Don't get me wrong, I love Whistler. There's something to be said for a mountain with that much terrain and a village that enables an all-day and all-night apres (if that's what you're into) but sometimes you're looking for something different. Something a little more chill, a little smaller, and a lot cheaper. Enter, Apex Mountain Resort - a family-friendly ski hill near Penticton.
We went to Apex for New Year's Eve, and spent three days exploring the village, the runs and the snow with our new puppy, Lucy.
If you're used to Whister, Apex is a shock. Three lifts (and one fo them is a t-bar!) and a couple dozen runs - but it turns out that's all you need.
I never waited more than 10 minutes for a lift, and usually just sailed on through, meaning more time on the slopes and less time waiting to ride. Every day was a bluebird day, and although there hadn't been snow in a while, the lightness of Okanagan powder meant that the runs didn't get icy late in the day the way they sometimes will on the coast.
Outside of downhill, Apex has a great attraction in the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre. This collection of terrain gives cross-country skiers and snowshoers the chance to explore the blue skies and light powder too.
We had the pup with us, so spent each morning doing the 5-km Claim Jump snowshoe trail. Turns out Lucy loves the snow, so she pulled us off the marked trail into the powder most days - but getting lost somewhere this beautiful is kind of the best part.
We stayed in a rustic cabin we found on AirBnB, and there was no better way to start the mornings than cozied up in flannel PJs cooking bacon and eggs over a wood-burning stove. Going back to cereal (and work) was painful.
All in all, Apex was the perfect winter escape - and I can't wait to explore this little ski hill in the summer.
Driving time from Vancouver: 5 hours
Difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Worth-it Factor: 8/10