How was skiing at Monarch Mountain? It was phenomenal, but unfortunately, I was not prepared for it at least on the first day of skiing.
As I noted in the previous installment I did not have a great breakfast. So by mid-way through the first day my legs were jelly and I went into the base place hoping to get them firmed up again, but it was not happening. Too bad and that is a mistake I will never make again. Have a generous breakfast before skiing.
The second day I managed to get a full day of skiing in and I took my camera with me for a fair amount of the skiing.
While some resorts market themselves as being for advanced skiers, Monarch is not one of them. You should be able to find a ski trail suited for your skill level, whether that level is tame greens or nasty fear inducing double black diamonds. The one thing you may be surprised about though, is Monarch Mountain does not offer a lot of vertical. Only 1,162 vertical drop feet from the top to the base. If you want elevation though, Monarch Mountain’s base is at 10,790 feet above sea level!
I can not recall the exact runs I stuck to, but there were a couple of runs I really enjoyed running. I want to say they were The Great Divide and Snowburn, but I do recall skiing Skywalker (fantastic vistas and scenery there) and then taking a low to mid level blue back down the the base. It was off of Skywalker I saw some blues that I was getting the nerve up to ski, but unfortunately by the time my nerve was up, my legs were not.
Not only was I able to find runs suitable to me, most of those runs were groomed. At the time I was there I was pretty much a strict groomed runner. I could ski powder and chopped powder but would need to get myself worked up into it. Still, the blue I was working my way up to was groomed but steep and it was the steepness that I shied away from. However, it was plenty wide and it should have been fairly easy to spend enough time out of the fall line to keep the speed reasonable.
The weather was cool, but sunny. All of us who live in cold climes understand that means nice. The weather during the day was not too cold with night lows around 0° F. I can not recall how warm or cold it was during the skiing but it was nice with no difficulties staying warm. Remember too, you are skiing and skiing hard so that will get you blood up and flowing keeping you warm. I do not recall strong winds either.
The lodge was so-so, a good place to sleep and they served a great breakfast, which I took full advantage of the second day. The rooms were very basic and if you are searching for opulent digs do not stay at Monarch Mountain Resort, however, not wanting to pay for opulence and interested in skiing the digs were fine. They had a swimming pool and an outdoor hot-tub. I regret not bringing my camera to take photographs of that, especially of my tropical treasure sitting in the tub with snow flakes falling into her hair.
Since Monarch Mountain is a small resort in comparison to others available in Colorado and since we were there mid-week, the crowd was very thin and we were skiing chair to chair. The lift service could have been faster but it gave a lot of time to give the legs a break form their efforts. The trails were mostly ours and ours alone. I had to ski around a mother and son pair once and they were stationary due to his crash. I stopped to make sure they were fine (they were) and skied on. Other than that the only people really around me were my ski buddies. It seems the regulars were off skiing the runs and trails I would not even think of skiing on.
Would I return to Monarch Mountain? Yes I would and I would recommend Monarch Mountain to you too. If you want luxurious accommodations then you probably will have to drive down to Salida or elsewhere, and even then I’m not certain you will find it. If you are skiing Monarch you are there for the skiing and not for the luxury or the nightlife. Will I return? I do not know, there are so many ski resorts to choose from. However, I think it likely we might trip out to Monarch Mountain again.
No numeric ratings due to this being a long time ago.