6 Winter Secrets at Monarch Mountain Ski Area

Head to Monarch Country this winter for skiing and snowboarding at Salida’s best-kept secret: the family-friendly Monarch Mountain Ski Area. Here are six winter secrets you gotta know.

A group of skiers and snowboarders stand on the slopes with mountains in the background
Monarch Mountain skiers and snowboarders
A ski slope with snowy mountain views
Monarch Mountain views
A couple smiles as they carry their skis to the slopes
Monarch Mountain skiers
A single skier races down the slopes with snow-covered mountains in the distance
Skiing at Monarch Mountain near Salida
A skier flies through the air while going down snowy slopes
Skier gets air at Monarch Mountain
Powdery snow sprays up as a skier goes down a slope
Powder skiing at Monarch Mountain
A person makes a snow angel in a drift of snow with a Snow Cat in the background
Cat skiing at Monarch Mountain
A costumed skier flies through the air at a ski resort
A monarch-costumed skier at Monarch Mountain
A family smiles in a snow tube at a ski resort
Snowtubing at Monarch Mountain

1. Monarch’s snow is 100-percent natural

Monarch Mountain Ski Area fully depends on natural snowfall, meaning all the light and fluffy turns you make are done in unspoiled conditions straight from Mother Nature. Annual average snowfall is 350 inches and the typical ski and snowboard season lasts five months. Check Monarch Mountain’s daily winter conditions for recent snow measurements, open trails and live webcams.

2. There are 130 acres of double-black, hike-to terrain

Find your secret stash at glorious Mirkwood Basin, where your group can enjoy ungroomed, backcountry terrain that includes steep chutes and open bowls only reachable via hiking or Monarch Mountain’s snowcat. Those who recreate here must carry avalanche-safety gear — like beacons, probes, shovels and more  — and have the proper safety training. Pro tip: Protect your noggin by always wearing a helmet and expect a 20-minute hike to the summit.

3. You can take a break at the tubing park

Zip down a groomed tubing chute, then ride the magic carpet up, so you can shoot down the powdery hill again and again. Tubing-park riders need to be 36 inches tall and wear the proper gear, like warm clothing, weatherproof outwear, eye protection and more. You can secure your spot online or call 719-530-5196 for a reservation.

4. You can earn your turns

If you like to work for your ski and snowboard turns by skinning up a run (that means skiing up with special gear), not to worry — uphill travel on Monarch Mountain is permitted. You just need an uphill pass, the right equipment and the gumption to get your heart rate waaaay up. Here’s Monarch Mountain’s uphill-access policy

5. Parking is free

You heard it right — parking at Monarch Mountain is free to its arriving skiers and snowboarders. Even better, no matter where you’re parked in Monarch’s lots, you’re never far from the ski area’s base. Those traveling in electric cars can charge for free, too. Pro tip: Parking is first come, first served, so plan accordingly (especially if you want to shred during peak times, like the holidays).

6. Monarch is home to an extra delicious bloody mary 

Ready for an après treat? Monarch’s spicy signature bloody mary drink is served with a stick of bacon if you ask. Inviting ski-area dining spots include The Sidewinder Saloon, Elmo’s Bar, GunBarrel Cafeteria, Fly-By Burritos, Shredders Grill and Java Stop Coffee Shop. 

Want more?

See a map of Monarch Mountain
Find ticket information
Take a lesson
Learn about snowmobiling in Salida and Buena Vista

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