Brought to you by Monarch Mountain on 18th February 2020
RFID? No, a paper ticket with bar code. High-speed lifts? No, fixed-grip two-seaters. Snowpack built on man-made snow? Definitely not, 100% natural snow here! Luxurious, warm changing room and lockers? Nope, change in your car. Gourmet lunch and a glass of chardonnay? Hell no, a slice of pizza and a coffee!
And you know what, I LOVE it! This is how skiing should be, at a real resort. No multi-resort pass here, just people who are passionate about skiing and riding, and just being in the mountains.
We warmed up with a couple of runs off the Garfield chair, and the snow was awesome. Super light and fluffy, blower pow. 4″ was reported in the morning, but it was skiing more like double that.
We didn’t wait in one single lift line all day. Panorama chair was super fun; Mirage, High Anxiety, and Sheer-Rocko all with untracked, boot deep, light powder. The snow was super forgiving, bumps underneath filled in allowing the occasional face-shot. A couple of runs off Breezeway before lunch were even better, the wonderfully named Shagnasty was awesome, and our first taste of Mirkwood, dropping in before we had to hike anywhere, rewarded us with even more knee-deep powder in the trees.
Our final run before lunch was the recommended Gunbarrel. Gunbarrel was the first run at the resort back in 1939. A long, steep, heavily-moguled run originally served by a tow rope powered by a Ford engine when it was first opened, skiers used to just send it from top to bottom on planks of wood attached to their feet. And send it we did, super fun run, best of the morning.
After lunch, we were lucky enough to be joined by Monarch employees who hooked us up with snowmobile tows to the top of Mirkwood, saving us a 15-minute hike each time. Thanks, guys!
All runs were epic, Mirkwood Bowl and Mirkwood trees were some of the best turns I’ve made anywhere this season. Knee deep, untracked light powder in a variety of tight and open trees. Mirkwood closed at 2:30, so we headed over to Garfield, skied Christmas Tree and No Name. Unbelievably, we were still finding fresh tracks in the trees and on the sides. Wow!
Welcome back to the 90s… Monarch Mountain is a super fun mountain, a real mountain, with skiing just how it should be.