Snow brings life to winter-starved Shaver Lake

The Fresno BeeFebruary 9, 2014 

Snow in Shaver Lake and higher up the mountain was a welcome sight this weekend for businesses and visitors waiting for some sign of winter to finally arrive. But the winter weather won't be here for long.

Since the storm arrived on Thursday, about four to seven inches of snow had fallen in parts of the Sierra Nevada, said meteorologist Jim Andersen with the National Weather Service in Hanford. He said another four to seven inches is expected through this morning.

The storms were a welcome break from a winter that has been desperately dry for Shaver Lake businesses and the winter-sports enthusiasts they depend on.

Shaver Lake Sports employee Tyler Powell said the snow has increased the sale of winter clothes and people are renting equipment on the way to China Peak Mountain Resort and other locations.

"It's like pennies falling from the sky -- white gold," Powell said.

People driving through town were also stopping for hot chocolate and food at Shaver Coffee & Deli.

Employee Adriana Guillen said it's her first winter working in Shaver Lake. Guillen said she didn't believe the other employees who told her that it could get "crazy busy" during the winter. Until this weekend.

"I thought it was the holiday weekend this weekend because it's been so busy," Guillen said.

James Edwards' family was among those who came up to enjoy the snow. He said they own a cabin in the area and regularly bring 12 to 18 family members.

"This is the first time in two months we've been up here because of no snow," Edwards said. "If it had not snowed, we would not be here. We would be at the Chaffee Zoo."

The last of the storms is expected to move out Monday morning, making way for dry weather and warmer temperatures to return to the region, said Andersen with the National Weather Service.

Fresno's daytime high could reach the low 70s by Thursday and there is no rain or snow in the foreseeable forecast, he said. But there is a likelihood of fog. Andersen said drivers need to be careful of dense morning fog along the Highway 99 corridor Tuesday and Wednesday.

Despite the forecast of warmer temperatures, Tim Cohee--the owner of the China Peak Mountain Resort--has high expectations for the President's Day holiday weekend.

"It should be a really good crowd," Cohee said. "We will make snow Monday night and concentrate our efforts on chairs seven and five. Our goal is to open chair seven for next weekend."

The dry forecast during the week won't hamper their efforts to open more terrain to visitors, Cohee said. He added that about 4,000 people visited the resort this weekend.

Sunday night Cohee said the resort hotel was almost full for the holiday weekend and he expected people to have a good time in the snow.

"The last 48 hours have made a huge difference," Cohee said. "We could use a couple more feet (of snow), but it's definitely better than it was a few weeks ago."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6279 or jrayburn@fresnobee.com.

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