Cross-Country Skiing, in Town | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Cross-Country Skiing, in Town

Grooming of a Nordic track at Skyline Sports Complex allows skiers to enjoy the snow under lights til 9pm every day

A 1-kilometer loop groomed for skiing is now packed at Skyline Sports Complex in Bend, seated next to Cascade Middle School. The most recent grooming took place on Friday, Dec. 16. The park lights should be on until 9pm most evenings, allowing for night skiing.

"It is a skate pad only as the snow isn't quite deep enough to safely put in a classic track. Everything is flat terrain so perfect for all abilities," said John Downing, Coach and Director XC Oregon. "Skiing is overall quite good." That doesn't mean classic skiers can't enjoy it, though—just that there's no groomed track for classic Nordic skiers to glide along on.

Cross-Country Skiing, in Town
Photo courtesy of Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center Facebook
Cross-country skier enjoys the freshly groomed trails at Skyline Sports Complex.

The in-town grooming is a collaborative effort with essential contributions from XC Oregon, Mount Bachelor Sports Eeducation Foundation and Bend Park & Recreation District and gear donated by Meissner Nordic. The group plans to open more places to ski in town.

"This season the grooming is in a "proof of concept" phase where public support can be built to upgrade equipment and get backing to groom several in-town locations whenever we have at least 8-10" of snow forecast to last a week or more," said Downing.

The groomed area is flat and users are asked to do their part to maintain the groomed surfaces by not walking or bringing dogs through the area.

"We need everyone's cooperation to help keep this in-town skiing opportunity for as long as possible," said Matt Mercer, BPRD recreation services director in a press release. "If able to be maintained, the opportunity could last for several weeks regardless of additional snowfall."

Grooming status updates are available on BPRD's Winter in Parks webpage.

Guidelines for groomed cross-country ski trail use:

  • Keep dogs and foot/snowshoe/bike traffic off groomed ski trails.
  • Use at own risk.
  • Ski under control and be respectful of others.
  • Step off trail when taking a break and announce when passing as courtesy.
  • Lights will be on until 9 pm. The park closes at 10 pm.
  • Trails are open to all skiers unless there is a scheduled event.

Park users are asked for patience during big storms and adverse weather. Grooming is contingent on snow conditions and volunteer resources.

BPRD's Winter in Parks web page also includes information about snow removal prioritization, non-groomed ski and snowshoe opportunities, and suggested hiking, biking and walking paths. Learn more at: bendparksandrec.org/winter/.

New to cross-country skiing? Here are some local favorites.

Tumalo Falls
Located west of Bend, Tumalo Falls is one of the most popular and easily accessed trials. To access this trail, park at Skyliner sno-park before the creek crossing. An excellent course for a quick outing or beginners.

Virginia Meissner
Meissner Sno-park is located just 13 miles outside Bend on the Cascade Lakes Highway. Routes vary from short to long, with Nordic shelters throughout the park. These trails are busier because they are closer to town, but they are well-maintained and groomed.

Wanoga
Right up the road from Meissner is Wanoga Sno-park, a local fan favorite. Wanoga is a place to take your dogs to run around, and there are hills for sledding to keep the kids occupied. With both groomed and ungroomed trails and short and flat tracks, it's the perfect place for newbies.

Swampy Lakes
Just a couple of miles past Meissner Sno-park is Swampy Lakes, a more secluded but popular ski area. Swampy Lakes also offers a variety of trails from beginner to expert and connects to various trial systems.

Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center
For those looking for a place to rent gear, learn from instructors, and have endless groomed trails, Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center is the spot. The Nordic lodge is located on the North side of the West Village Parking lot.

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