Saddleback Lodge - An Alpine Jewel at Apex
by Judith Lane
Contributor to Travelink Publishing

Voted the "Best Small Destination Resort" by Ski Canada Magazine, this charming lodge at Apex Mountain Resort is one of the few places at Apex that's open year round

I booked in for a short respite while touring some of the Okanagan's wineries, hoping to give body and tastebuds a break. Well that didn't work. There is so much to see and do at this pristine mountain resort that laying about wasn't an option. Although I did leave relaxed and restored.

Springtime at Saddleback Lodge is calm and peaceful, a respite between a wild and busy winter ski season (Apex is the preferred training spot for ski teams and triathaletes), and a summer season that's a popular family vacation destination.

The Lodge is perfectly situated just five minutes from the lifts. There are mind-expanding vistas of towering mountains on all sides and huge fir trees that dwarf everything around. Old logging roads are ready-made mountain biking and riding trails. The air is fresh and crisp, and the icy cold water that flows from the taps tastes so FRESH, it makes bottled water taste like a poor relation.

Lodge hosts John and Barb Davis are justifiably proud of their dream come-true-to-life. Built and opened in record time, Saddleback has welcomed visitors from as far away as Australia and Japan, and judging by the comments in the guest book, everyone leaves as friends .... a testament to Saddleback's hospitality.

The Lodge has ten rooms that accommodate from 3 to 10 people. My room had soaring ceilings, lamps that you can actually read by and a requisite clock radio so as not to miss lift time or more importantly, breakfast.

There were two single beds up the ladder in the loft, and I was tempted up there only to check out the forest and mountain views that seem to go on forever. All the rooms are spacious and decorated in warm golds, brick reds and greens with ski and ranch memorabilia as decor accents. I particularly liked the ski boot lamps in the common sitting room, which featured a huge stone fireplace, big enough to roast a critter or two. Well, big enough for guests to cozy up to while reading a book from the library or watching satellite TV. The hot tub was my favourite spot, especially for a little night-time sky-gazing. The stars and moon are exceptionally bright up at Apex, with little competition from surrounding civilization. Civilization that is, in the form of restaurants and the world famous Gun Barrel Saloon, in the adjacent village.

But back to that breakfast. Don't miss it. The day's most important meal is served at two communal tables with views to-die for: non-stop sunshine and scenery on one side and on the other, John Davis, the Chef/owner, who turns out some of the tastiest and heartiest breakfasts going. All diets go out the window here. Just help yourself to bottomless coffeepots while savouring the sights and aromas from John's open kitchen as he whips up biscuits, French toast, eggs every which way, sizzling bacon, scrumptious fruit salad with fresh blackberries and mangos, fresh squeezed juices and so on. I ate more than I thought possible. It's that good.

My delightful "penance" was to work that breakfast off. But what to do? Mountain biking, fishing and trail-rides were sweet temptations. After all, half day, full day and overnight horseback trips can really take you away from it all. Swimming and sunning at an alpine lake are better summer options just as skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing, skating, dog sledding and sleigh rides are winter activities. So hiking won the day and as I explored the area, I used the time to plan a return trip to this alpine gem. A great year-round getaway with something for everyone.

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