China Peak Ski Area, Lakeshore

2.6
#37 of 40 in Winter Sports in California
China Peak is a ski area in Central California. It opened in 1958, named after the mountain, Chinese Peak. The original owner was Knut Flint who had been part of a worldwide helicopter services company. Mr. Flint had had his eye on this area for a number of years. He recognized the skiers in the San Joaquin Valley would have to drive to Lake Tahoe or Badger Pass. There were no other resorts on the southwest side of the Sierras. He recruited Herbert Schwarz, an Austrian immigrant with ski industry experience to be the general manager. He coordinated the permitting, construction, start-up and operations. During this time the Forest Service was quite receptive to development in the Sierras. Even Walt Disney was looking at developing Onion Valley.The first chairlift was installed during the summer of 1958. At the time it was the longest chairlift in the U.S. at over one mile, including a midway station. It was manufactured by Riblet Lift Company based in Washington state, using what was then some very novel design concepts. This included support towers that were not vertical but rather 90 degrees to the ground surface. The chairs were attached to the cable by weaving a bar into the center of the cable. This eliminated the uncomfortable bump when chairs passed over tower wheels due to the typical external clamp design. Since there was no power available in the area a large diesel generator and fuel tank with fuel capacity for the entire season were hauled to the summit. This also required that someone either stay on top or take the Tucker snow-cat up to start the generator and chairlift each day. Boyd Turner was the construction manager, but not a skier, living in Shaver Lake. He would volunteer with others to man the top station during that first year.
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China Peak Ski Area Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
34 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We had a beautiful sunny day... lifts are not of the more modern... some are not... simple... well kept bar
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  • Relatively easy to get to from where we are. The mountain is nice with plenty of amenities. Lift tickets are fairly priced.  more »
  • The kids did lessons, we had to learn to be diligent on their skill level to make it worth the money. Our Lady in customer service was a God send, she helped us so many times! She rocks! We had such a...  more »
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