Take it to the Slopes: Where to Ski Near Bend, Oregon

By Max Bendis  


On our team at Ablis CBD, we have people who are bikers, hikers, joggers, climbers, and skiers, to name a few. We’re athletes, and we love exploring the outdoors. That’s why I’m happy to share my favorite places to ski near Bend, OR, my hometown and where Ablis CBD is based. We love it here for a lot of reasons

If you’re ever in our area and want to plan a day on the slopes, here’s where we’d suggest going near Bend, OR. Hope you have fun!

1. Mount Bachelor

This is closest to Bend, and probably one of the most well-known places to ski. It’s about a 30-minute drive West of Bend and has epic routes (check out this video, and you’ll see what I mean). When you get there, make your way up to the summit and get ready for adventure. 

There’s 4,300 acres of terrain here, and you can access all 360 degrees of the mountain from your starting point at the top. As the sixth largest ski resort in America, Mt. Bachelor has a lot to explore! Their trail map covers a lot of great ground, including the Woodward Mountain Park, a great place to go if you want to test your skills. 

Don’t miss their excellent events, resort activities (like sled dog rides…no, we’re not joking!), and great places to dine in-between your time on the slopes. You can purchase tickets online to save time (and money), and if you have a beginner skier in your crew, be sure to book a lesson in advance at the Gravity School. No skis? No worries—Mt. Bachelor has rental equipment that you can also reserve easily online. 

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Mt. Bachelor’s website

2. Hoodoo Ski Area

Visitors and locals have been heading to Hoodoo for ski days for a long time: since 1934, to be exact. Things really became official in 1946, when they asked for a ski tow. Hoodoo now has one of “the largest tubing parks in the West” and is a must for anyone who wants to experience skiing (day or night) in Central Oregon.

Although it’s an hour southwest of Bend (located in Sisters, OR), the 800 acres of exciting terrain you’ll find here is definitely worth the drive. For a full look at what you’ll experience, check out their trail map. They also offer classes at the Ski & Ride School (with skis, snowboarding, and snow bikes), where you can learn a new skill or two during your visit. 

If you want to experience something you can’t find anywhere else in Central Oregon, make plans to go night skiing at Hoodoo: they have 23 night runs with custom-built lights that make sure it’s smooth skiing down the mountain, under the stars. Keep reading about why I like skiing at Hoodoo here

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Hoodoo’s website

3. Willamette Pass Resort

For a tried-and-true local experience, hit up the slopes at Willamette Pass. This (now) resort was originally founded in 1941 with “a handful of tow ropes” by Roy and Edra Temple. It passed through several hands over the years before the Wiper family began taking care of it in 1982. 

This ski area may be the furthest from Bend (about an hour drive southwest, in Crescent Lake), but again, it’s undoubtedly worth the drive—especially if you’re wanting to get a great skiing experience for less cost. From the trails to the views, Willamette Pass gives the larger ski areas a good run for their money. They also offer skiing and snowboarding lessons, as well as rental gear if you need it. 

See it on SkiMaps

See it on Google Maps

Check out Willamette Pass’s website

First Time Skiing? Ablis CBD Has Some Tips. 

  1. Take it slow. — Don’t overexert yourself, especially during your first ski outing. Listen to your body so that you’re able to come back soon and have more fun on the slopes. 
  2. Look before you leap. — They say this in most beginner ski classes because it’s one of the most important tips: look to see where you’re going to land before taking the jump. 
  3. Make post-ski plans to unwind. — In the same way you don’t want to overdo it while you’re skiing, you want to make sure you wind down after you step off your skis. We have a few tips here


About Us

Why Ablis Loves Living in Bend, Oregon

By Ablis CBD 

Jim Bendis and Max Bendis founded Ablis CBD in the city of Bend, OR: home to outdoor-loving, creative people like them. Jim settled down in Bend after graduating from University of Oregon in 1983. He says that this town is “an outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana”. His son, Max (who was born and raised here), agrees that Bend is “the hub of adventure culture in Oregon.” 

The Ablis CBD founders have a point—The city of Bend neighbors Deschutes National Forest, Willamette National Forest, and Mt. Hood National Forest. Here, there’s plenty of outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and river rafting. 

An outdoor enthusiast’s nirvana…without a doubt. 

Ablis CEO Cody Cloyd is also a Bend native. He briefly moved away to go to college at the University of Oregon, but was “drawn back [to Bend] by the people he grew up with and the never-ending list of things to do here all year” after he graduated.

