Monarch Mountain, CO: A Safe and Fun Mountain for All

Greg Obernesser | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article
snow, monarch mountain, Colorado,
Nothing better than power and family. Credit: Monarch Mountain

Brought to you by Monarch Mountain

Unquestionably, the 20’-21’ ski season will be a unique one due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its effects are already quite evident this season in long lift lines and limiting what seemed like unlimited customer options. Thankfully, Monarch Mountain is the perfect place this winter to ski with friends and family in the safest way possible. This place is known for family skiing, unique beginner terrain with no crowds, and a top tier ski school.

Monarch Mountain is first and foremost a family ski area. The family experience is at the core of Monarch Mountain’s ethos and is evident in many aspects. From first-hand experience, their staff is warm and welcoming; everyone is inviting and wants you to have as much fun as possible. The ski vibe is relaxed; no one is cursing under their breaths or in a panic rush to snag some line. Monarch has put some significant safety measures in place so that you and your loved ones can play in a safe environment during these uncertain times. Some of the efforts put in place are the following.

  • OPERATIONS: All guests must wear face coverings while in the lift line and while riding on lifts. Only family members or cohorts will be permitted to ride the lift together. Social distancing will be adhered to at each lift, and the lift lines will be spaced out. Face coverings will not be required for skiing and riding.
  • DINING: There are two new food trucks outside of the resort; Fly By Burritos and Shredders Grill. Booths with dividers have been installed in the Sidewinder Saloon. Barstools have also been removed for social distancing. The Picnic Room has been converted into overflow seating, and no outside food will be permitted. All outside food will need to be eaten in one’s vehicle. 
  • GUEST SERVICES: Face covering is mandatory indoors and outdoors, except for when riding or actively eating, at Monarch. All Monarch employees are required to wear face coverings and are actively screened for Covid-19 symptoms daily. Capacity limitations will affect the main lodge, and those that need shelter when the main lodge is at capacity will be advised to seek refuge in their vehicles. Day lockers will not be allowed, so keep personal items in your vehicle.

For all Covid-19 related safety measures, please check out Monarch Mountain’s Covid-19 Info page.    

snow, monarch mountain, Colorado,
Hucking cliffs into deep snow! Credit: Monarch Mountain

Monarch Mountain has some of the best beginner ski terrain in Colorado, if not the West, and fun terrain for skiers and riders of all ability levels. Are you new to skiing or snowboarding? Are you someone that wants to pick the sport back up after a few seasons off? Are you looking for incredible runs to teach your children? If so, Monarch Mountain is the spot for you.

With 15 beginner/easy trails to choose from and a covered “magic carpet” lift (Caterpillar), you will have plenty of options to sharpen your skills or teach loved ones how to ride. But there is much more. Monarch also has fun ski runs for intermediate and advanced riders. There are plenty of intermediate trails peppered all over the mountain that are perfect for the skier looking to sharpen their skills or ratchet up the intensity level. On the extreme end of the scale, there are some fantastic advanced to expert runs at Monarch ranging from steep trees and big open faces, including the Mirkwood hike-to area. Mirkwood is a hike-to-terrain area with hero lines, steep chutes, and spaced trees with powdery meadows; a must if you are looking for dreamy powder lines.

The other fantastic perk about Monarch Mountain is there are NO LIFT LINES. Many avid SnowBrains readers will occasionally come across pictures of outrageous lift lines at most Colorado ski resorts where they extend and wrap around like a never-ending maze. I have skied Monarch many times, from massive weekend powder days to peak holiday days. From personal experience, I can say that any lift line is never longer than 15 minutes and is significantly fractional to the rest of Colorado ski resorts. For more info about the terrain, make sure you check out Monarch’s Conditions page for all open lifts and runs. 

family, monarch mountain, Colorado,
Family skiing at Monarch Mountain! Credit: Monarch Mountain

Monarch Mountain’s ski school is full of industry professionals that want to take your skills to the next level. Let’s face it, skiing is a sport with a steep learning curve. All the funky gear and techniques for particular terrain can easily overload someone new to the sport. Luckily, Monarch Mountain has a deep and extremely talented ski school that can shorten that curve. They have a plethora of ski lesson types. You can pick from Family, Private, Mini + Me, Early Bird, or Private Upgrade lessons. One of the most popular lesson packages is the Mini + Me option, where you can be a part of your child’s ski lesson. It is a unique option where you can watch first hand the development of your child’s skills and enjoy the mountain with them. For more information regarding rates and general information about Monarch ski lessons, check out their Lessons page

town, salida, colorado,
Beautiful Salida, Colorado mid-winter. Credit: Colorful Colorado

Lastly, Monarch is close to the incredibly quaint and affordable town of Salida. For those of you that have never been to Chaffee County, or south of the I-70 corridor, Salida is a hidden gem of a town. I really shouldn’t be sharing this information in fear of one of my favorite mountain/river towns getting overrun. Salida is an old rustic western town with great dining and lodging options with breathtaking views of mountains that overlook the Arkansas River. The last time I went down and skied Monarch, I stayed at the Manhattan Hotel. It was an incredible experience with very modern rooms that overlooked the river and scenic downtown. All the restaurants in the downtown area have delicious options and fun dive bars for you to experience the local nightlife. 

Bottom line, Monarch Mountain is a family ski area that cares about your safety and can provide a fantastic experience to people looking for short lift lines and a world-class ski school. 

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