Jay went to Monarch and had an awesome day!
With a weekday off from cranking out tunes and a haphazard plan with a buddy, I woke up at the traditional time the average Denverite gets up to go ski at one of the "metro resorts" (7:00 am) and burned rubber down 285 instead of I-70. I wasn't headed toward the tunnel or the traffic that backs up near Idaho Springs; I was going to Monarch, an easily accessible mountain right outside of Salida. The drive was absolutely beautiful. When you go make sure to pay extra attention to the road because your eyes will be diverted to the majesty of the mountains along the way.
I arrived by 10:00 am with the sun shining, a true blue bird day. After a couple of warm up runs, we took our skis and snowboard into the trees to find out what was at the heart of this mountain. What we found, was pure gnar. It had snowed two days before our excursion, but we found fresh tracks on all 13 runs.
We even did a little bit of hiking to hit some exciting looking lines (and work off the incredible burritos we ate for lunch at the lodge.) By the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that Monarch is the perfect mountain. Do you want to bring a beginner? Great, there is nice, mellow, groomed terrain throughout the mountain and a dedicated beginner lift. Do you want to bomb steeper trails and get your carve on while trying to break your speed record on your Trace Snow App? Yes, Monarch has it covered. How about wide trees? Tight trees? Steeps? Cliffs? Fear not my friends, the mountain delivered it all, with a few face shots to boot. The best part is that it feels like you have the whole mountain to yourself. With plenty of terrain to spread out on, it's still easy to find your family or friends at the base.
Okay, so how much does it cost compared to other resorts? Monarch is really reasonable. Their adult day passes are $89 at the window, or you can save some dough and pre-purchase the passes online. Better yet, stop by Evergreen Mountain Sports and pick up an adult ticket for only $64! Just be prepared to end your day with a sweet goggle tan, tired legs, and an epic story of that 15 footer you hucked... it was really more like 25 feet wasn't it ; )