The great events are just one of the many reasons why Ablis CBD loves Bend, Oregon. Read on for more reasons why they’re happy to call this town home as they share a few of their favorite things to do in Bend.

Cody’s Can’t-Miss Events in Bend, OR 

  • Bite of Bend — Food, drinks, music. What more could you ask for?  
  • Zwicklemania — This annual brewery event is going virtual for 2021.
  • Beerfest — If you love craft beer, you can’t miss this! 
  • Munch and Music — A Bend summertime tradition with food trucks and live music. 
  • Winterfest — Holiday fun with art installations, ice carving, live music + more. 

What makes this city unique, in your opinion? 

Max: “It is the land of craft. It’s hard to say what causes this, maybe it’s in the water! But it’s the craft products—from beer, kombucha, cider, spirits, wine, cbd and other cannabis goodies, all the way to handmade snowboards and other neat outdoor things. We breed craft and creativity here. That is my favorite part about Bend!” 

Read More from Ablis — Beer Guide: The Best of Bend, OR Breweries 

Cody: “You don’t have to go out of town to experience outdoor activities. The Deschutes River runs through the center of town, there are killer rock formations to climb on in town, and some of the city parks are big enough and feel like you’re out in the woods, without even leaving town.” 

City Parks in Bend, OR

Jim: “It’s a real community made up of fun-loving outdoor enthusiasts.” 

What is your favorite outdoor activity in Bend?

Max: “Mountain biking! There are a lot of great places for mountain biking around here.” 

A Few of Max’s Favorite Places to Bike in Bend (*During MTB Season)

Cody: “There’s too many to pick just one! Right now, it’s skiing and snowboarding since that’s what’s available during this season. I’m actually quite the beginner on the slopes. I only started last year! I’m still working on my bucket list of places to check out, but I have been frequenting Hoodoo and am loving it!” 

Jim: “I love running along the river and through the woods.”

If you had a friend visiting from out of town for a weekend, where would you take them? 

Max:I would try to hit as many of my local favorite outdoor spots, adventures, and—of course—restaurants and breweries! A few of my go-to’s would be The Bite, Los Jalapenos, Crux Fermentation Project, and The Podski (a local food truck park). It would be hard to sample all of Bend in just a weekend…but we could try!” 

Cody:Silver Moon Brewing for lunch and beers, and then Smith Rock for hiking or climbing if it is not too cold/snowy. If it’s dumping snow, then we check out Mt. Bachelor for some tubing, skiing, or snowboarding.”

Jim: “Mountains during the day. Downtown Bend at night.” 

Plain and simple, why do you love living in Bend, Oregon?

Max: “This is a tough one because there are so many reasons! A huge reason is being with my friends and family. A lot of us have grown up together here and have had so many good times in Bend. The outdoor activities and the delicious beer and food are a plus as well! 😉” 

Cody: “Bend has everything I need: awesome people, killer food, great views, and never a lack of active things to do.”

Jim: “It’s the lifestyle.” 

There’s no doubt about it: There’s no place like home. Want to learn more about the minds behind Ablis CBD? Meet the team. 


Why We Love Skiing Hoodoo: A Day on the Slopes with Ablis CBD

By Max Bendis

There are few things more relaxing than a weekend in the snow, exploring new trails and enjoying the adventure. Hoodoo Ski Area in Sisters, OR, never fails to disappoint if you need a fun skiing getaway near Bend. It’s an hour northwest of town, near Mount Washington.

Let me tell you: Hoodoo is worth the drive. The ski area has incredible views, terrain that’s great for experienced skiers (or for newbies!), short lines, and friendly people on the slopes. If you’re just starting out, you can even take a lesson at their Ski & Ride School

No matter what you’re looking for, I’m pretty sure Hoodoo has it. Here are a few reasons why I love skiing here (and why you’ll probably get a kick out of it, too). 

Skiing at the Hoodoo Ski Area Has…

Ski Bikes. This is one of the only places I know that allows you to ride ski bikes (yes, you can bring it on the chair lift with you) and even offers ski bike rentals and lessons for those who want to try something new. If you’re curious what a “Ski Bike” looks like, it’s basically a mountain bike with skis on it…and it’s really, really fun. 

Cool Lodging. If you’re spending a weekend on the slopes, there are plenty of places you can stay nearby. You can book a night at several different resorts or lodges (I enjoy the Suttle Lodge and Boathouse, about 10 minutes away from Hoodoo), snag a space at the RV Park, or unwind at Black Butte Ranch

Sweet Drinks. Hoodoo has Ablis on draft and in cans, and offers Crater Lake’s Ablis cocktail. After a day on the slopes, you can stop by the restaurant and dining area to unwind with one of Ablis’ craft beverages. Keep an eye out for the arcade on the second floor—That’s great for blowing off some steam, too. 

