If you’re looking for a great ski area that’s affordable, fun and family friendly, you may want to check out Monarch Mountain. This small Southern Colorado ski resort is located on the crest of Monarch Pass, and offers an enjoyable mix of terrain, snow and facilities. The mountain is a three-hour drive from Denver, and is about two and a half hours from Colorado Springs. It’s also about 20 minutes from Salida. Those seeking lodging in the area can choose from a variety of options, including a lodge, a hotel or a motel. If you’re interested in a more rustic option, there are also cabins and rentals available.
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, there are also a number of other outdoor activities to partake in while staying at Monarch Mountain. For instance, the lodge has an indoor pool and an outdoor hot tub, as well as a number of off-mountain activities. Other amenities include a day spa, a restaurant, and a children’s center. The area also offers coordinated spring and summer rafting tours.
The side of the mountain that you should know about is the Sidewinder Saloon, which offers a full bar and local craft beers. The Breezeway Chairlift is another useful item to know about. This chairlift takes you up to the Mirkwood bowl, which is wide and open. The area is also home to steep chutes and glades, and it’s often the first place many skiers visit on a powder day.
Aside from the side of the mountain, the Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area has two terrain parks, the Tilt and the Never Summer. The Tilt is a double chairlift that’s accompanied by a terrain park with all-natural features. This was a fairly innovative feat, and it’s one of the most popular attractions at the resort. The K2 terrain park is a similar design that was added to the slopes in 2008. Previously known as Slo-Motion, it was renamed Steel City in 2008.
The Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area also has a few other amenities, including a hiker day pass, a children’s center, and a coin operated laundry room. The area is open for business from mid-November through early April. The resort also has a shuttle service, so it’s easy to get from the hotel to the slopes.
For those who want to stay closer to the action, there are a few options in Gunnison, which is about twenty miles west of the ski area. Other nearby towns, such as Poncha Springs and Buena Vista, offer a range of lodging choices.
While you’re in the area, you’ll want to check out the Monarch Mountain Lodge, located just under four miles from the ski area. It has 90 rooms with panoramic mountain views and a handful of fun on-mountain activities. Aside from the aforementioned on-mountain offerings, the lodge is also a couple of miles from the Continental Divide Trail. You can even take a guided tour of the national forest if you’re looking for a different view of the mountains.