Gearing up for winter: China Peak getting ready to open

The Fresno BeeNovember 13, 2013 

China Peak is gearing up for the start of the winter season, but after some pretty unique seasons -- from a record snowpack in 2011 to a dry season last winter -- owner Tim Cohee says he's not sure what to expect this year. He's hoping for to open the ski resort at Huntington Lake by the end of November depending on the weather.

MARK CROSSE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

It may feel warmer than usual for this time of year, but the lingering heat hasn't prevented people from gearing up for snow season.

At China Peak, the resort at Huntington Lake, workers are finalizing adjustments and the mountain is fully staffed for the season -- whenever it may begin.

Owner Tim Cohee, who bought the resort in 2010, has seen all the randomness California weather has to offer and isn't dampened by the warm mid-November weather.

"I've been here three years, and I've seen all types of weather," he said. "In 2011, we had record snowfall and last year turned out to be the driest. We've seen two back-to-back record years for opposite reasons, so we don't know what to expect this year."

Cohee does hope for a cool streak in the coming weeks to turn on the snow machines and get the slopes ready for riders as early as Nov. 23 or the Friday following Thanksgiving.

The resort is ready to go with 400 employees starting training this week, but as much as Cohee hopes to be open by that date, it's still too early to tell.

"It's like preseason football right now -- no one is keeping score yet," Cohee said.

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Last weekend

Another sign that the season is near: the annual Fresno Ski Club Ski Sale & Swap, which ran the weekend of Nov. 15-17 at the former World of Baseball building at Shaw and Fresno avenues.

The swap is a good start for gear shopping for beginning and intermediate riders to find new and used equipment at affordable prices.

Those with more experience, swap organizer Vicki Erickson said, can find deep discounts on last-year's high-end gear.

This year's swap was expected to offer more than 4,000 pieces of equipment ranging from boots, boards, jackets, accessories and more. In each of the past few years, more than 1,000 shoppers have hit the event.

For those looking to get rid of old gear, the ski club will accept donations for young athletes for the Fresno Chapter of Special Olympics.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6401 or

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