Holiday Outings | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Holiday Outings 

Looking for something (and maybe free) to do with family in town this week? Go play in the snow and ice!

You've been cooped up in the house with your relatives for days—a length of time that has you plotting next year's destination holiday in the tropics, sans familia. But now's not the time to lose your sh*t, budding Grinch—because you still have to keep those relatives entertained for a few more days.

Let these clutch ideas from your friendly Source staff give you some jumping-off points.

It's a time-honored tradition: Building a snow fort, and then wailing on your friends and neighbors with well-crafted snowballs. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • It's a time-honored tradition: Building a snow fort, and then wailing on your friends and neighbors with well-crafted snowballs.

Snow Fort/Snow Ball Fight Snowmaggedon

By Nicole Vulcan

Yes, we know that what you'd really like to be doing right now is sending it down your favorite run off Cloudchaser, but with your extended family in tow, remember that, in spite of common local wisdom, there's more to life than shredding it in the outdoors.

Fortunately, copious snow is still something of a novelty for desert dwellers, visiting Californians and Willamette Valley denizens alike. And I mean, when's the last time you focused your familial ire toward a good ol' fashioned snowball fight?!

But since this is Bend and we know that you like all outdoors pursuits to take things to the "next level" level, we looked to the mechanical wizards at Popular Mechanics and the snow geeks at Traditional Mountaineering for some tips on snow fort best practices. So head to the fringes of a local sno-park of your choosing (friendly hint: Dutchman Sno-Park is probably the busiest in terms of parking... so...) and follow these suggestions for crafting the ultimate snow fort.

Trace the perimeter of the snow fort with a shovel or broomstick handle. If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. If your ultimate goal is to have a big snowball fight, just create two independent walls within throwing distance of each other.

Use containers that make big bricks, fast. Sand castle blocks are fine, but also consider storage totes. Pack the snow tight into each brick and lay it on your perimeter. Wetter snow—not powder, works best. The same goes for snowballs. If the snow is too powdery, take off your gloves and let the snow melt a little in your hands. also recommends tramping on powdery snow with skis or snowshoes to "change the qualities" of powder snow.

After you've built your walls, smooth more snow on the joints between your bricks.

Pour (or spray) water on the walls to finish things off, working from the bottom to top so things don't get top heavy.

You're a Bendito, so you're probably going to make this much more "extra" than you need to—but just remember, your visiting family won't necessarily know that going above and beyond in all things outdoors is a social contract we signed when we got our first Northwest Forest Pass. (Oh, speaking of: You'll need a Sno-Park pass to park at one. Get them at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station, Newport Avenue Market or any local outdoor gear shop, among other locations).

  • Discover Your Forest

Snowshoe with a Ranger

By Keely Damara

Looking for a day out in the snow for the whole family that won't break the bank? The U.S. Forest Service is hosting 90-minute snowshoe tours at Mt. Bachelor every weekend through March — and did we mention they're "free" dollars?

As long as kids in tow are older than 10 years old, everyone is welcome to tag along for an educational tour highlighting the flora and fauna found throughout the area (four-legged family members are not allowed). Snowshoes are provided — but you're welcome to bring your own. 

In addition to weekends, tours run on holidays (except Christmas and New Year's Day) and school vacation days at 10am and 1:30pm. 

After a full day outside, why not take a little time for yourself to chill with other adults (or, perhaps, a nice breather for yourself before heading back to a house full of your extended family)? Creative Wellness Studio is hosting Parents' Night Out: Hot Chocolate & Craft Night Sat., Dec. 22 from 6-8pm, a fun holiday-themed craft night for kids age 4 to 11. Drop the kids off and go out for an adult beverage, last minute Christmas shopping — the sky's the limit with two magical hours to yourself.

Snowshoe with a Ranger
Weekends, holidays (not Christmas or New Year's Day) & school vacations
10am & 1:30pm
Mt. Bachelor USFS Snowshoe Hut

Parents' Night Out: Hot Chocolate & Crafts Night
Sat., Dec. 22, 6-8pm
Creative Wellness Studio
19570 Amber Meadow Dr., Bend

A family skates at the outdoor rink at the Seventh Mountain Resort last winter. - NATE WYETH
  • Nate Wyeth
  • A family skates at the outdoor rink at the Seventh Mountain Resort last winter.

Ice Skating

By Chris Miller 

You don't have to skate like Wayne Gretzky to have fun on ice skates. You can even look like Ryan Reynolds' character in "Just Friends," slipping around and falling on your butt multiple times as people giggle in your direction—just wear a helmet. 

During the winter and into the spring, depending on the year, Bend offers three rinks within driving distance: The Pavilion on Simpson Ave., The Seventh Mountain Resort on Century Drive and the small rink at Sunriver Resort.  

Bend Park and Recreation District built the Pavilion in 2015. It's a full-sized ice rink with open skates, curling leagues, hockey leagues and figure skating. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it has Holiday Open Skates for people to glide around and try to work off the eggnog. Open skates are $12 with skate rental or $9 if you bring your own blades. 

The Seventh Mountain Resort boasts the only open-air rink in Central Oregon and it has a bar allowing you to sip cocktails while sitting around a fire—talk about holiday spirit. It costs $7 for adults and $7 more if you need to rent skates for the day.  

In Sunriver, the Village Mall has a place to stretch your legs, or just watch your kids glide across the ice while sipping a latte. It's $14 for adults and $10 for kids to skate. 

The Pavilion
1001 Southwest Bradbury Way, Bend

Seventh Mountain Resort
8575 SW Century Dr., Bend

Sunriver Resort Ice Skating
57100 Beaver Dr., Sunriver

About The Authors

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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