Winter Wonderland

If you’re looking for a winter adventure, Diamond Lake Resort offers a variety of activities for snow enthusiasts.

Story by Jim Hays, Photos by Tom Boyd

 

All ages, all abilities. 

That’s the short answer to the question, Who can find something fun to do at Diamond Lake Resort this winter?

Situated 80 miles east of Roseburg via Oregon Highway 138, the resort is well-known for its trout angling, the natural beauty of its location and its close proximity to Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. 

Each summer, swimming, hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding and camping opportunities abound at the 3,040-acre lake tucked between 9,182-foot Mount Thielsen and 8,363-foot Mount Bailey. 

But the fun doesn’t stop when the snowflakes start falling. From deep-powder skiers to snowmobilers to families seeking somewhere for the kids to slide downhill, nearly everyone can find a winter adventure to remember.

Most winter activities depend on snowfall, of course, which can be hard to predict. On the following pages is  a preview of what is planned at Diamond Lake Resort. 

Phone 541-793-3333 or go online to diamondlake.net to learn rates, availabilities and hours of operation, or to make reservations.

 
 Tubers can catch a ride up the hill on Diamond Lake Resort's 470-foot conveyor.

Tubers can catch a ride up the hill on Diamond Lake Resort's 470-foot conveyor.

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Downhill Skiing

Diamond Lake isn’t a downhill ski resort in the traditional sense. You won’t find chair lifts or crowded hills or beginners’ slopes. 

But the true-blue powder hound can ski Mount Bailey and its 6,000 acres of faces, bowls, cliffs, chutes and glades. Bailey’s sno-cat can take experienced skiers into otherwise inaccessible backcountry for as many as six long runs a day in some of the lightest, driest powder around. 

The mountain typically gets around 600 inches of snow (50 feet, if you prefer) during the course of the winter. Cat Ski Mount Bailey is billed as the nation’s longest-running backcountry ski operation. But space aboard the cat is limited to a daily dozen intrepid skiers, so book early to ensure an unforgettable day making fresh tracks in deep powder.

 

Cross Country Skiing

If you prefer skiing trails, Diamond Lake offers seven miles of groomed paths and an additional 35 miles of backcountry pathways — suitable to all skill levels, from leisurely to vigorous. Trails are amply marked, so it’s easy to follow the one that’s right for you. Bring your own equipment or rent skis, boots and poles at the lake’s North Shore.

 

Snowshoeing

It might sound a bit complicated for the first-timer, but snowshoeing is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other and is an excellent way to take in some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in a more relaxed winter setting. A great family activity, too, and Diamond Lake offers snowshoe rentals in all sizes, including kids. Reservations are encouraged.

 

Snowmobiling

Diamond Lake boasts an estimated 300 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiles, the resort’s most popular winter activity. It offers the only authorized snowmobile access to Crater Lake National Park. If you don’t own a snowmobile, you can rent one at the resort — helmet included — and instruction on safe operation is available for inexperienced riders. 

Rentals, however, are limited to those age 21 or older with ID and a valid driver’s license or snowmobile operator’s permit. Operators must be at least 16, and anyone under 21 must have a parent sign the rental agreement. Ask about the resort’s special midweek packages, which can be customized to accommodate guests’ activities. 

Reservations are encouraged.

 

Tubing

The resort’s tubing operation was upgraded last year to include a 470-foot conveyor to go up the hill and seven lanes to come back down on newer, faster inner tubes. This is an all-ages family activity that includes night tubing on most Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, discounted group rates are available for midweek visits.

 

Senior Activities

Diamond Lake Resort sponsors an annual cross-country ski and snowshoe program for seniors, beginning Monday, Feb. 5. The weeklong program features package rates that include lodging, food, tours, instruction and other activities and offers seniors a chance to improve their skills or learn new ones.

 

Fishing

When the weather turns frigid and the lake surface freezes over, anglers can still ice fish for some of Diamond Lake’s ample trout population. Because it has no native fish population, the lake is stocked with trout by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Diamond Lake’s fishing reputation was damaged a decade ago by an infestation of tui chub, a live-bait fish illegally introduced that significantly altered the lake’s underwater habitat. To clear out the chub and restore habitat, state officials were compelled to use a rotenone treatment plan. The lake’s fishery is still monitored by ODFW, but has long-since fully recovered and is home to an estimated 400,000 trout. 

 

Social  Events

Holiday parties: The resort hosts its annual Christmas and New Year’s buffets on those holidays. It also hosts an annual New Year’s Eve party in its spacious banquet room.

Sweetheart Dinner: For Valentine’s Day, the resort offers a couples dinner. Reservations are encouraged.

 

Other Events

Mount Bailey 3000: More rally than race, this Feb. 17 event is a “poker run,” in which competitors must stop at stations along the course, take part in an activity and draw a playing card. At the end of the event, the competitor with the best poker hand of their five playing cards will win a special prize. A prize purse of $3,000 will also be distributed among the competitors. Medford-based Rogue Snowmobilers host the Mount Bailey 3000 with the help of the Cascade Connection Snowmobile Club of Roseburg.

Snow Bike Races: Snow bikes are a hybrid of motorcycle and snowmobile. The Championship Snow Bike Series, a national tour that is part of the American Motorcycle Association, makes its annual stop at Diamond Lake Resort March 23-25. On a motocross-style course, men and women riders compete simultaneously. The racing is open to the public, too, both for spectators and participants. For instructions on how to enter, go to www.snowbikeseries.com and click on “Registration.”