It's been a fickle winter, but Diamond Lake Resort is still offering a range of activities, including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry sno-cat skiing and, an activity introduced last winter, tubing.
Tubing is possible on slopes accessed by a 470-foot-long tubing conveyor belt. Because of its length and multiple lanes, the belt can carry more than 1,000 inner-tubers an hour to the top of the lift, which resort officials say has virtually eliminated lines.
Because of rain and higher than normal temperatures, tubing and other activities have been on an off-and-on basis. "It's going to be week to week, but I know we're going to be open this weekend," John Jonesburg, Diamond Lake's operations manager, said Thursday.
While snowmobiling is the resort's biggest winter draw, Jonesburg said tubing has proven wildly popular since the conveyor belt was introduced last winter.
"Very popular," he said. "We're getting people from all over. We draw from Eugene, Bend, Klamath Falls, Medford, Roseburg, Coos Bay."
The tubing hill was closed earlier this winter because of a lack of snow, and Jonesburg emphasizes people planning visits should call the resort at 541-793-3333, option 1, because, "We'd hate to have people making the drive up here and being disappointed."
"While you're here, grab an inner tube — we've got lots of them — and join in the fun," urges resort president Steve Koch. "Take a ride up the new conveyor belt and experience this childhood job as you fly to the bottom of the hill. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and warm up when you're finished."
Regular tubing hours on the slide hill, the resort's No. 1 winter family activity, are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays with unlimited uphill rides. The cost is $25 for three hours, $35 for all-day or $100 for a family of four. Youth ages 3 to 5 slide free with a paying adult.
"Interstellar" night tubing, so named because it includes music and laser lights, is offered from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays. The cost for the Friday sessions, which also includes a bonfire, s'mores and hot cocoa, is $30.
A special Valentine's Night Tubing for adults is planned 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14.
Tubing will be offered through April 1, snow permitting. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more and can be made by calling 541-793-3333, option 4. Tubers must be 3 or older.
Resort visitors are also urged to bring or rent snowshoes, cross-country skis and snowmobiles to explore the region's 350 miles of groomed trails. Rental items are available at the resort's rental shop. Jonesburg said there is enough snow for cross-country skiing on the groomed trails, adding optimistically, "If conditions are right, February and March can be really good for skiing."
Jonesburg said the resort will again host the annual Seniors Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Week that runs Monday through Thursday. Activities include lessons and activities, snowmobiles, guided snowmobile tours and half-price rental for cross-country skis and snowshoes. "It's a good event," he said, noting it combines lessons with social time. "We get people who come back year after year."
The resort has 38 two-bedroom cabins, one four-bedroom family cabin, one seven-bedroom lakefront cabin, 38 motel rooms, 10 housekeeping studios and a Jacuzzi suite. Nightly lodging rates range from $74 to $104 for motel units and start at $214 for cabins.
Backcountry sno-cat skiing is offered for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders. Groups of five to 12 people age 16 and older leave the resort by 8 a.m. and try for six runs, depending on snow condition. Skiers and riders must provide their own gear.
For more information, call 541-793-3333 or see www.diamondlake.net.
— Reach freelance reporter Lee Juillerat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-880-4139.