Hidden Gems: Monarch Mountain

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 5.43.32 PM . On top of Monarch Pass in south central Colorado near Salida sits Monarch Mountain. I had the privilege of skiing there right after the new year and was pleasantly surprised by my experience. Monarch is a quaint, intimate resort that boasts "Lose the crowds not your friends".  The mountain offers 670 skiable acres with lift access, and 1000 more on top of that accessible by Monarch's renowned cat skiing operation. While I did not have the chance to jump in the cat during this visit I saw the terrain and I can't wait to go back! .

[caption id="attachment_1632" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 2.03.19 PM Click image for more details on Monarch Cat Skiing.[/caption]

. The skiing was great at Monarch, the terrain is nicely mixed and they still had fresh snow in the trees days after the storm. Monarch is a great place to for all ages and ability levels. There is something for everyone in bounds, and for the progressing intermediate to expert level skier the cat skiing zone offers everything from low angle trees to steeps and cliff drops. I had a fun time taking laps inbounds and finding little airs and powder pockets while taking in spectacular views of the San Isabel National Forest. .

[caption id="attachment_1635" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 2.59.49 PM Fun skiing some fresh snow on the Nomad RKR SKNY[/caption]

. . Monarch distance . One of my favorite things about Monarch is the friendly, laid back vibe. Everyone from the employees in the cafeteria to the lifties and patrollers and management were so nice and seemed so stoked. Big ups to Greg Ralph for being awesome and testing some of our new skis. I smiled when Greg said in the most genuine way that the Nomad RKR SKNY was "the best ski I have ever skied on",  he and I see eye to eye on some things. .

Monarch chair . If you're looking for a new place to see and ski in Colorado I highly recommend checking out Monarch, and for all you fellow Denverites out there that may be looking for a break from I-70 on the weekend, it's worth mentioning that you will spend the same amount of time commuting to Monarch as you would to and from Summit County on I-70 however here you will actually be driving and not sitting in traffic so keep that in mind. Monarch is a great place to go with friends and family, and is a great place to dabble in some guided backcountry skiing if that suits you. . Here is a cool video showing an aerial tour of Monarch's terrain. _ _ Blog Entry By: Scotty VerMerris

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