Challenging Slopes. Hoodoo has more than 800 acres of terrain, 34 runs, five lifts, and one of the largest tubing parks in the West (although it’s temporarily closed; check their website for updates). Nordic Ski along the Skyline Trail or Hayrick Glide, or if you’re newer to the trails, test out the Schuss Chute. I always enjoy riding up the Ed Chair—the views are insane—and trying my hand (feet?) at the Grandstand slope. 

Night Skiing. During winter seasons, you can experience the slopes after the sun sets. For 23 nights, you can zip down the mountain guided by special custom-built lights that provide optimal skiing conditions (even under the stars). 

Beautiful Views. One thing that’s a constant throughout the year is the phenomenal views you can catch at Hoodoo. From the top of the mountain, you can get an epic 360-degree view that’ll stick with you for months to come (especially if it’s a clear day). 

Max’s Suggested Gear 

When you’re planning for a day on the slopes, you’ll want to come prepared. Under the current circumstances, I’d suggest making sure you bring a mask that you’ll be comfortable wearing in public areas at Hoodoo (you can read all of their current COVID-19 precautions here). You can rent skis, boards, boots and even ski bikes in-house! Oh, and don’t forget to bring some Ablis muscle rub

Different things ache after spending several hours skiing—for me, it’s my knees. My knees get pretty blown up when I’m out on the slopes. I have several other ideas on how to unwind after a day on the slopes, if you’re interested. You can check it out here

Enjoy skiing at Hoodoo!



The Ultimate Bend, Oregon Restaurant Guide: Classics, New Eateries, and Food Carts

By Max Bendis

There are so many incredible, locally-owned restaurants and food carts in Bend, it can be overwhelming to make a decision about lunch. 

Born and raised in Bend, I have definitely accumulated a list of go-to spots and menu items over time. It hasn’t been easy for restaurants and bars this year, so anytime you can eat local, you should!

So, I have rounded up my all-time favorite classics as well as some new spots to check out and the local food trucks that you don’t want to miss. 

Best of Restaurants

Best Breakfast 

Birdie’s Cafe 

Birdie’s diner-style menu is the American breakfast classic we all know and love. Open Wednesday through Sunday, breakfast, and lunch are served every day. They offer delivery and take-out, so you can enjoy your pancakes from the comfort of your own home. 

Best Brewery

Bend Brewing Company 

Whether you live in Bend or are just visiting, you’ll probably end up at Bend Brewery during your time here. One of the first breweries in the area, they’ve been serving award-winning beers since 1995 and have become a staple in Bend. They are a big part of the tradition of craft beers in the region. Their pub in Downtown Bend serves pub fare with a twist and has a great outdoor area that is family-friendly. Order online and get your craft beer fix with some Cajun tots to go with it! 

Best Burrito 

Los Jalapeños

This place has been around since 1994. I must admit, I frequent this spot about three times a week on average. Their Ranchero Burrito is killer. Steak, fresh jalapenos, grilled onions, mushrooms, salsa ranchera, rice, beans, cheese, and fresh avocado make this a hands-down favorite local food item for me. They have a huge menu of specialty burritos and I can tell you that they are all delicious. Order some take-out or go have a margarita on their patio! 

Related: Top 10 Things To Do in Bend, Oregon

Best Cocktails & Appetizers 

Dogwood Cocktail Cabin

One look at their website, and you’ll see why this one made the list. Their craft cocktail and small plates menu can’t be beat. This place has a cozy, loungey vibe that feels like being in an old ski chalet. They feature a DJ several nights a week but are currently serving their cocktails to-go. That’s right, you read that correctly. Booze to-go! Grab some food while you’re at it because their cocktails can be deceivingly potent.

Best Dive Bar 

Cascade West Grubhouse & Ale 

As soon as it’s safe for us all to be in the same room and have a drink, I’m heading to Cascade West. This little favorite has become the watering hole for Bend locals. They don’t have a website because what self-respecting dive bar would? They have been serving drinks on their heated patio the past few weeks, and have started serving breakfast and lunch as well.

