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Outdoor Enhancements 

Bend's assets got a boost this week

After a few sleepy weeks of "meh" weather and minimal events, outdoor recreation in Central Oregon has received a substantial jolt.

Thanks to race organizers, and racers, and fans, Mother Nature and heaps of volunteers, the last week and a half has been a doozy. This weekend and next week should follow suit.

More 'Cross Zaniness

As we predicted (see Volume 16, Issue 49, page 35), locals ruled at last weekend's Trek U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Deschutes Brewery Cup. On both Saturday and Sunday Bend had two racers on the elite men's podium. Ryan Trebon won Saturday's race and finished second to teammate Tim Johnson on Sunday.

Adam Craig, fresh off his Singlespeed Cyclocross World Championship win in Los Angeles, was third both days. Serena Bishop Gordon was Bend's best elite female racer and finished 17th on Saturday and 16th on Sunday.

Awesome Early-Season Snow

After a brief rainstorm battered Central Oregon last week and threatened to upend our pleasant early-winter conditions, Mother Nature took pity on us. A few inches of fresh followed and conditions have since been quite lovely for downhill, backcountry and cross-country users.

Mt. Bachelor was closed last Tuesday, due to torrential rains, but reopened Wednesday and can still boast a 45-inch base at West Village and 65 inches at midmountain—the second-deepest snowpack in the contiguous U.S. (Mt. Baker, our neighbor to the north, has the most snow). On Sunday, Bachelor opened the Northwest Express chair. Andy Goggins, director of marketing and communications, said they hope to open the Summit chair soon.

Shredding for a Cause

The sixth annual Dirksen Derby (Dec. 15 and 16) is following on the heels of this positive snow report and event organizers are preparing for 300 competitors. The two-day snowboard parallel banked slalom competition acts as a fundraiser for Bend's Tyler Eklund, who was paralyzed in a snowboarding accident in the run-up to the 2007 national championships. Eklund remains an avid adaptive snowrider.

This year the event will be staged from the Sunrise Lodge and Sunrise Chair, rather than West Village. Practice on the course on Friday then head to Century Center for a pre-party and Broken Board Art Auction, which features the work of local artists. (P.S. This will be one of the last live music events at Century in the foreseeable future.)

The party starts at 6 p.m. Friday and the racing is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Online registration closes Wednesday, but you can still sign up on Friday or the day of the event.

Meissner Madness

Though coverage is limited and not all 40 kilometers of community ski trails at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park are yet open, many are and they're sweet. The trails, meticulously maintained by the Meissner Nordic Club, have been groomed for both classic and skate since Dec. 2 and are reportedly skiing very well, despite last week's rain. If you're ever wondering about current conditions, check Meissner Nordic Club's Facebook page as they provide almost daily updates.

Before you head up, don't forget to pick up a Sno-Park Permit since the Forest Service WILL TICKET YOU if you go without. Permits are $15 and available at Sunnyside Sports, Great Outdoors and Pine Mountain Sports as well as a number of other local retailers. Also consider becoming a member of the Meissner Nordic Club, which oversees all grooming operations—now happening four days per week: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday. Sign up and donate at meissnernordic.org/membership.

Maston Update

On Saturday our friends at the Central Oregon Trail Alliance hosted a work party for the trail system at Maston, near Cline Butte. COTA and volunteers continue to improve the multi-use trail system north of Bend, which has proven to be exceptional terrain for winter riding. Saturday's focus was to add trails at the trailhead on Newcomb Road. Directional signs and trail markers were also added.

To access the Maston Trails, follow Cline Falls Highway north for 4.4 miles and turn right on Newcomb Road. A trailhead sign denotes the parking area, which is on the left approximately one half mile down Newcomb. 

Trout Creek Update

This weekend, Dec. 14 through Dec. 16, volunteers from the climbing community are rallying for a trail-building party at Trout Creek. The goal is to create a trail to the "Cool Wall," so that the "Main Wall" and the "Cool Wall" can function as separate areas. The split should allow climbers to access the area, even if one zone temporarily closes for nesting golden eagles.

If you want to help out (free beer and camping!), bring a helmet and work gloves and any tools that seem useful. The Bureau of Land Management will provide most of the tools needed. If you're going, give the Friends of Trout Creek a heads-up on their Facebook page.

Bikes for Kids

The Bicycle Re-Source of Bend is now operating out of its new location and has set an ambitious goal for this holiday season. Last year, the 501(c)(3), which connects "bikes with people who need wheels," donated 73 bikes to kids during December and gave away a total of 230 bikes in 2011. This season the Bicycle Re-Source is hoping to give away 100 bikes to needy youth, but they need your help.

Contribute money to the campaign through Re-Source's standing account at Hutch's Bicycles' eastside location (tax deductible!). If you're mechanically oriented, donate a few hours of wrench time. To schedule a time slot, call the Bicycle Re-Source of Bend at 541-382-6977. They're located at 2669 NE Twin Knolls Drive, Suite 203.

In Memorium: Lloyd Vordenberg

Bend's friendliest and most enthusiastic volunteer groomer, Lloyd Vordenberg, died of cancer-related complications on Nov. 18. He was 70. A smiling Vordenberg, often spotted astride his snowmobile, was a fixture at the Meissner ski trails and will be sorely missed.

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