One of Apex's staff testing conditions on the mountain after recent heavy snowfall. (Apex Mountain - James Shalman)

Penticton’s Apex Mountain looking at early start to ski season

The mountain had plenty of snow from the recent storm and may open as early as Dec. 2

With over 90 centimetres of snow over the first weekend of November, Apex Mountain is looking at one of the best starts to their season in years, and an early opening too.

The popular ski resort announced on Nov. 10 that they would be moving up their opening from Dec. 10 to Dec. 2 thanks to the incredible conditions on the slopes.

“We are months ahead of schedule as far as the base goes, and you know sometimes you don’t see a base like this at least until January,” said Apex general manager James Shalman. “We are so far ahead of the game that we have to set ourselves up for just an absolutely amazing season.”

The winter storm that blew in over the weekend left over 90 centimetres of snow to form the base for the ski slopes. The most important part was that the conditions were perfect for the snow that was falling.

If the weather had been too cold when it was falling, the snow could have been too ‘sugary’ where it doesn’t bond together properly. But the weather was just right and now the resort is looking to get busy and prepare for their early opening.

“I can’t say for certain, but we’re hoping that when we open the mountain up, we’re going to be able to open the entire mountain, which is very rare,” said Shalman. “Normally we open in smaller areas, then the rest of the mountain as we get more snow.”

Shalman added that this would be the first time they will open up early in at least six years.

It won’t just be all of the slopes that open up on Dec. 2 either, all of the resort’s other activities such as the tubing, the ice loop and the hockey rink among others will also be open.

Until Dec. 2 though, the mountain is still officially closed, and that’s not just business, it’s for public safety.

With the snow, there is plenty of equipment working on the mountain.

”We always have poachers, and that’s a serious problem, because right now the machines aren’t operating just at night,” said Shalman.

On top of the tracked snow-packers, the resort has their snow-making machines out with their power lines and high-tension water lines, as well as some machines carrying their one-inch winch cables that can stretch hundreds of meters along the runs.

“That means no snow-shoeing, no hiking, no skiing and especially no snowmobiling just because they go way faster,” said Shalman. “There’s plenty of beautiful terrain outside the ski area.”

Shalman also noted that some of runs, such as the diamonds and double diamonds, still had avalanche hazards as well.

If someone is interested in getting out and enjoying the snow early, there is plenty of wilderness all around the resort that isn’t in the controlled area.

READ MORE: Icy road conditions after big winter blast in Penticton

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