Ski season ending: China Peak closing Sunday

China Peak will wrap up winter operations for the season Sunday, March 31, the ski resort at Lakeshore announced Saturday.

With the Sierra snowpack at less than 55% and recent warm temperatures, the conditions at China Peak deteriorated quickly over the past several weeks. Originally, China Peak had projected closing April 21.

So with Badger Pass in Yosemite also closing Sunday, the winter recreation season is all but over, it appears.

Well see if the spring conditions will speed up the opening of Kaiser Pass, the High Sierra route to Florence Lake, Mono Hot Springs and Edison Lake. Kaiser Pass generally opens around Memorial Day weekend.



Storm brings powder for area ski resorts

While the Valley hasn’t picked up much rainfall from this week’s storm, the Sierra has been getting hit with an extension of winter.

Badger Pass Ski Area is reporting 6 new inches on Thursday for a total of 14 since the storm moved in Wednesday. The ski resort in Yosemite National Park is hosting its Silver Ski Races on Saturday and Sunday, competing against teams from Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley and China Peak.

At China Peak, the storm has already left 8 inches of fresh snow with up to a foot expected to accumulate by Friday — just in time for Saturday’s Jack Pieroni Demo Day at the resort near Huntington Lake.

China Peak hosts Super Bowl shindig

A snowboarder kicks loose snow from his board as he rides up Chair 6 at China Peak.

Kickoff for Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens isn’t until 3:30 p.m.

That means skiers and snowboarders have most of the day to get their runs in.

The folks at China Peak are well aware of this, and the Huntington Lake resort unveiled a special promotion with 49ers fans in mind.

If the 49ers exit the Superdome hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Sunday’s lift ticket will also be valid for any Sunday throughout the rest of the season. (Feb. 17 is excluded.)

In addition, season pass-holders get happy hour prices ($2 off drinks) at all four of China Peak’s bars.

Conditions at China Peak are pretty good right snow. A surprise storm Sunday afternoon dropped 3 to 5 inches in addition to the 3 to 5 inches that fell early Sunday morning.

Skiing Clouds Rest

Extreme skier Jason Torlano peers down the fall line before dropping into the northwest face of Clouds Rest on Jan. 16, 2013. 

Clouds Rest is a massive granite formation located northeast of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. From Tunnel View, it sits just left of — and more than 1,000 feet above — its more famous neighbor and is often shrouded in clouds. (Hence the name.)

The sweeping northwest face, approximately 5,000 feet tall and 5,000 feet wide, presents a serious challenge to rock climbers who bother to make the hike up Tenaya Canyon.

But ski Clouds Rest? That would be impossible. Until now.

Last Wednesday, extreme skiers Jason Torlano of Foresta and Jonathan Blair of South Lake Tahoe completed the first ski decent of Clouds Rest after spending Tuesday night camped on the airy 9,926-foot summit.

Torlano, who gre

The rounded summit of Clouds Rest in Yosemite National Park before last week’s first ski descent by Jason Torlano of Foresta and John Blair of South Lake Tahoe.

w up in Yosemite Valley, has spent the last several years seeking out Yosemite’s steepest ski terrain. The 37-year-old has skied nearly every major chute and gully while establishing 28 first descents. He’s skied Quarter Dome, Lost Brother, Dewey Point, Crocker Point, you name it.But Clouds Rest, he admits, tops them all. “It was the most committing ski I’ve ever done,” Torlano said in a phone interview.

Look for the complete story on Thursday’s Out There page. For now, whet your appetite with a couple photos Torlano sent over.