China Peak snow, early opening is great news for businesses

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 20 inches of snow that China Peak has received in 36 hours has allowed it to open very early -- which is great news for the businesses that rely on tourism there, especially during the holiday season.

After weeks of anticipation, China Peak Mountain Resort is getting what it hoped to see -- thick, dense snow covering the mountains and the ground.

It's the perfect wintry mix allowing the resort to have its earliest season since 2010.

"The snow quality -- it's as if we had our hand on the dial. It has a lot of water in, great for building a base. It'll be really good skiing and it will also pack down really well tomorrow," said Tim Cohee, managing partner at the China Peak Ski Resort.

Cohee says last year the weather only allowed them to have about 35 days of skiing, impacting the Christmas holiday, which is their busiest time of the year.

"If you don't have Christmas in the ski business, you're really not in the ski business. Your chances of profitability go down dramatically, so having snow on the ground on November 30 opening December 1 is absolutely gigantic," he said.

Now with it being just hours away from opening day, staff members are racing against time, getting the slopes ready for guests.

It is an exciting reality for workers like Russell Morris.

He is the hotel manager and looked forward to not having a repeat of last year.

"We are all really excited. I was talking to a couple groomers and they said they were at the top of the mountain last night and they said it is waist deep. Definitely an early Christmas present for all of us working here," Morris said.

And now they are just hoping the gift of snow keeps on giving in the coming weeks.

"A couple more feet of snow by Christmas and I'd say the chances of a successful season get up in that 80% to 90% range," he added.

For now, until there is more snow, the resort will only be open on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The owner says they are also still looking to hire additional employees.
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