Early signs of winter at Okanagan ski slopes

The view from the top of the Apex Mountain Ski Resort slopes on Oct. 27. (Apex Mountain webcam)The view from the top of the Apex Mountain Ski Resort slopes on Oct. 27. (Apex Mountain webcam)
Snow dusted runs at Silver Star Resort on Oct. 27 (Silver Star webcam)Snow dusted runs at Silver Star Resort on Oct. 27 (Silver Star webcam)
Snow dusted runs at Silver Star Resort on Oct. 27 (Silver Star webcam)Snow dusted runs at Silver Star Resort on Oct. 27 (Silver Star webcam)
Snow at Big White on Oct. 27. (Big White Ski Resort Webcam)Snow at Big White on Oct. 27. (Big White Ski Resort Webcam)
The view from the top of the Apex Mountain Ski Resort slopes on Oct. 27. (Apex Mountain webcam)The view from the top of the Apex Mountain Ski Resort slopes on Oct. 27. (Apex Mountain webcam)

The leaves have turned yellow as fall has settled into the Okanagan Valley. But higher up in the mountains winter has already arrived.

Although it’s still early, snow has begun to blanket the ski hills of the region’s many popular resorts, including Apex, Big White and Silver Star.

The clouds that passed through the region on Monday and Tuesday brought with them early deliveries of snow to the slopes.

READ MORE: Snow blankets Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna

Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton, for example, received six centimetres over the last 24 hours and is already sitting on a snow-pack of around nine centimetres near the base of the main slope, with up to 30 cm at the top.

According to general manager James Shalman, it’s not just the amount of the snow that the mountain has that determines whether they can open up and operate, but the type of snow.

“As an example there could be a 100 cm base, but if it’s light and dry then it’s no good, because the groomers can’t compact and 100 cm can act like 20,” said Shalman. “Having said that, 60 cm of snow could act like 150 if it’s a wet, heavy, consolidated base that bonds well to the ground and there’s no fracturing in the layers.”

Whether the snow will stick around until the resorts begin opening in November and December is too early to tell. According to the Weather Network forecast, conditions are expected to stay below nine degrees for the next 14 days until Nov. 10, the latest forecast date that’s available.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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