Your Guide to Winter in Oregon
PHOTO: Bend, Ore., is a hub of winter activity in Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Ski season is officially on in Oregon, after a storm swept through the Pacific Northwest dumping several feet of snow.
Ski Oregon President Dave Tragethon said that the storm is typical of the abundant snowfall Oregon receives, declaring, “Northwest ski areas enjoy seasonal snowfall averaging more than twice that of other regions in the U.S. This storm signals the beginning of a great snow sport season in Oregon.”
This recent storm has given an economic boost to mountain communities and the state as a whole. The ski industry is a big driver within Oregon’s economy, generating $482 million annually. It also provides an estimated 6,800 jobs in Oregon and generates nearly $200 million in personal income.
But as Travel Oregon’s CEO Todd Davidson points out, there is a lot more to explore than just the slopes during the wintertime.
“We invite snow sports enthusiasts to recreate in the natural beauty of Oregon, and while here explore our historical, cultural and culinary offerings. Oregon’s winter offers much to enjoy and experience. Visitors to the state make a significant impact on the local economy. Travel and tourism is a $10.3 billion industry in Oregon and directly generates more than 101,000 jobs.”
Mountain bikers are now taking over the hillsides during the winter on fat bikes. Bend, Ore., is helping pave the way to this sport’s popularity in the Pacific Northwest. Fat bikes are basically souped-up all-terrain bikes with fat tires that can travel on snow. Several local bike shops in Bend are renting fat bikes to visitors who want to experience this fun new trend in biking – and other nearby mountain towns are catching on to fat-bike fever.
Bend is also known for its stellar snowmobiling trails and is recognized as one of the best places in the northwest for the sport. There are more than 250 backcountry trails that are open to snowmobiling. Numerous trails can be followed by those who are renting machines or have their own, and there are also guided tours available. Some places where guests can look into snowmobiling include Elk Lake Resort, Deschutes National Forest, Central Oregon Adventures and Paulina Lake Lodge.
Sled Dog Ride
You don’t have to travel all the way to Alaska in the winter to get a taste of a sled dog ride. Sled dog rides are a great family-friendly wintertime activity. Rachael Scdoris operates Oregon Trail of Dreams along with her father Jerry. The two of them are one of Bend’s local celebrities and is a three-time competitor in the Iditarod, an epic 1,200-mile race across the Alaskan wilderness.
Despite being legally blind, Scdoris completed the Iditarod two times and has received accolades from Glamour, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Teen Magazine and more. Guests can now experience a half-day marathon trip (26 mile) complete with lunch at Elk Lake Lodge. There are also one-hour rides that hold up to four people. Children will love tending to the dogs, feeding and watering them, during the ride.
These are just a couple of examples of activities that go beyond the ski slopes. There are also opportunities for tubing and snowshoeing and a variety of others.
For more information, visit www.traveloregon.com.
More by Janeen Christoff
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