary Delights in Bend: A Hub for Foodies and Beer Connoisseurs

Hook and Plow menu items include gourmet burgers, house fries, and exotic drinks.
How about the Hook and Plow menu?!

When it’s time for a break from the chill of winter, Bend, Central Oregon’s largest city and cultural heartbeat, is a hub for foodies and beer connoisseurs. Portland’s beloved Fire On The Mountain will be opening its first Central Oregon location in October, joining a slew of other notable dining additions, including Bar RioCascade Lakes’ on Reed MarketDear IreneHook & Plow, and Lady Bird.

Interesting culinary explorations await in every corner of Central Oregon, including Redmond and Sisters. Guy Fieri recently featured Feast Food Co. and Grace and Hammer in Redmond and High Camp Taphouse in Sisters on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Arts, Culture, and Events: Winter Beyond the Outdoors

Central Oregon might be a mecca for outdoor recreation, but it also offers an array of activities that showcase the arts and culture of the region. For instance, the award-winning High Desert Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history, culture, and wildlife of Central Oregon.

In addition to its endless permanent exhibitions, the High Desert Museum will offer exciting temporary exhibitions this fall and winter.

Those include: “Wolves: The Photography of Ronan Donovan” (Oct. 21-Feb. 11) – an intimate look into the lives of wild wolves through the lens of the decorated National Geographic photographer – and famed artist Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species Collection (Dec. 9-April 7).

A Sense of Community on Central Oregon

A man skiing in deep powder in Central Oregon
Sunriver traditions include ski packages at Sunriver Resort

Some of Central Oregon’s most beloved events also bring the community together each fall and winter. For more than 50 years, Sunriver Resort has hosted the Sunriver Traditions. This celebration includes the Grand Illumination tree-lighting ceremony, a holiday light show, Santa and Mrs. Claus meet-ups, Gingerbread Junction, and more.

Every February, Oregon Winterfest celebrates winter highlights with light, ice, and fire expositions, live music, amusement rides, food, libations, arts and crafts. This year will also mark the 7th annual Winter PrideFest, a massive and energetic toast to pride, inclusivity, and love of the outdoors.

Central Oregon’s Stay Options: From Luxury to Cozy Retreats

Where to stay depends on the adventure that brings you to town. Whether you’re coming for a ski trip with friends and family or looking to relax and recharge, there is a place for everyone.

The view of the golf course at Tethrow Resort
Overlooking the golf course at Tethrow Resort

Tetherow Resort was recently recognized as the No. 1 resort in the Pacific Northwest by the Condé Nast Traveler 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards, a list that also includes Sunriver Resort and Brasada Ranch.

From upscale urban stays such as The Oxford Hotel in Bend to quaint-yet-sophisticated lodging like The Cottage Inn at Sisters to quiet retreats like Black Butte Ranch and FivePine Lodge and Spa in Sisters, Central Oregon has an array of options with memorable settings and abundant activities.

Redmond: A Hub City Not to be Overlooked

Don’t sleep on Redmond, Central Oregon’s burgeoning hub city. Sunset Magazine picked Redmond as a “Best City Getaway” in the West in the 2023 Sunset Travel Awards, and downtown’s SCP Redmond Hotel as among the “Best Lodging for Nature Lovers.

Speaking of the Sunset Travel Awards, Central Oregon Astro Tourism was also selected among the West’s “Best Adventure Trips” for 2023 and offers a great idea on how to experience Central Oregon’s dark skies. 

“The timeless natural beauty of Central Oregon combines perfectly with outdoor adventure, culinary exploration, and the region’s art and culture to create a truly unique winter getaway,” said Julia Theisen, CEO of Visit Central Oregon. “With the wide range of excursions and snow-filled experiences, there is so much to do and explore.”

Julia Theisen, CEO of Visit Central Oregon

Central Oregon’s Accessibility: Connecting Winter Adventures

Central Oregon has always been challenging to reach, too. Already offering direct daily flights to every major Western hub, Central Oregon’s Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM) recently added three new flights this upcoming season.

Alaska Airlines will bring back daily non-stop air service between Portland and Redmond on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Avelo Airlines has also added non-stop flights to Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa, Calif. 

Located on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range, where vast forests give way to the arid high desert, Central Oregon is characterized by year-round adventure, authenticity, inspiration, and environment.

Before You Go

Vacation rental at Sunriver resort in Central Oregon.
Sun River Resort vacation rental

Central Oregon offers a perfect mix of recreation and sophistication, from the towering peaks of the Cascades to the pristine waters of the Wild & Scenic Deschutes River. Don’t forget about the more urban experiences of Bend, Sunriver, and Redmond. Barely three hours from Portland, and with daily direct flights from eight major markets, getting to Central Oregon is a breeze. 

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