One child's journey to the top of China Peak

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Cool temperatures and school holidays have created a near-perfect storm up at China Peak. (KFSN)

Cool temperatures and school holidays have created a near-perfect storm up at China Peak.
A flurry of activity blew across the peak on the day after Christmas.

"It's game time," said Carter Oxley. "That's what we always say."

Carter is among the skiers suited up for the first big weekend on the mountain. The 3 -a-half-year-old joined hundreds on the bunny hills as the resort's focus on hooking beginners showed early signs of success. After a quick lesson, Carter rode the magic carpet to the top for the first time ever.

"And then when I went downhill, I fall down," he said.

"Is that okay?" a reporter asked. "Is that fun?"

"Yep, it is fun," he said.

It appears he had a lot of fun -- about three times as much fun as just about anyone on the slopes. Ski instructors stayed busy teaching newbies the finer points while Carter got a lift from his dad, and advice from his cousin.

"This is how you do a pizza," said 6-year-old Katie Nix. "You do that so you can stop."

Snowboarders and skiers populated the more challenging runs, riding on snow with just the right amount of crunch. The mountain is still only about half open, but four lifts are running and below-freezing temperatures have finally arrived, giving the snow makers a production boost.

"At these temperatures, it's like powder snow," said Tim Cohee, of China Peak. "It's the same thing as natural snow. When it gets this cold, you're laying down some real quality snow."

With another foot of natural snow, the remaining lifts and runs can open. And if that happens by the Martin Luther King holiday, managers believe this can be a profitable year. By that time, some of these beginners may become experts -- even Carter.

"Are you getting better every time?" a reporter asked him.

"Yeah," he said as he toppled over backwards. "Whoaaaaaaa."
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