Monarch Ski Area
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|Monarch Ski Area|
|Location||Chaffee County, Colorado, United States|
|Nearest city||Salida, Colorado|
|Top elevation||11,960 feet (3,650 m)|
|Base elevation||10,790 feet (3,290 m)|
|Skiable area||800 acres (3.2 km2)|
|Runs||63 total |
|Longest run||1 mile (1.6 km)|
|Lift system||5 total (1 quad chair, 4 double chairs|
|Snowfall||400 in/year (1016 cm/year)|
Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area is a ski resort located in the state of Colorado. It is twenty miles (32 km) west of Salida, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50. The resort is situated on Monarch Pass, at the continental divide and has 54 trails, two terrain parks, and an extreme terrain area called Mirkwood. The Monarch Mountain Lodge is located three miles (5 km) east of the ski area in the town of Garfield, Colorado. Monarch is open daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM from mid-November to early April. One of the most famous runs is at the top of the mountain called Skywalker, which follows the ridgeline. Ten minutes away from the mountain is the Monarch Mountain Hotel.
Monarch first opened in 1939 with one rope tow running up the infamous Gunbarrel run, a long, steep, heavily moguled run. The tow rope was powered by a Chevy engine when it was first opened. Monarch has been owned and sold many times and is currently owned by many separate parties, none owning more than 25%.
A Sprung building was built in 2007 to be the new home for the ski school and rental shop. The ski school offers lessons for all ages and abilities in all three disciplines(ski, snowboard, and telemark). You can sign up for group lessons or private(one on one or two on one)lessons. All equipment needed for the three disciplines are available for rent from the rental shop. The rental shop also offers tune ups and waxing.
The run formerly known as Slo-Motion, was developed into the K2 terrain park in 2008. It is composed of all natural features, including logs, stumps, and jumps. However the run can be used by anyone, even if they have no intent of going off any of the features. However, it was filled with gear from the Aftershock! terrain park. It is now known as the Never Summer terrain park. There is a small park at the base of the panorama double chairlift. There is also the Aftershock terrain park, which is located next to Freeway, that comes down right to the base in front of the lodge. This gives people in the lodge and on the deck a great view. This is Monarch's terrain park that hosts multiple competitions throughout the season.
Monarch Ski Area is named after Monarch Pass, at which it is near the top of, and the associated Monarch Mountain. Monarch pass and Monarch mountain themselves, are named after the 19th-century town Monarch, which was razed by the DOT to make way for US 50. No word on what the abandoned ghost town of Monarch was named after, as these Elk were not called "Monarch" until far after the town was gone. (Remains of Monarch, the ghost town, can be seen above the current town known as Garfield. -Ken Jessen's Ghost Towns : Colorado Style vol 3)