CHINA PEAK (KFSN) --Central California has enjoyed spring-like conditions the past few weeks, but, despite those warmer temperatures, there is still plenty of snow in the high country.
Under blue skies in the mountains of Fresno County the chairlifts at the China Peak Ski Resort are running at full speed, and the skiers are enjoying every minute of it. "We're season pass holders every year regardless. We try to support China Peak, but this year is amazing. Last weekend we came when it was snowing and it was awesome. It is a great time to be up here," said Bobby Peters, Hanford.
"Hopefully, it gets better. The sun will come out and it will not be so icy hopefully," said Tyler Peters, Hanford.
The shining sun and mild temperatures are melting the snow just a little bit by the midday hours for skiers and snowboarders. But that's nothing compared to last year when China Peak had to lay off employees due to the lack of snow from the drought. "The last two years combined were the most horrible results since the early 80's. But this year, we're back on track to have one of our best years ever," said Debbie Neely, China Peak Ski Resort.
Officials with China Peak say they have a staff of 300 people on hand to keep the slopes open through the end of April.
Down the hill, on Highway 168, business is also booming at the Shaver Lake Village Hotel thanks to several winter storms. "Once it starts snowing then, yeah, everybody starts making reservations. Once they kinda get the guarantee of that there's snow coming down, phones just start ringing off the hook," said Josh Cates, Shaver Lake Village Hotel.
The staff member said the hotel hits capacity during the weekend and they have to turn last minute visitors away.
At China Peak, the resort is seeing beginners take advantage of the sunshine to learn how to ski, with the help of a deep snow pack. "We have stockpiles of snow on the hill. What a great, great thing to have," said Neely.