Apex – a fantastic small resort

After leaving Manning Park, I arrived in Penticton fairly late, and after driving around a while found a decent place to park where my generator wasn’t going to bother anyone but an empty logging yard and horse track. The following morning gave me a few hours to work before a quick stop at the local grocery story and an expensive Canadian tank of gas. The road from here to Apex was thankfully MUCH better than what I had experienced the day before through Manning. The road up to Apex itself is surprisingly backwoods. A somewhat narrow 2 lane deal with what is at times a very narrow valley. I couldn’t help but think this would be a great motorcycling road in the summer.

Despite heading to Apex in the late afternoon I came across hardly any cars heading in the opposite direction. I soon found out why: the place was dead. I parked at the back of the nearly empty lot (overnight parking is allowed here) and proceeded to be amused by the zambonie that drove back and forth a couple times across the lot. Turns out ice has its place here, in the form of an outdoor hockey ice rignt right at the front of the parking lot next to the village, and a unique skating trail through the woods on the other end of the lot. Basically a short, somewhat windy cross country trail but made for skates instead of skis. I thought it was a very neat idea.

In the morning the place was still empty, and that wouldn’t change much. I never saw more than 50 cars in the parking lot all day, and it seemed that a large portion of the people skiing that day knew each other, many of them retired locals. The quiet day meant I got a private tour from one of the two mountain hosts on duty that day, so I was a happy camper.

I was much happier still once we got on the slopes. The grooming was absolutely brilliant. Even my guide mentioned that Mike (the groomer) must have had a great day as it was impeccable. The lack of people meant that it lasted all day too. I was getting freshly groomed lines right through to the end of the day. I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time on groomed runs.

Between the nonexistent crowds and the clearly good sense of community here, I soon had another local join my official host Dale in showing me around and keeping my mighty entertained while on the lift. Between all the local friends meeting up, I got the be the happy recipient of alot of local history, learning that many of the runs here were cut unofficially by locals, then the resort would eventually include them as official runs. I also got to see The Heavens, a little evening meeting area on the back of the hill the locals maintain. If felt very much like a little fort for adults. Too cute. Dale, other than being super nice, was also a mighty quick skier, spurred on no doubt by the ideal grooming this day. The tour over, I stopped for a coffee in a small eatery right at the base of the T bar, where a number of locals were having a regular meet. The sense of community at Apex was definitely very strong.

Apex is not a particularly large hill at 1100 acres. Its one high speed quad serves almost the whole mountain, with a little extra terrain served by an older fixed grip chair. But this seems to work well for Apex, as under-lift-served terrain lasts longer after a dump of snow. Unfortunately I was a day or two too late to enjoy the dump they had recently. Though there was plenty of snow left, it was chopped, hard crud off piste, which ended up keeping me off most of the blacks. But for once I didn’t particularly mind, since the grooming was so nice. That and the blue sky didn’t hurt, which made available to me the excellent views all the way around, Apex (actually Beaconsfield. Apex Mountain is next door) being among the tallest peaks in the area.  There isn’t a big variety of expert terrain, but there is enough to keep your aggressive skier happy few a few days.

There is an impressive selection of specialty terrain too. A full time mogul and aerials course is set up for freestyle training, and it ain’t no Mickey Mouse setup. Clearly a permanent installation with support facilities to match, intended for high level training. The terrain park is also very impressive, especially for a small resort. Alot of style and creative hits filled the park.

The village at the base of the ski hill is small but very cute, and checks all the boxes for a destination resort, just on a small scale. The townhouses and chalets surrounding the village are also adorable. The area as a whole is on the small side, but in such a way that it seems intimate, not insignificant. Perhaps it is just the chill and friendly vibe that made the resort seem so attractive. Few things make a place like happy, friendly locals and staff. Whatever it is, I can see why Ski Canada once awarded it “Canada’s Best Small Destination Resort”.

With credential’s like that, Whistler is bound to lose a few visitors to Apex. But ultimately Apex is a small resort, and doesn’t seem to want to be anything else. I hope that stays true, because they do small resort very well. Of course, Apex can’t compete with the terrain selection Whistler offers, nor with the village amenities (for those who want more than the low key options Apex affords), so Whistler retains its supremacy. But anyone who does a yearly trip to Whistler should definitely skip a year once and give Apex a visit for a few days. Keep it to a week though, as more than that is going to mean you start to recycle the terrain heavily.

The view out my window in the morning.

Fantastic 360 degree views from the top of the mountain. Sorry for the lousy quality, I only later figured out how to take better panoramas. Click on the image for a bigger version.

The boy scout cable next to the "The Heavens" on the backside of the hill. The snow was beautiful here, but unfortunately back on the main side everything was rather crusty.

2 thoughts on “Apex – a fantastic small resort

  1. U pulled into the Airport Rd. free parking lot at Breck CO a few days ago, right front of my 34′ Bounder and left the next morning to my disappointment as I was gonna “pick your brain” about the signage on the side of your RV. For many years I’ve been spending my entire winters skiing through the 10 western states and two western provinces “hitting” all of the resorts on my way. It was interesting looking up your web page and reading about your adventures as I have skied most all of those resort in your write up several times. I’m at Copper for two more days right now on my way through the rest of the CO, NM, WY, MO, ID resorts. I’m from Seattle so I ski at Whistler a lot in Dec. and Apr.- May. If interested in “hooking up” with me (a self proclaimed “Pro Ski Bum””) ….. 🙂 alias a fellow RV skier-traveler to make some turns and share, exchange some knowledge, stories, pls. let me know.

    Happy shredding …. A’kos ….. 😉 Enjoyed our web page!

    • I remember your Bounder for sure, especially as I came close to buying one before I settled on the Sunseeker. I actually pulled in in the morning and left a bit before sundown. I was going to get the permit and just stay the night but would have to drive to the cop shop to do so, and didn’t evne have the right change. Really expected it to be something you could do over the phone, Ended up at the marina in Frisco instead. Sorry I missed you as it would have been interesting (and useful) to hear from someone who has dealt with all the issues I’m still going to run into. It sounds like you’ve got the right idea: take your time and stay however long you feel like. Trying to keep a packed schedule is proving to be more work than fun. TOmorrow I drive to Aspen (near Minturn now), then 2 days there before CB, Telluride, then all the way across to Mammoth, Kirkwood, Tahoe, Bachelor & Hood, and finally home.
      Glad you enjoyed the site (obviously way behind), though it is all gonna be old hat to you. Certainly be glad to grab a ski back at home when you head that way again (next season I guess, not much left of this one). Use the Contact link on the homepage to email me. Here’s hoping the season gets back to regular programming for both our sakes.

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