The co-owner of Apex Mountain Resort said the hill has been on the market for years and it is not because of a downturn in business.
“We have no debt, never have. It is a viable business that makes money and we are more than secure,” said Ted Garnett, part owner of the ski hill, which he said has been up for offer for three years.
“I have been active in business all my life in Penticton, going on 45 years. We all live here and we want to make sure that place still runs. We want whoever is going to buy it to have a better vision. We aren’t just going to sell it to anybody.”
Garnett and two of his business partners bought Apex Mountain Resort in 1997. He said at almost 73 years old, and his business partners not too far behind, they decided it is time to let the resort go up for sale.
“We are not anxious to sell. It has to be the right people,” said Garnett, who would not say what the selling price is.
After 18 years of owning Apex Mountain resort, Garnett said he has come to learn why people love it, despite not being a skier himself.
“It is the smaller atmosphere at Apex that brings everyone a little closer and it has excellent terrain. Apex has a reputation. The world comes to us for training for the Olympics and all kinds of things from moguls to freestyle skiing,” said Garnett.
“With the Sochi Olympics this past year we had a lot of world-class athletes training here.”
The resort owner sees even more potential with the announcement WestJet made last week that they will be offering direct flights from Calgary to Penticton starting in October.
Garnett said some media outlets have reported resorts such as Apex are part of a dying breed, which has frustrated and upset him.
“It simply is not true,” he said of the claims.
David Lynn, president and CEO of Canada West Ski Areas Association, also rejected such claims.
“There are challenges, but there is also data that shows for a fact that the industry is not dying by any measure,” said Lynn.
Apex, he said, is classified as a “destination ski resort” and the economics of the business vary greatly as you scale up from Mount Baldy, for example, which is very small in comparison. That ski mountain, located near Oliver, did not open this year because of financial trouble.
“Apex is a hidden treasure. It is the most under-rated ski hill with phenomenal steep runs, and easier runs, no lineups for the most part and has held some great events,” said Lynn.
“Now you have some flights going direct to Penticton from Calgary and that is really good for the skier business out of Alberta as well.”
Lynn said last season was tough for some resorts because the weather on the coast was too warm and in the prairies it was too cold leaving them with stretches where they had to shut down.
“The best ski conditions were really the B.C. and Okanagan Interior. Collectively those resorts did fairly well. Some had record numbers, even if by a small margin, compared to the rest of western Canada,” said Lynn.