Best Hotel Bar & Restaurant / Best Burger 

The Row 

Tucked in the Tetherow Hotel has a pub-style restaurant that is a little more of an upscale experience. We like to keep things casual in Bend, but The Row keeps it casual overlooking a golf course in a luxury hotel. Not too shabby, right? The views are worth the visit, but the burger will keep you coming back. This spot has been awarded two Bests on our list because of the Truffle Marrow Burger. I’m pretty sure this burger has a lot of awards already, so it’s not just me. It’s objectively the bomb.

Best Pho

Pho Viet & Cafe 

There is nothing quite like warming up with a bowl of pho in the wintertime. Pho Viet & Cafe is the first Vietnamese restaurant in the Bend area to offer the delicious traditional soup that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Open every day except Thursday, this will surely become one of your regular favorites around town. 

Best Pizza

Pizza Mondo

Since 1996 Pizza Mondo has been serving up some of Bend’s favorite pies. After a little break due to the pandemic, they have fired up their ovens and are back at it. They’re currently offering a limited take-out and delivery schedule to accommodate the safety precautions necessary. Give them a call or order online for yours!

Best Lunch Sandwich

Valentine’s Deli

The Albuquerque is not to be missed in my humble opinion. This sandwich is one I find myself going back to probably weekly. It’s a classic combo of turkey, avocado, and bacon with arugula, onion, and chipotle mayo on a sourdough bun. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Valentine’s is offering curbside pickup and take out options right now, so check out their full menu online and give them a call. You won’t be sorry!

Best Dinner Sandwich

Brother Jon’s Public House

This might be the location of my all-time favorite sandwich. Brother Jon’s Peppersteak Sandwich is so tasty, I find myself actually craving it. If you’re into classic pub fare, this place won’t disappoint. Their menu features everything from a Cuban to a Portobello burger. They keep it simple and they do it well. Their bar carries a lot of local beers and they always have a game on. Give the Peppersteak sandwich a try and let me know how much I have changed your life. 

Best Sushi 

Bend Izakaya Ronin

Not only does this place serve amazing sushi, but it’s also just a really unique dining experience. Modeled after cozy Japanese cafes where friends can gather and eat, Ronin’s atmosphere is as much a part of the meal as the food. Everything is served to be shared and you’re encouraged to order lots of their smaller plates to try as much of this chef’s killer menu as possible. Bring your friends here for a truly memorable night out. At the moment, they are offering a to-go menu for pick up that includes bento boxes, ramen, and Poke bowls! 

Best of Food Carts

Bend has some incredible brick and mortar food establishments, but that’s not the only way to get a memorable bite in town. And frankly, right now, it may be the safest option. Bend is home to tons of unique food trucks that are absolutely worth tracking down.

Best Fancy Pasta

Sunny’s Carrello at River’s Place

For a food cart, Sonny’s food feels like it’s coming out of a five-star Italian kitchen. Any time I’m craving pasta, this is my stop. Everything on the menu is excellent, but be sure to indulge in one of their pasta dishes. You’ll be back! Open Friday through Tuesday, you can get your fill from 11-8 pm. 

Best Grilled Cheese

Heidi’s Grilled Cheesery at The Bite Tumalo 

Do I really need to convince you to give a gourmet grilled cheese truck a try? Simply put, this cart is comfort on wheels. These aren’t your run of the mill grilled cheeses. Heidi’s has so much more to offer than just another take on your average grilled cheese, while still staying true enough to the classic to give us all the warm fuzzies. Of course, they serve tomato soup as well!

Best Thai

Thailandia at The Podski Food Cart Lot

Last but certainly not least is Thailandia. Born and raised in Northeastern Thailand, the Chef has been serving up traditional Thai in the streets of Bangkok for years. We are so lucky that she now calls Bend home and has brought her incredible authentic flavors to Bend. Using seasonal ingredients, the chef plays with flavors and gets creative with her menu regularly. There’s always something new to try at Thailandia. You can now order their food through UberEats!

Best Vegan

A Broken Angel at Spoken Moto 

This is a pretty unique vegan cart, don’t be fooled. It’s vegan, it’s French, it’s Southern… You’ll just have to try it for yourself. 

This year has been tough on local businesses, and everyone in Bend wants to see them succeed. The best way to do that is to continue to put our dollar back into the community. If this list didn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will. Bend has some incredible food and I’m happy to be able to showcase it this week and hopefully inspire you to order some take-out! 

Go ahead. Treat yourself! 

Read more: Rafting the Grand Canyon: An Epic, Month-long Adventure



The Last Blockbuster On Earth Lives in Bend

by Jim Bendis

I think it is such a special thing for Bend, Oregon to have the last surviving Blockbuster.

