Bend, Oregon is known, first and foremost, for the ski mountain 22 miles west: the iconic Mount Bachelor. But beyond the offer of world-class alpine skiing—some of the best in the west—Bend is an eclectic town that boasts design-forward home décor shops, a burgeoning food scene, and, further surprising no one, some truly excellent Oregonian coffee. With classic Pacific Northwest charm, you’ll find a sprawling luxury golf resort, and enough shopping, great food, breweries, and even non-skiing outdoor activities to keep the whole family happy in Bend. Here’s how you can plan a perfect #SkiTheWest vacation in Bend, Oregon:
Skiing in Bend, Oregon
Oregon has some of the most interesting and versatile ski terrain in the country, thanks in large part to its seemingly never-ending ski season. Their average snowfall is notable—Mount Bachelor sees 460 inches per year—and the ski season can go from November until the end of May. Because of Oregon’s towering mountains, it’s one of the few American destinations where you can hit the mountain, ski under blue skies, and then return to town, put on a t-shirt, and go golfing. Here’s what you need to know about Mount Bachelor and skiing the Cascade Mountains.
Mount Bachelor is, of course, the big draw for anyone planning a ski vacation to Bend, Oregon. The mountain is only 22 miles from the city of Bend (the drive should take about half an hour), which is a victory for skiers used to waking up at 6 a.m. to make the 90-minute trek to their chosen mountain. Here are the Mount Bachelor highlights to know: it’s a dormant volcano, formed more than 15,000 years ago, and today, offers 4,323 acres of skiable terrain across 101 runs.
Known as the sixth largest ski area in the country, Mount Bachelor is one of the most coveted western mountains, boasting 3,365 feet of vertical drop potential—some of the double black diamonds have a 600-foot elevation gain across one run. Unsurprisingly given the terrain, Bachelor is a popular area for backcountry skiing for the off-trail enthusiasts, but the iconic mountain is also a notable Pacific Northwest cross-country skiing destination.
In terms of other skiing in the area, unlike heading to Tahoe, where you have the go-to mountains (like Heavenly Resort) as well as under-the-radar mountains, Mount Bachelor is a one-stop shop, similar to the vibe at Vermont’s iconic Killington Mountain. The terrain is so versatile and the mountain so spread out that it ultimately feels like three mountains in one.
Exploring the Food, Culture, and Shopping in Bend, Oregon
One of the biggest questions when planning a family ski vacation is, of course, are there activities for non-skiers? The beauty of Bend is that it’s a lively city; and while it certainly caters to the outdoors-loving crowd, that seeps into the culture in an eclectic and fun way. With Moab, Utah vibes—another city with a hip, hiker crowd moving in from the likes of Seattle and Burlington, Vermont—Bend follows Portland, Oregon’s lead with an emphasis on good food and good coffee. Here are a few spots to check out:
Nestled into a charming craftsman-style house, Ariana Restaurant is “known for utilizing the bounty of culinary products available in the northwest as well as local farmers and purveyors in central Oregon.” Chefs Andres and Ariana Fernandez draw inspiration from their surroundings when creating innovative dishes, from carpaccios and crudos to start to their hearty duck or lamb entrees or sumptuous homemade pastas.
In a revamped, historic blacksmith shop now lives a polished, Oregonian steakhouse: The Blacksmith. Come for the promise of “bold flavor” and their New York strip, bone-in rib-eye, or filet mignon topped with local bleu cheese, stay for chic exposed brick and potent craft cocktails.
Coffee is, of course, a crucial part of Oregonian culture, and no one bangs the coffee drum in Bend quite like Thump Coffee. Known for their strong relationships with sustainable coffee bean purveyors from Colombia to Ethiopia, Thump has three locations, but it’s best to start your coffee journey at their downtown flagship. For a second stop on your tour of Bend coffee, visit Strictly Organic, a shop serving only beans from local farms.
Signature and Championship Golf Courses at Pronghorn Resort
Did we mention you can ski at Mount Bachelor in the morning, and then come back to Bend for a round of golf in the afternoon? This, right here, is the glory of Oregon. Pronghorn Resort is home to the best golfing in Bend; choose from their Jack Nicklaus Signature Course—designed by Nicklaus himself with 18 holes spread across 7,379 yards—or the Tom Fazio Championship Course, where the “rolling fairways and sculpted greens are punctuated by ancient lava rocks.”
Lark Mountain Modern
For high-concept design and luxury furnishings, any shopping tour of Bend must start at Lark Mountain Modern. “A celebration of nature and mountain living,” the Lark store is a mountain sanctuary of luxury home goods. From kitchenware, home fragrances, and one-of-a-kind accent pieces, to locally made furniture and art, design lovers will have a hard time tearing themselves away from this store.
Where to Stay
For a luxurious stay in Bend, Oregon, surrounded by natural beauty with every amenity at your fingertips, stay at the idyllic Pronghorn Resort. Sitting on 640 acres within the world’s second largest juniper forest, the resort has a spa, two golf courses, daily shuttle service to Mount Bachelor, and exquisite après-ski offerings. Book the sprawling Penthouse Suite within Pronghorn’s Huntington Lodge, which features a private terrace, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen—all with exceptional views of the Oregonian wilderness. Pronghorn also has residences and villas if that’s more your speed; the villas each feature fire pits and mountain views, and the residences are luxe golf course townhomes, with all the upkeep taken care of by the resort.