FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – After an up-and-down year at China’s peak because of excessive snow on the ground, the popular Fresno County ski resort is looking for a strong rebound this year.
They’ve already started making snow, and hope that will expedite the return of masses of skiers to the mountain.
“It’s definitely magic. So, we’ve got a pipe that runs all over the mountain. We fill one with air, one with water, pressurize them. We’ve got hydrants all over the place, we connect hoses to them, and then we’ve got a variety of guns to get a different quality of snow,” said China Peak’s Director of Operations Troy Cohee.
Cohee says with the weather getting colder and colder, conditions are getting better and better to make snow.
He says he can operate the resort even without Mother Nature’s help.
“I don’t need any natural snow. I can open this whole place on manmade snow if I have to. I just need cold temperatures. So uh, it’s just a little more work that way,” said Cohee.
However, with recent rain and weather above the teens, which is ideal for snowmaking, China Peak said their anticipated opening before Thanksgiving is most likely off the table.
Now, they’re aiming for the Thanksgiving weekend.
This year, the China Peak team is really hoping for a middle ground altogether.
They want enough snow to boost skiing operations, but last season they got way too much of a good thing.
“It’s been a slow start. So, probably a couple of weeks ago everybody was like, you know, ‘not looking forward to another 60-foot year’. But now at this point, everybody that works here, I’m sure everybody down in the valley is itching to get up here,” said Cohee.
The snow and excess moisture last winter led to closures on 168, power outages, and worst of all, it kept many skiers and tourists on the valley floor time and time again.
Shaver Lake, on the way to China Peak, also saw impacts on business, after constant snowfall made it tough to make ends meet.
Skiers on their way to China Peak make up a good chunk of their winter business.
Now, they’re ready to go for what’s expected to be a busy season.
“As soon as China Peak opens our ski shop is open ready to rent skis and snowboards. Also, start doing seasonal rentals on Thanksgiving weekend.,” said Tyler Powell, general manager at Shaver Lake Sports.