apex 

Apex Resort was closed this week and 58 employees laid off after hints of a compromise agreement with the provincial government failed to materialize. The South Okanagan ski area is applying for a an injunction to the appointment of a receiver, which the province asked for last Friday after it called the $8 million loan it had guaranteed Apex. At a rally in Penticton Aug. 1 the mayor of the Okanagan city said Premier Glen Clark had indicated he would personally guarantee the continued operation of Apex and the province’s support of a long-term, economically-viable business plan. However, Apex Resorts Corporation President Mel Reeves says that at a meeting in Victoria the next day government officials refused to accept the company’s business plan which would see the province repaid in full with interest. Prior to the provincial election the business plan was supported by senior government officials, recommended by the government’s consultant, signed by the deputy premier to go to the Treasury Board and passed by the Treasury Board. Since the election cabinet has twice rejected the plan. The province and Apex became financially and legally intertwined after a five-week native blockade of the Apex access road in the fall of 1994. The resort said the blockade cost the company $3 million directly, caused the ski area to open late and scared away skiers and investors. The province then guaranteed an $8 million loan to the resort to help it recover from the blockade. In the meantime Apex announced it was pursuing a $125 million law suit against the province, the federal government and the three native bands for damages caused by the blockade. Apex and the province had been negotiating terms of repayment of the loan and a company restructuring plan for much of the year and were apparently close to a deal when the provincial election came along. At that point the province said it needed to set the matter aside until after the election. Reeves says he was told privately by a government official that the province has called the loan and applied for a receiver to nullify the resort’s law suit. Reeves said in a press release Apex will take whatever steps are necessary to attempt to ensure operation of the resort during the coming ski season. Tuesday the company announced a number of survival measures, including closing the Holiday Inn hotel at the resort Sept. 3 to Nov. 28, closing the mountain immediately and reducing the number of employees from 70 to 12 until the scheduled Nov. 28 season opening. The company’s application for an injunction to the appointment of a receiver is to be heard next week in Vancouver. Meanwhile, Apex was pleased with the show of support at last week’s South Okanagan Survival rally in Penticton. Media reports indicate approximately 1,500 people attended. At the rally 900 people applied for the discounted seasons passes Apex was selling. Apex’s total seasons pass sales last winter were 1,750. The rally was co-sponsored by the Penticton Chamber of Commerce, Penticton City Council, Apex Property Owners Association and the resort. o o o Crystal Mountain in Washington state announced a sales agreement with Boyne USA of Michigan last week. The Seattle Times reported that Boyne’s offer remains a letter of intent until Crystal’s shareholders approve the deal. However, Boyne has indicated it plans $15 million (US) in resort improvements over 10 years. By comparison, expansion plans this summer at Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops total about $41.5 million (Cdn). Crystal has lost money in recent years. The resort’s last significant improvement, the Rainier Express quad chair, was built in 1988. Crystal has the longest vertical drop of any ski area in Washington, 3,100 feet, and is one of only two state resorts with slopeside lodging. Boyne USA owns Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan as well as Brighton in Utah and Big Sky in Montana.

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