RESORT: APEX RESORT
It’s truly surprising to go from balmy weather down in the valley to full-on ski mode at Apex Resort as clouds seem to stay put and dump snow on Mount Beaconsfield. Apex is patronized mostly by local residents as opposed to destination resort skiers. There are numerous steep glade runs and the snowfall is so reliable that you can pretty much point your skis down the fall line and let them run.
Apex isn’t the only ski area in the south Okanagan. Located 45 minutes east of the twin towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, vacationers travelling on Highway 3 are likely curious about the lone peak that juts out of the arid forested landscape. That’s the aptly named Mount Baldy, which may well be one of the Okanagan’s best-kept secrets, has lifts running to more than 2,000 m and regularly gets more than 7 m of fluffy powder.
It’s difficult to believe that a place that receives fewer than 50 cm of rain annually can be so close to a mountain that regularly receives over five metres of snow. Penticton is indeed such a place. In the summer, daytime temperatures will often reach the high 30s, while winters in town are somewhat cloudy due to the proximity to Okanagan Lake. Wineries surround the city because of the rich, well-drained soil and reliably hot weather produce some of B.C.’s most outstanding wines at Misconduct (now re-named DaSilva), Poplar Grove and the fabulously contemporary Painted Rock. The economy is a mix of agriculture, tourism, education and health care with a couple of forest-product manufacturing facilities. Other towns worth considering for a combination of affordability and low-key lifestyle include Oliver, Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Naramata.
APEX REAL ESTATE SAMPLES
Resort: A 2,100-square-foot ski in/ski out half-duplex has a hot tub on the deck. Pets are permitted and strata fees are $257.30 monthly. $449,000
Town: Overlooking Skaha Lake, 18-ha Big Horn Ridge has 8.4 ha of arable land currently planted with cherry trees but easily converted into a productive vineyard. $3,950,000