China Peak Mountain Resort preparing to reopen Thanksgiving weekend

Posted at 7:34 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 23:41:39-04

LAKESHORE,Calif. — China Peak Mountain Resort escaped major damage from the Creek Fire, which first set blaze in early September.

Jennifer Brown, director of mountain operations for China Peak Mountain Resort said, "...We had people on the hill, we had people on the lifts. My first thought was the safety of everyone here."

Brown said the resorts evacuation orders came on September 5th, and when they heard the fire was at the west end of Huntington Lake they started to get nervous.

Emmanuel Chavez, a Fresno fire captain, and spokesperson for the Creek Incident told 23ABC this fire is historic.

"This is the largest fire in California history, single fire. It's roughly 304,000 acres," said Captain Chavez

According to Captain Chavez, the perimeter of the fire is about 280 miles. For perspective on how large the perimeter is firefighters are battling, the mileage from Shaver Lake to LAX is about 272 miles. So, imagine firefighters lined up from Shaver Lake all the way to Los Angeles. Captain Chavez said over 3,000 firefighters from across the nation are in that 280-mile perimeter.

At the China Peak Mountain Resort six employees lost their personal housing, and three housing trailers for seasonal staff were also lost. Including Brown's but she said losing her home and all her belongings isn't her main concern.

"My focus is on my job right now and I know that my one bag of clothes that I have are going to get me through until we open this winter," said Brown.

Thanks to firefighting efforts the resort said they survived the fire with minimal damage.

"No fire, no flames hit any of the mountain. Just all around it surprisingly. The firefighters have done an amazing job to keep the fire back from the top of the lifts," she said.

The resort still needs to inspect their lifts said Brown but said from what they can tell there is no major damage. Brown added that all of the buildings, lodges and the China Peak Inn escaped the fires path. Something Brown said is truly amazing.

"It truly is amazing that we our infrastructure still intact," Brown said.

The National Forest Service turned to the resort, asking to use their property as a base camp for fire personnel. Currently the resort is staging around 200 fire personnel which Brown told 23ABC could double by the end of the week. China Peak is supplying fire personnel with water, fuel, food and has also set aside 30 rooms for fire personnel to use around the clock.

"You know the fact that most of Huntington Lake area was saved, Shaver was saved really says a lot for the fire crews and what they did for this community," said Brown.

Aside from assisting fire personnel the resort said they are ready to get back to business and are preparing to reopen this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

"We have a brand new snow making system that we are currently putting together to be ready for Thanksgiving weekend. That new snow making system will help us to open that early," Brown said.

Brown told 23ABC the resort staff is resilient and have gone above and beyond to help China Peak stay on track to open on time.

"We have an amazing full-time year-round staff here. We are a team and it's incredible how everyone came together," Brown said.

The resort is also looking to hire over 100 seasonal workers. Brown told 23ABC they need snow makers, lift operators, ticket seller, food and beverage personnel along with other positions. She also added the resort team has come out of this experience stronger than ever.

"I know there are a lot of people in the community counting on China Peak to reopen and to be open this winter on time," Brown said.

For more information on how you can apply for their seasonal job openings click here.