Last February, with record snowfall across Central Oregon, Bend resident Mark Campbell skied as much as possible with no plans to dust off his bicycle until all the snow melted on the trails.
A year later — with no snow and record-high temperatures being recorded — Campbell has already taken multiple bike rides on the Brooks Scanlon Logging Road up to Sisters with views he describes as, “spectacular.”
“This should all be packed with snow until spring,” Campbell said Wednesday, as the temperature at the Redmond Airport headed for a record 69 degrees. “It’s kind of nice it’s ridable now.”
Central Oregon is in the midst of one its warmest winters.
That’s a stark contrast to conditions last year, when there was so much snow that homeowners ran out of places to shovel it and icicles as tall as people hung from eaves. Already this winter, it’s been 70 degrees and three days this year have been the hottest on record for a winter.
Campbell, the store manager at Pine Mountain Sports in Bend, said the spring-like weather has attracted a lot more people to the store. On Saturday, the store rented out every bicycle it had available — about 25.
Bicyclists can choose roads and trails in almost every direction around Bend, expect for Phil’s Trail, which is still too wet and muddy, Campbell said. Of all the options, Campbell’s favorite is the route on the old logging road up to Sisters.
“The views are awe inspiring and the gravel is perfect,” Campbell said. “There’s not a lot of people out there. It’s not on the beaten path.”
With temperatures in the mid-50s and 60s this past week, about 20 degrees higher than average, spring-time activities are cropping up all across Central Oregon.
At the Old Mill sand volleyball courts Wednesday afternoon, Mike Studebaker reveled in the sunshine, sans shirt, as he played with friends.
“I had a classic Bend day,” he said. “I skied until 1, then I came here.”
The Sunriver Resort golf course opened last weekend instead of April, when it usually opens.
“It’s way earlier than normal, and the green conditions are really good,” said Molly Johnson, director of marketing communications at the resort.
Over the past two winters, the resort’s golf course was covered in snow and used for cross-country skiing. But there has not been an opportunity for that this year, Johnson said.
“It’s very grassy for cross-country skiing,” she joked.
Temperatures have been well above normal, and three days in the past month had record-high temperatures in Central Oregon, according to the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.
On Jan. 13, the Redmond Airport, which monitors temperatures for the National Weather Service, recorded a high of 60 degrees. That broke the previous record of 58 degrees Jan. 13, 2009.
On Jan. 29, the airport reached 70 degrees, which broke the old record of 65 degrees on that day in 1971.
On Feb. 1, the high temperature at the airport tied the record high of 65 degrees, which was set on that day in 1976.
On Feb. 7, temperatures reached 69 degrees at the airport, breaking the previous record that day of 63 degrees set in 2016.
Residents across Central Oregon don’t need to check weather data to know it has been an unseasonably warm season, said meteorologist Alan Polan.
“People tend to notice that it’s not as cold as it should be,” Polan said. “More short-sleeve-shirt weather than sweater weather.”
The difference between the historic snowfall last winter in Central Oregon and the small traces of snow this year have been extreme, Polan said. And he sees no comparison.
“It was much colder and a lot more snow,” he said. “There’s just no similarity at all.”
Bulletin photographer Joe Kline contributed to this report.
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