In the summertime, there is no shortage of things to get involved in outdoors. You can float the river for free, you can mountain bike for free, you can hike and camp for free, and you can toss around a frisbee at one of Bend’s multiple parks for free. There are affordable alternatives that allow you to get in your share of the snow without having to pay an arm and a leg.
Just because there is snow on the the ground, doesn’t mean you can’t get out there and hike. Popular, and often crowded hiking spots, are decidedly less busy come winter and can offer a completely different experience once the mercury has dropped. Additionally, many local trailheads have a reduced, or even free rate, in the winter time. Twenty-four hour snowshoe rentals will run you right around fifteen dollars but if you plan to go more than a couple times, you can easily pick up a used pair for less than 100 dollars.
Estimated cost: free – twenty dollars
Ice Skating is a relatively common sport in the winter time. It is often featured in winter-themed movies and plays. However, to ice skate, despite some romanticized ideals, you’ll need an ice rink in order to be safe. In Bend, there is the ice rink at Inn at the Seventh Mountain. It costs eight dollars for admission and six dollars for ice skate rentals. On Tuesdays, there is a special offer of skates and admission for ten dollars.
The Redmond Ice Rink is also an available option. Located at the Downtown Redmond Plaza on SW 7th Street, admission is only one dollar if you come with your own skates. To rent skates, admission goes up to four dollars and includes skates. They are open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The rink is open to skate for free from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday to Sunday, but you’ll have to bring your own skates as the rental booth is closed at that time.
Estimated cost: four – fifteen dollars
In the same way that you can still hike via snowshoeing, one can still satisfy their need to spend a night underneath the stars via snow camping. It is absolutely essential that you go with one who understands the intricacies and dangers of camping in the cold and snow. Take time to educate yourself before making the plunge outside.
Estimated cost: 20 dollars per person, per night, not including equipment
Ski or Ride in 5
Haven’t ever learned to ski or snowboard? Do you think you’d be good at pretending like you had no clue what you were doing? Mt. Bachelor’s Ski or Ride in 5 deal is arguably one of the best learn-to-ski deals in the U.S. For 199 dollars, you get five lessons, five rentals and five lift passes. That’s not all though – upon “graduation” you are gifted a free 12-day pass, as well as half off next season’s pass. Participants under 18 get a free season pass upon completion. When you compare that with just a rental and a lift ticket, it’s easy to see how valuable this route is. Stay tuned for the next issue, where I actually take on learning to ski in the Ski or Ride in 5 program.
Estimated cost: forty dollars per day
If you a made a New Year’s resolution to get outside but already find yourself slipping, taking a class is a great way to force your hand. COCC offers Nordic skiing, Alpine skiing, Snowboarding, and Snowshoeing. While not the best value from a monetary standpoint, it’s a great way to earn credit while learning a new sport in a supportive community environment.
Estimated cost: 100 – 400 dollars, depending on the class
Sledding is another almost free way to enjoy the wintery outdoors in Central Oregon. All it requires is a sled and depending on where you go, a sno-park permit. Wanoga Sno-Park hosts a popular sledding area in Central Oregon. A sno-park permit is required, but it offers a groomed sledding hill along with trails for snowmobiling. It is also open to hiking and dog sledding. Sno-park permits cost three dollars a day, seven dollars for three days or 15 dollars for the season. Sno-park permits are available at local sporting goods stores, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles and Forest Service offices.
Estimated cost: free – three dollars
Tim Cachelin and Juli Wright | The Broadside
[Edited by Erika]