Monarch Mountain is not one to rest on its laurels, so to speak. This looks to be a fine season at one of my favorite ski areas, nestled at high altitude atop Monarch Pass between Salida and Buena Vista on one side and Gunnison on the other.
Monarch recently announced $1.3 million in ski area improvements, a killer season pass with 21 different partner mountains far and wide that honor the pass with either three days of free skiing or deeply discounted rates (see below for details on who and how much), and Monarch’s fall road show schedule where you can pick up a pass and meet the fine people who make Monarch Monarch.
First, let’s get into the season pass deal and how the partnership with the 21 different mountains works, exactly… Monarch Mountain has added three more areas to its list of pass partners: Telluride and Ski Cooper in Colorado and Ski Apache in New Mexico. All three are now offering three days of free skiing/riding to Monarch Mountain season pass holders. Monarch Mountain passes are accepted at nine Colorado areas, six New Mexico areas and areas in Utah, Wyoming, California, Michigan, Arizona and British Columbia, Canada.
Colorado areas include Loveland, Durango, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Sol Vista Basin, Silverton, Ski Cooper, Telluride and, of course, Monarch Mountain. There are six ski areas in New Mexico that honor the Monarch Mountain season pass: Taos, Angel Fire, Red River, Pajarito, Sipapu and Ski Apache.
In Utah, Altaoffers Monarch Mountain pass holders half-price tickets all season while Grand Targhee, Wyoming and Revelstoke, British Columbia offer free skiing/riding to Monarch Mountain season pass holders. China Peak, California, Arizona Snowbowl and Indianhead, Michigan round out Monarch Mountain’s pass partner team for the 2011-12 season.
Revelstoke, British Columbia, returns this season with an offer that includes three days of free skiing/riding and half-price lodging at the Nelsen Lodge located at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Monarch Mountain skiers/riders who used their pass benefits last winter in Revelstoke came home with excellent accounts of a great mountain complemented by a charming town.
Most of Monarch Mountain’s pass partners offer three days of free lift tickets, but some offers vary. For the full list and the deals each partner mountain offers Monarch pass holders, click here.
Season passes are on sale for $339 (adult price) through Nov. 6. Other prices are available on the website at www.skimonarch.com. You can also call 719-530-5105 for more info.
Here are the Season Pass Road Show Dates in Colorado this fall…
Oct. 8, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Oct. 14, The Edge, Pueblo, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 22, Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nov. 4-6, Ski & Snowboard Expo, Denver
Ski Area Improvements
A new 450-foot covered conveyor lift is being installed at the base of the mountain serving the Snowflake beginner terrain. The new lift will be named Caterpillarto go with Monarch Mountain’s butterfly brand. Conveyor lifts run along the surface of the snow making it very easy for beginner skiers and snowboarders to load and unload the lift. The clear Plexiglas cover will protect riders from the elements as they go up the mountain.
The Tumbelinalift’s mid-way unloading station that provided access to Snowflake will be removed so skiers and riders will not have the confusing option of where to unload.Tumbelinawill still continue to access Freeway, Beeline, Little Jo and Rookie.
Beginner lift tickets, rental equipment and lesson packages will not only be affordable but more comfortable for the beginner skiers and riders with Caterpillar as the new surface lift.Snowflake will continue as a great beginner area for lessons and those needing a gentle slope to get their “ski legs” back under them.
New rental equipment: Monarch Mountain is adding 200 new sets of HEAD skis, boots and bindings this year to the fleet of 600 sets that were purchased for the 2010-11 season. New high-end demo equipment from K2, Volkl, Dynastar and Salomon is also being brought in this season.Never Summer snowboards is providing new 2011-12 boards for the new Never Summer Demo Center that will be located in the Rental/Lesson Center.
Faster registration gets you on the mountain quicker: Monarch Mountain has invested $50,000 in computer network upgrades to speed transactions at the area. Registration time for lessons and rentals will be easier for the guest; the process will be simpler with less paperwork getting you on the snow faster. Monarch Mountain’s online reservation system for season passes, lift tickets and gift cards will also be streamlined creating easier and quicker transactions.
Paved paradise: Monarch Mountain’s main parking lot has been completely covered in asphalt this summer, so gone are the days of collecting mud on the bottoms of your boots and your car.
An improvement we will all appreciate: Continuing with simple pleasures, the restrooms in the Main Lodge have been remodeledfrom top to bottom withnew entrances, new flooring, new fixtures, new tile, new partitions and new paint. The restroom remodel will help improve the experience for everyone.
New cat for Monarch Snowcat Tours: A new Prinoth 350 Snowcat, with a custom cabin has been ordered for Monarch Snowcat Tours. This new cat will be more efficient and faster.
Odds and ends: Other improvements that will affect the guest experience arean additional Brita Hydration Station in the Main Lodge anda new communications center next to the Season Pass Desk, which houses a weather station and flat screen that will display the snow report, event information, road reports and any other announcements.
Freshie’s Deli, the popular addition to Monarch Mountain’s food and beverage venues last season, hasacquired a new toasting oven. Toasted sandwiches will be added to the already fresh, quick and delicious menu.
New maze direction and dividers on Panorama. This upper mountain lift will now have lift lines coming in from the west side with new vinyl panel maze dividers to keep lines organized and orderly.