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Hats Off to Tim Cohee for the Most Authentic, Well-Written Response to Low Snow

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Tim Cohee needs little introduction.

And neither does his letter to China Peak skiers. A perfect blend of honesty, authenticity, and optimism, it’s some of the best – if not THE best – resort communications I have ever read.

Dear China Peak Supporters:

First, let me say how incredibly appreciative we are at China Peak for the amazing support shown by our loyal skiers and riders over the course of this brutal winter, the fourth in a series of droughts for the California region. We quit counting how many Facebook posts and emails we have received, telling us to hang in there, what a raw deal we were getting from Mother Nature. You came up and spent time with us even though the conditions were less than what we all want. You even went so far as to say the conditions were good, which we appreciate, but they weren’t really.

We also want to acknowledge the recent article by one of the most support media members I’ve known, Marek Warszawski of the Fresno Bee, who went out of his way to point out the things we’ve done to make China Peak better than ever, only to be saddled with four years of no snow.

This has been what I’m now calling the ‘cruelest’ winter I’ve ever seen, dating back to my first season working for Snow Summit in 1976. By that I mean we have not only dealt with no snow, but also with incredibly marginal snowmaking conditions. To top it off, when we finally did get enough moisture last week to make a big difference, it came in with a snow level of well above 10,000 feet, higher than all but a very few peaks in the state. It was the nail in the coffin, washing away what precious snow we had on the mid mountain, forcing us to close all but the beginner hill for the busiest ski weekend of the year, President’s. In nearly four decades I have never worked for a resort that closed mid winter; now I have.

We have others to feel very bad for, including our tremendous full time staff and our fantastically loyal season pass holders. We have 30 members of our team who in many cases have spent decades with us, are there every day to provide service equal to any major resort in the Sierra, and will suffer financial hardship along with the owners. Plus, we had 300 mostly young adults who committed their winter to us, only to get virtually none of what they had hoped for – good times, great skiing and riding, and paychecks.

We have thousands of pass holders at China Peak who have suffered along with us, committing their money and passion for the sport each season, only to be disappointed year after year. What is most impressive is how many of you have sent us emails or asked our staff when season passes will go on sale for the 2015/16 season. Now that is true loyalty. We have yet to decide how to handle season pass sales for next season, but we can’t emphasize enough how encouraged we are with your interest in buying passes after four years of sub par conditions.

Is there still time for a season? Of course. Many of you may remember the ‘March Miracle’, which happened in 1991. It was a very bad season until March, then it snowed over 20 feet, producing one of if not the most amazing spring season in California skiing history. We are ready to reopen on a moment’s notice with a foot or more of snow; with a few feet or more we could open a lot of our lifts and terrain quickly.
In closing, on behalf of my two Fresno based partners and our terrific full time staff, we thank you again for your undying support. China Peak is a great resort and will always be there, as it is a great asset to the region and a very profitable business when given even a glimmer of chance to succeed.
Cheer for snow, and we’ll see how things go over the coming weeks.

Best Regards,

Tim Cohee
Managing General Partner, CEO & General Manager

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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