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Penticton  

No mountain of trouble

An owner of Apex Mountain Resort confirmed Thursday that the group that owns the ski area is considering a sale, but it's not because of financial troubles.

Ted Garnett, a Penticton businessman, said the fact the partners are ready to retire is more of a factor.

"Apex is run by a small group, basically three partners," he said. "We are all reaching retirement age and that's the reason we are considering selling."

Garnett said business was up 5.3 percent as of the end of February for the 2013-2014 ski season, and they don't have the numbers yet for March and April, which were also good.

As far as the sale, an ad was placed in The Globe and Mail about a month ago just to test the waters.

A few people have looked at it, so far, and there are a few prospects in the wings.

"We are in no hurry, it's just time," said Garnett, of the group, which purchased the ski area, west of Penticton, in October of 1997.

David Lynn, president and CEO of Canada West Ski Areas Association, said he is aware that Apex has been open to offers.

It is also interesting that people would equate a sale as a sign a business was in trouble, he added.

"It doesn't indicate a resort is in trouble, it just indicates the owners have decided they want to divest," he said. "It's like selling a home, there are all sorts of reasons people sell a home."

Lynn added Apex's situation is not comparable to what happened at Mt. Baldy, a smaller ski area near Oliver. Baldy, owned by a group in Idaho, did not open at all this season.

"With smaller resorts it is much more challenging to break even," he said. "While Apex would be considered more of a destination resort."

Lynn admitted that although it was a challenging year for some BC ski areas, that does not mean the ski industry is dying.

"Ski areas in the Okanagan and interior had a very good year, this year," he said.

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