Outdoors

With fresh snow, China Peak eyes Friday opening

Huntington Lake, background, and China Peak Mountain Resort are covered in fresh snow as seen in this photo taken by the resort’s webcam at 12:25 p.m. Monday.
Huntington Lake, background, and China Peak Mountain Resort are covered in fresh snow as seen in this photo taken by the resort’s webcam at 12:25 p.m. Monday.

China Peak had its prayers answered over the weekend with the Huntington Lake resort receiving enough snow to open as early as Friday.

“I think we’re almost certain Friday could be the day,” resort owner and CEO Tim Cohee said Monday.

The resort received about 15 to 22 inches of fresh snow from the weekend’s storm while also getting prime snowmaking conditions that Cohee hopes will soon spread to the top of the mountain.

Another storm like that would open a lot more of the mountain. That’s what we’re cheering for.

China Peak owner and CEO Tim Cohee

The weekend’s storm was the first to significantly impact the central Sierra Nevada, unlike at Lake Tahoe, where resorts such as Boreal Mountain and Mount Rose opened more than+ a week ago, while others like Kirkwood, Heavenly and Northstar opened in time for the holiday weekend.

China Peak is just a few days behind and, with enough snowmaking, plans to have chairs 2 and 6 running as well as the base area ahead of the weekend.

Enthusiasts have plenty to look forward to at the resort, which underwent a major overhaul to its food and beverage services.

A new 3,000-foot outdoor deck at the mid-mountain Buckhorn Bar & Grill brings “a whole different ball game in terms of atmosphere and seating,” Cohee said.

Other additions include an outdoor barbecue at the day lodge; a wine bar inside Jack’s Place at the day lodge; added seating; and improved sound systems.

And there’s a bigger, longer-term change in store, according to Cohee. The park purchased a chair lift, which if all goes well this winter would be installed for the following season.

“Last year was our best year ever financially in the history of the company,” Cohee said as the Central Valley experienced a respite from the drought. “In the last four years, all we could do was literally survive, but now that we’re back on decent financial footing, we’re making a lot of improvements.”

Joining China Peak’s management team is Tim’s son, Nick, who will be the resort’s director of skiing. Nick Cohee was an All-America skier at Utah and a member of the U.S. Ski Team at the 2015-16 FIS World Cup. He also will lead clinics on select weekends.

“Nick will be a real valuable addition to the management team and the people,” Tim Cohee said.

▪ The Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, previously known as Badger Pass Ski Area, is scheduled to open Dec. 16.

About China Peak

  • Where: 59265 Highway 168, Lakeshore; about 90 minutes from Fresno
  • Contact: Resort phone (559) 233-2500; snow phone (559) 233-3330
  • Website: www.skichinapeak.com
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