China Peak Wages: A Winter Job That Doesn’t “Suck”

By: Marissa Hushaw – Neely

 Nestled in the heart of the Sierra National Forest lies China Peak Mountain Resort, a ski resort that has been catering to California’s Central Valley since the 1950s. In addition to its unique location, China Peak remains one of the two remaining privately owned ski resorts in California, which is impressive considering there are 26 ski resorts in the state, total. This resort may be relatively small in size but just made a significant impact in the industry. 

Over the weekend, China Peak became the first ski resort in California to raise its minimum wage to $17.50, which is nearly 17% over the new minimum wage in California. As the ski industry as a whole is actively battling for seasonal staff more than ever, this is a fantastic way to recruit prospective teammates and potentially introduce them to a really “cool” career. “Compounding the problem in many ski resort communities is the lack of affordable housing, and in many cases, a lack of housing altogether at any price,” said Tim Cohee, the CEO of the resort since 2010. “While China Peak isn’t immune from this challenging situation, we are better off than most as we provide on-site housing for well over 50% of our staff, we need under 200 seasonal staff to provide full operations (compared to 1,000-2,000 for many California resorts), and we operate five days a week (except Christmas) which further reduces our staffing needs by another 30%.”

The medium-sized mountain offers 1,400 acres of diverse terrain that serves beginners, intermediate, and expert skiers and snowboarders. As an employee, you not only gain access to the mountain with your very own season pass, but you also unlock discounts as well as private ski days that are just for staff and their friends. Not to mention, earlier this year China Peak was rated the “safest ski resort in America for staff members” by ski industry insurance companies, making it a fun and safe place to spend your winter season working!


“The biggest advantage China Peak has over every other resort in California (except one) is that we are privately owned and managed, a dying breed of resort owners and operators from Maine to California. We run a tight ship with a lean yet tremendously experienced management team averaging over 15 years of experience. Decisions are made quickly without calling others for approval, policies changed overnight when they make sense, and a true feel of an entrepreneurial business that seasonal staff seems to appreciate over a growing corporate mentality” Tim explained. Given the current turbulence in the workforce, China Peak’s bold decision to raise their minimum wage for the sake of their employees is a prime example of how private ownership can be beneficial in a corporation-ran-industry. 

As the resort prepares for their 2021/2022 winter season hosting a number of job fairs and hosting their 12th annual Pray 4 Snow party, we wish them the best of luck this season and hope they find new eager team members to keep the lifts spinning. If you are interested in applying for a job in one of their many departments, visit: