Revision as of 12:48, 29 April 2008
Apex Alpine Resort  is a ski village in the Okanagan region of British Columbia. The closest city is Penticton. Apex is distinguished by its big-mountain terrain with a small-mountain village and vibe. The locals are fervent in their advocacy of the mountain. The lift lines are generally nonexistant but for weekends when the 'city people' come up and take over the slopes, village and parking lot. Unless it is an epic powder day the locals will stay at home on the weekends. Characterized by the 'Cheers' effect (ie: everybody knows your name) Apex is without doubt one of the friendliest hills in British Columbia. No one cares about sporting the latest styles in winterwear, rather they care about what's really important: the snow, and getting the most out of their beloved hill.
The only method into the village is by road. It is about a 35-45 minute drive from Penticton. Follow Green Mountain Road 20km from town and turn right at the Apex Guest Ranch. If travelling from Keremeos then turn left at the ranch. You can also take your chances on the Hedley Corkscrew Road which winds down the mountain to Hedley via a system of tight switchbacks perched on steep cliffs. This is not recommended in the winter without a very good 4x4 vehicle (Read: a Hummer).
Well, you will want to ski of course! You can ski from the upper village to the main part, where the hotels and restaurants are located. Otherwise, you will have to drive or snowmobile. Snowmobile rental is available.
There is also a Horse-drawn cart ride available, though this is not a practical method of transportation.
- The view from the top! Many days at Apex will have clear blue skies, and you can see a thick blanket of clouds below covering the Okanagan Valley.
- World Cup Skiing. Apex usually holds a World Cup event every year. Come see the FIS World Cup Freestyle event February 23rd to 25th, 2007.
- The annual Iron Legs competition, whereby the object is to hurl yourself down every single one of Apex's black and double black diamond runs as fast as possible. The prize for winning this gruelling event? A T-shirt. For the less crazy there is also the easier Tin Legs competition where you only have to race down the blue runs.
- The annual Slush Cup held near the end of the season. Crazy locals and visitors rush down a short slope and try to make it as far as they can through several feet of icy water. Most don't get far.
- Keg Cup is the annual retreat/staff party of the popular steakhouse The Keg. Employees from all over North America come to Apex and turn it upside down for three days in March.
- Nordic Skiing. There is an extensive network of trails at the Nickel Plate Cross-Country skiing area. Trail maps are available for free in the village.
- Back country snowmobile tours are available. Afternoon and day excursions. Snowmobile rental and guide.
- Alpine Skiing is what Apex is all about. The hill has 67 marked runs spread over 1112 skiable acres serviced by two chairlifts, a T-bar, and a magic carpet in the beginners area. Several gladed areas, a terrain park, and some of the steepest terrain on any lift-serviced hill in British Columbia is available. Terrain mix is 16% novice; 48% intermediate; 36% advanced/expert. As you would expect from a full service hill, rentals and single/group lessons are available. Free Mountain Host Tours are available twice daily; follow a local to the secret powder stash, and learn some local mountain lore. There is also night skiing Fridays, Saturdays and holidays until 9:00PM.
- Play Hockey or just skate some loops at the NHL sized skating rink. Maintained with a Zamboni. Closed for private functions occasionally. Skate rentals available.
- Go Skating through the trees on the 1km long skating loop. Every once in a while there is a bonfire at the side of the loop. Skate rentals available.
- Go Tubing in the lift accessed tube park. Inquire locally for times.
Apex has a brief season in the summer for mountain biking. Most on-hill facilities are shutdown during the summer, so you may have to make it a day trip from Penticton unless you know someone. Although there are some year-round residents at Apex, in the summer it generally resembles a ghost town.
You can also go fishing at nearby Nickel Plate Lake or travel a bit further and visit the Historic Mascot Mine. If you plan to fish make absolute sure you have a valid fishing license, as conservation officials are able to confiscate all your gear including boats or vehicles and hit you with a stiff fine.
There is not much to buy up at Apex other than food and your lift ticket.
- The Trading Post is a small bakery/convenience store that stocks food/drink, essential toiletries, and a modest selection of Apex souvenirs. The trading post is also the only place to buy beer/wine/spirits on the mountain other than the bar. Located in the bottom floor of the Gunbarrel Saloon.
- The Mountain Shop sells ski and snowboard equipment and clothing. Also handles repairs and service to equipment. Be warned that the location on the hill warrants a 15-20% markup over prices you would pay in town. It is recommended to get the gear you need in town unless absolutely necessary, or you have money to burn. Located above the rental shop.
- The Long Shot Cafeteria is a good choice for a quick and cheap meal. Features hamburgers/hotdogs, poutine and fries etc. Located underneath Beaconsfield Lodge. Only open during the day. $3-$5
- Fresh Tracks Cafe features quick hot sandwiches and soups, pastries and other snacks. Very friendly owner/operators. Located next to the Mountain Shop. $3-$8
- Powder Hound Cafe. Sandwiches and snacks. Located in the Double-Diamond Hostel.
- 3:30 Grill is a full service restaurant located in the lobby of the Apex Mountain Inn. Good selection of burgers, salads and entrees. $13-$25.
- Gunbarrel Saloon has a family dining room on one side. Large selection of food and drink. Located right at the base of the hill. $8-$20.
- Fresh Tracks Cafe has a wide assortment of coffee drinks and tea.
- Powder Hound Cafe is a good place to enjoy a coffee drink while checking your email.
The only place to buy cold beer, wine, and spirits is at the Trading Post. Selection is limited, so if you are a discriminating drinker you will want to bring your own booze from town.
As far as nightlife, you only have one choice: Make your way to the friendly and inviting Gunbarrel Saloon . Mix with the locals and learn some Apex lore or just enjoy yourself by the fire. Check out the DJ booth, which is a gutted snowcat perched high from the rafters. There are a lot of vintage Apex signs, photos, and knick-knacks decorating the walls and ceiling. Pool and fooseball table. Live music most weekends. Pints/highballs $5.00 -$5.50
- Double-Diamond Hostel , +1 250 292-8256, toll free: +1 866 APEXRES. Features inexpensive dorms and also private rooms for couples/families (or those that want to pay more for privacy). Shared bathrooms and kitchen. High-speed internet cafe/coffee bar. TV room. Fireplace. Games room. Laundry facilities. Very friendly staff. Dorms $20; Private rooms $59.
- Apex Mountain Inn , +1 250 292-8126. Ski in/ski out. Outdoor patio with hot tubs. High Speed Wireless Internet. Restaurant and spa in lobby. Rates depend on the date, packages available. Standard room: $155-185.
- Saddleback Lodge , +1 250 292-8118. Bed and Breakfast rooms. Some private kitchenettes. High speed wireless internet access. Specials and packages available. Rooms $150-$275.
- Apex Accommodations , +1 250 292-8256, toll free: +1 866 APEXRES. Arranges accommodations in several different lodges, condos, and cabins. A worthy option for groups. Rates vary by property.
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