Monarch Mountain

Ski resorts in USA
People might have been skiing in the surrounding area since 1914, but it was not until the late 1930s that Monarch Mountain officially opened for business. Built through the Works Progress Administration, the ski area was one of the many public works projects built under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" and opened in 1939.

The Colorado Springs Airport is the closest commercial airfield to the ski area, but long-distance flights can also come into Denver International Airport. Motorists can use Interstate 25 along the foothills before US Routes 24, 285, and 50 close the gap to Salida, east of the ski resort.

Winter Fun on the Mountain Pass

Visitors to the Monarch Mountain ski area will be enjoying themselves on top of the continental divide, the point along the U.S. where water drains towards the eastern or western portion of the country. The weather gets cold between December and March, with highs below freezing and nighttime temperatures in the single digits. Those coming here for fun in the snow need to keep those temperatures in mind (this is not skiing in SoCal).

Sitting atop the eastern ridge of the divide has its advantages, namely, lots of snow. The average annual snowfall at the Monarch Mountain ski area is 350 inches. That snow sticks around with the winter climate conditions, so there is no snowmaking equipment on the mountain slopes. These conditions still allow for an average season of five months between late November and early April.

The Monarch Mountain ski area offers lessons through its Ski & Ride School. There are also eight clinics for skiers and snowboarders to improve their skills on different mountain terrains. Children through teenagers have access to five programs and Team Monarch for those looking to compete. The lesson center is also the one-stop-shop for rentals.

On-mountain amenities include Elation Sports for shopping and drink/food centers at the main lodge or other locations on the slope. The Outpost is an off-mountain hub 20-miles east in Salida, and the town (along with Buena Vista and Gunnison) offers lodging options.

Plenty to do All Day Long

The Monarch Mountain ski area offers 800 acres of terrain, 670 accessible by lift. There are also over 1,600 acres of guided backcountry terrain to explore. Its base sits at 10,790 feet with a peak elevation of 11,952 feet. The 1,162-foot vertical will keep rippers and shredders busy inbound and out.

Monarch Mountain has 59 trails to explore (Mirkwood offers an additional eight hike-to runs). The longest run here is one mile, with half of the mountain dedicated to advanced or expert skilled guests. About 36-percent of the trails are black diamond and 12-percent double diamond ratings. Intermediate skiers and riders have 27-percent of the runs rating as blue, while beginners can enjoy the remaining green ratings at Monarch Mountain.

Two terrain parks offer a break from the alpine skiing, as does the CAT skiing and tubing park. Monarch Mountain also offers passes for those looking for some Uphill adventures. Seven lifts can shuffle 8,900 visitors around the resort each hour.

Monarch Mountain Snow forecast

  • Friday
    0.16 in rain
    7 mph
  • Saturday
    0.24 in rain
    Sun/clear sky
    5 mph
  • Sunday
    0 ft
    Partly cloudy
    8 mph

Facts about Monarch Mountain

Number of slopes:64
Easiest Green slopes:15
Intermediate Blue slopes:17
Advanced Black slopes:24
Expert Only Double black diamond slopes:8

Lifts (Total: 7)
Chair lifts:5
Platter lift:2
Lift capacity:  6100 persons/hour

Vertical drop
Monarch Mountain Vertical drop
Highest Point: 11949 ft
Vertical drop: 1161 ft
Base Point: 10787 ft

Country: USA
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Trail map

Trail map Monarch Mountain

Nearby ski resorts

Crested Butte Mountain Resort43.5 miles
Aspen Mountain53.4 miles
Aspen Highlands54.1 miles
Buttermilk55.3 miles
Snowmass58.4 miles
Cooper58.4 miles
Breckenridge68.4 miles
Copper Mountain69 miles

Airports near Monarch Mountain

Eagle County Regional Airport
Driving time: 2 hours, 39 minutes (135 miles)
Distance: 84 miles
Aspen Airport
Driving time: 3 hours, 47 minutes (198 miles)
Distance: 57 miles