Known as “the biggest little mountain in Colorado,” Monarch Mountain is a great choice for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Monarch first-timers are probably wondering what to expect of the ski resort. After all, while it’s by no means a small ski resort, it’s a bit more off the beaten path than those large resorts located close to I-70. But it boasts a beautiful location, awesome terrain, friendly staff, and the chance to experience a less-commercialized, more community-based ski or snowboard experience. If you’re considering taking a Monarch Mountain ski vacation, we’ve put together a quick guide to the resort to give you a better idea of all that it has to offer.
- Lift Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Skiable Acres: 800
- Average Annual Snowfall: 350 Inches
- Runs: 64
- Green: 23%
- Blue: 28%
- Black: 36%
- Double Black: 13%
- Terrain Parks: 2
- Lifts: 5
- Snowmaking: No – only natural snow
- Base Elevation: 10,789 feet
- Summit Elevation: 11,952 feet
One of the best things about Monarch Mountain is how affordable the lift tickets are. In fact, a lift ticket for several days of skiing at one of the major resorts usually costs more than an entire season pass to Monarch. To save even more money, buy your lift tickets online in advance of your arrival. It may be tempting to wait until you get to the resort and purchase your tickets at the lift ticket window. But, you will end up paying more. And if you’re visiting with a group of people, the savings that come with online lift ticket purchases will add up.
Parking is incredibly easy at Monarch Mountain. All you’ll need to do is follow the signs and then the directions from the friendly attendants in the lot. Parking is free and since the lot is located right at the base of the mountain, you’ll be just steps from the lodge and the lifts.
Base Area Amenities
Monarch’s base area is compact and simple, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way around. Even better, all the runs lead down to the single base area, so there’s never a worry of anyone in your party getting lost on the slopes. The base area is home to the ski patrol’s headquarters, ski school, children’s center, the Cat skiing yurt, and the main lodge. From the main lodge, there are two entrances to the slopes. Inside the main lodge, you’ll find dining options as well as the lift ticket windows, lost and found, restrooms, and a sport shop.
Unlike many of the larger ski resorts, you won’t find lodging options at the base or dining/shopping options beyond what’s offered at the main lodge. As the resort is surrounded by National Forest, options for expansion are limited. There are plenty of lodging choices within a short drive, including, of course, Creekside Chalets and Cabins. Salida, which is about a half-hour from the resort and about 15 minutes from our cabins, has an impressive variety of shops and restaurants.
The base lodge has recently been expanded and it boasts a friendly and inviting atmosphere. There are several dining options available. The Gunbarrel Grill offers a cafeteria-style dining experience with options for both breakfast and lunch. There’s also the Sidewinder Saloon, which is a great choice for a relaxed, sit-down lunch. It features beautiful views of the slopes and large screen TVs playing sports. If you’re more in the mood to grab something to go, Freshies Deli serves hot and cold sandwiches, snacks, breakfast burritos, pastries, and a variety of drinks.
Monarch’s Ski School has a number of lesson choices available for all types and ages of skiers and riders. Group and private lessons are available for everybody, ages 7 and up. Monarch also offers Group + Family Lessons that give you and your family members (or friends) the chance to learn how to ski/ride or build on your skills together. Parents with children ages 3 to 6 can opt for the Mini + Me Lesson, which lets you be a part of your child’s first experience on the snow and provides you with important coaching tips.
As we mentioned, the Cat Skiing yurt is located at the base area. This is where you’ll meet and attend orientation should you decide to take part in a Cat Skiing excursion. With a Cat Skiing trip, you’ll enjoy access to over 1,600 acres of expert terrain, including glades, chutes, bowls, and more. The trip includes lunch and a celebratory beer once your day is done.
If you’ll be in need of childcare during your ski vacation and you have a little one, ages 3 to 6, you can take advantage of Monarch’s Child Care Program. Their trained and certified staff will keep the kiddos safe, entertained, and engaged with games, outdoor activities, and more. They offer hourly schedules as well as half- and full-day care programs. If you don’t want your little one to miss out on any of the ski resort fun, you can include a private or group ski or snowboard lesson with their day care program. Lunch and snacks are included with half- and full-day programs. Advanced reservations are recommended.
One of the nice things about Monarch is that beginner- and intermediate-level skiers and riders aren’t relegated to just hanging around the base area. Those who want to head all the way up to the top will often have several choices of green and/or blue runs to take them all the way back down. You can count on plenty of smooth and well-groomed trails. This doesn’t mean that more advanced skiers and riders will be left out. Opportunities for tree skiing and moguls abound. Expert skiers will love the hike-to-terrain of Mirkwood Basin, which was previously only accessible with a Cat Skiing excursion. Mirkwood Basin is about a 10- to 20-minute hike from the top of the Breezeway Lift.
Lodging for Your Ski Vacation
If you need lodging for your ski vacation, Creekside Chalet and Cabins would love to be your home-away-from-home. We’re a proud lodging partner of Monarch Mountain. As such, we’re offering Stay & Ski Packages for the 2017-18 ski season. You’ll be able to take advantage of discounted lodging and lift tickets. If you have any questions or would like to reserve a package, give us a call at (710) 539-6953 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.