Ready for something truly different? Maybe it's time for you to head south. Far from the now-typical high-dollar resort, Monarch is all about the skiing and snowboarding. You won't find cushy lifts, just awesome skiing. There are no real estate developments nearby and you'll find no shopping malls or facade villages. What you will find is 350 inches of snow in back-country alpine terrain and a lot of very happy, smiling faces.
Though the mountain has a lot of advanced terrain, it's still all about the skiing. The ski instruction is some of the best around—because the instructors really care. They remember their first days on skis and want you to have awesome memories! Packages include lift tickets, instruction, and gear rental. As always, the area is about the visitors having a great time on awesome slopes in a down-to-earth environment. The challenges and waist-deep powder are just waiting for you. Snowcat excursions can make the backcountry ski adventure of a lifetime come true. The mountain offers 14 percent of the trails for beginners, 28 percent for intermediate skiers, 27 percent are considered advanced, and 31 percent are ranked for expert skiers. Of course, snowboarders are welcome and accommodated by an ever-improving terrain park.
Just as friendly as things are on the mountain, the town of Salida offers pubs and live music and all kinds of restaurants and micro-breweries. In Salida, you'll find folks living the good life in the Rockies, and sincerely want you to share in their joy. You'll begin to recognize the difference between this ski area and all the more commercial ski resorts almost immediately, and the difference only gets better the longer you stay. This is what the others work so hard to imitate—truly warm-natured, good-hearted people having a great time! Whether you want a nice quiet meal or a rousing round and a sing-along with local talent, no matter what, you're going to find yourself letting go and enjoying the mountain and the nightlife here.
Though it's southern Colorado, you're still in the Rocky Mountains. Several light layers and a breathable, waterproof powder jacket are needed. Be mindful that wind chill can drop temperatures dramatically, be sure to ski runs within your ability, and bother to get the benefit of the great instructor teams available. You're going to have a great time at Monarch Mountain. Like most, you'll find yourself feeling at home and returning time after time, year after year, making it your ski resort town!
The mountain gets 350 inches of powdery white snow per year, has five lifts, a fixed quad, and four double chairs. It features over 50 trails with the longest run of 5,280 feet. The runs are rated 14 percent for beginner, 28 percent intermediate, 27 percent advanced, and a very exciting 31 percent expert, which is one of the highest expert percentages in the country.
The mountain also has three parks with some very distinctive features. Ricochet is the top quality expert park with rollers, tabletop jumps, long spines, double barrel rainbow, trapezoid and flat rails, flat and roller coaster boxes, as well as an S box and a quarterpipe wall with a six-foot jib rail. Aftershock is for the intermediate to advanced snowboarder with handrails, boxes, tabletops and a double barrel rainbow rail. Slo Motion is for the beginner to intermediate boarder featuring multiple quarterpipe walls and rollers, log slides, tabletop jumps, and hips.
The area is surrounded by the awesome pine and aspen wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest, which offers ample opportunities for remote exploration and recreation. Monarch Snowcat Tours are an absolute must for the time of your life. In town, the Salida Skate Park is your chance to try out some concrete rather than snow for your tricks. Built by Team Pain, this skate park features bowls with three different depths, great coping, speedlines, hips, and corners plus a full street course. When it’s time for some warm water fun, check out the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center featuring the state’s largest indoor hot springs pool, including a four-foot deep pool of a relaxing 100 degrees. You might even want to try your hand at Rocky Mountain Mini Golf or Super Bowl Lanes.
People don’t go here for metropolitan all-night action, but the attractive and friendly town of Salida offers a lot of local Old West color to make sure you’ll always find something fun to do. Benson’s Tavern has pool tables and a great outdoor patio to mix and mingle. Bongo Billy’s Salida Cafe features live performances on the weekends, which is fantastic for the under 21 crowd. The Victoria Tavern is always a great place for a brew, and the Mountain Spirit Winery is the place to go to try some of that award-winning vintage. And don’t forget to check out Monarch’s Gunbarrel Cafe and Sidewinder Saloon for some fun next to the slopes.