Snow is falling across the Okanagan Valley as winter arrives in full, and Apex Mountain is gearing up for what looks to be their earliest start yet.
If the weather holds, the slopes of Apex will be seeing skiers on the mountain earlier than ever. They won’t be members of the public, but athletes who have arrived to practice on the course.
The resort is still currently planning on a Dec. 5 opening to the general public, said the resort’s general manager James Shalman. However, if the weather stays cold and if there is enough snow that may be sooner.
Apex received close to 30 cm of snow over the last 24 hours and if it holds they’ll have the World Cup course open by the end of the week.
“It’s the earliest we’ll have ever been open in our history,” said Shalman. “We had about 20 cm last night, five centimetres the day before, and we’re making snow too.”
“The Canadian National Mogul Team is already here,” said Shalman. “The B.C. Freestyle Team is here. We’ll have the teams practicing Saturday.”
Even with the snow, the resort team still has all of the technical work of building the course still to do before the skiers can hit the slopes.
“The snow right now is falling at minus seven, and it’s so light, when our groomers go to pack it, it just fluffs up around the tracks,” said Shalman. “When it’s cold, you get light, dry powder which is beautiful to ski through, but as far as packing and base-building it’s not the best.”
Part of the factors contributing to the favourable weather is the wet and cold conditions caused by the La Nina weather pattern that 2020 has entered. La Nina is one of the major seasonal weather patterns, the counterpart of the hotter and drier La Nino, and is caused by colder than average temperatures of the Pacific Ocean.
“These are perfect snow-making temperatures. We are probably two weeks ahead of where we’d usually be, with our freestyle course, with our snow-making, everything is going really well.”
The La Nina conditions have already helped deliver early snow, to the Okanagan, and to Apex.
“We keep getting these big dumps early, in the middle of October we probably had about 50 cm,” said Shalman. “The forecast for the season is phenomenal. The La Nina years have been some of our best snow-years.”
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