In the late ’80s, video stores started opening like Starbucks do today, with practically one on every corner. It was a major cultural shift.

Then, in the 2000s, with the birth of new rental options like Redbox and Netflix, those stores all closed their doors what seemed like overnight. However, one lone Blockbuster franchise has survived, and I’ve been friends with the owner, Ken Tisher, for 30-some years.

I used to do his marketing and advertising way back when he had a different video store called Pacific Video.

In 2000, he and his family bought their Blockbuster franchise store. The other video store went the way of the norm and closed, but the Blockbuster has held on.

After the corporate Blockbuster sold in 2010, franchises started closing their doors until the last few finally called it quits in 2019, just leaving Ken’s today.

It may have seemed like an odd choice at first, but Ken clearly had a vision, and he held out long enough to be the last store standing.

Surviving Streaming

The funny thing is we would go to lunch all the time, back before streaming, and we were starting to see the technology evolve, and we’d say,

“Ken, someday they’re going to figure out how to do this all from the telephone, without leaving the house. What are you going to do then?”

One of the writings on the wall moments was when Redbox started popping up absolutely everywhere.

Now you could just go to your grocery store and grab a movie with your popcorn on your way home. It completely negated the need to go rent a movie at a video store.

But, streaming services are obviously what put the nail in the coffin.

The last Blockbuster has survived by changing up their marketing. Renting movies isn’t their biggest draw anymore, so now they’re selling nostalgia; a simpler time.

They sell merch with the classic Blockbuster logo, and the store is ultimately untouched, down to the cash registers. It’s a novelty on its own now, existing as a time capsule back when going to the video store was an event.

For a short window in September, they even offered overnight AirBnB stays inside the store, complete with a pull-out sofa and VHS player. A total nineties experience.

Ken said the three local couples that participated had a great experience!

Not to mention, there’s a pizza place right next door, so I can imagine that has been a symbiotic relationship over the years, keeping that movie night experience alive and well.

You can even get Ablis products there to really top off your movie night!

I always knew Ken to be extremely intelligent, and to see now that he’s the only one who survived just shows his resilience and wherewithal to hang in there and create something truly unique.

He ended up making a monument to the video-store era. 

Figuring out a way to stay with the times even though you’re doing something so old school is pretty innovative.

Ken attributes his success to the people he surrounds himself with.

When asked what is the secret to the longevity of this store, Ken simply stated,

“Everything you do in life is by and through people. I have been very lucky to have the best employees and GMs I could have ever hoped for.”

The employees at this store all stick around for years and have created an atmosphere of family.

From Not Cool to Vintage

It’s like some cars; when it’s 10 years old, it’s just an old car that’s falling apart, but after 20-30 years — it’s a classic.

That’s how long it takes for people to realize it’s cool again. Then, it’s vintage and it gets a whole new life, with a new appreciation.

Ken’s store has survived the not-so-cool years and now it’s a unicorn.

Ever heard of the Ford Pinto? Here was the dumbest, cheapest car ever made, but if you had the only one left right now, it would have a total cult following.

We’re pretty lucky to have this last Blockbuster in Bend. And others clearly agree because there is even a documentary about the store that released this year.

The documentary was made by two locals and focuses a lot on the GM, Sandy Harding, who Ken refers to as the “Blockbuster mother.”

Related: What We’ve Learned From COVID-19 – Ablis CBD

Only in Bend

Bend has such a culture of uniqueness that of course, the last Blockbuster is in Bend, Oregon.

Ken agrees that this is not something that could probably survive anywhere else!

We had the first distillery in Bend, the first craft distillery making gin and vodka in the whole country was in Bend. The first CBD beverages in the whole world came out of Bend.

Craft brewing has a huge presence in Bend. Humm Kombucha came out of Bend, as well as Deschutes Brewery.

All of these very unique items have come out of this little community!

The average person has a hard time making a living in a cool, small town. Most of the jobs are in the service industry and the ski industry. So, people have to get creative so they can make it in a small town.

The average Joe has to go to a big city where there’s a lot of people, and based on numbers alone, they’re going to have more luck.

The innovators? They go to places like Bend.

The Community and Blockbuster

Ken says that the community has been “incredibly supportive over the years,” and that’s visibly noticeable.

It really has become a destination in Bend. You’ll see people taking pictures outside the store all the time.

The store carries lots of local products, so the support goes both ways.

Bend loves this Blockbuster, and I think the community will try to keep it around as long as possible.

Stop in for a blast from the past the next time you’re in town. You’ll be so glad you did!

Keep Reading: My CBD Journey