Snow on the ground, China Peak ready to open Saturday

The Fresno BeeDecember 4, 2013 

A snowboarder kicks snow loose from his board as he rides Chair 6 up the mountain at China Peak on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012. China Peak is ready to open for the 2013-14 season on Saturday, Dec. 7.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

China Peak finally will open this weekend to skiers and snowboarders after light snowfall and freezing temperatures blanketed one of the Huntington Lake resort's runs. On Tuesday, the resort received three to six inches of snowfall.

China Peak is scheduled to open 9 a.m. Saturday with chairs 6 and 4 serving Sundown Ridge to Lower Tollhouse run for intermediate and higher-level skiers and riders.

The run is about 1-mile long and covers nearly 1,000 vertical feet. For beginners and first-time skiers, the resort will have terrain features and two moving carpets in the base area.

But with this weekend's forecast showing more snow possibly on Friday and Saturday, "it would change all of this in a heartbeat," owner Tim Cohee said.

Temperatures are expected to remain below freezing through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Hanford, with another half-foot of snow forecast to fall between Friday and Saturday.

That means more runs may be open in time for the resort's opening weekend and more fun for skiers and riders, but no guarantees can be made, Cohee said.

Regardless, the winter weather will allow snowmaking to continue on the open run before machines are moved to the top of the mountain for the popular Kaiser Run. Cohee hopes that section will be open for guests by Dec. 14.

The Jack Pieroni Demo Day sponsored by Herb Bauer Sporting Goods also is set for Saturday. The demo day is free with a lift ticket or season pass and allows guests to test the latest in skis and snowboards from top manufacturers. A photo ID is required to test equipment.

Starting Monday, the resort will be issuing free lift tickets through Friday for donations of new or slightly used coats or new and unwrapped toys. The donations will be given to Fresno's Coats for Kids and Toys for Tots charities. One lift ticket will be issued per person per day per donation.

Lift ticket prices will be reduced to reflect the limited operations: All Lift -- adult $25, junior/senior $20, child $10. Rentals -- adult (13 and up) $25, child $20. Moving carpet ticket $15. Learn to Ski/Ride package (13+) $50.

In Yosemite, Badger Pass Ski Area is scheduled to open Dec. 13.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6401 or amoreno@fresnobee.com.

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