Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

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Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:53 pm

As you may remember from my previous two visits in 2008 and 2017, Monarch rates amongst my favorite locals areas in North America, so when Tony confirmed what I'd heard -- that Wolf Creek and Monarch had the deepest bases of snow in Colorado -- the decision was easy for a weekend trip. I drove up Friday night and when I left my motel in Salida the next morning, things were looking passable in the valley; however, this sign on Route 50 leading to Monarch Pass along with the heavy cloudbank over the mountains told a different story:
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Halfway up the canyon, it looked like this:
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By the time I got to the ski area, it was snowing sideways. The skiing all day was fantastic with knee-deep powder everywhere except a handful of trails that they'd groomed. Unfortunately, 30+mph gusts froze my hands whenever I took them out of my mittens and prevented me from taking pix. One of the main lifts, the aptly named Breezeway, never opened due to wind hold.

Sunday morning was looking much more promising and when I pulled into the parking lot at 8 am, a ski patroller's untracked run with his dog bounding through the snow after him was a sign of good things to come:
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Not bad for December 15:
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The skies never quite cleared up so the pix from my beater camera (which doesn't do well in flat light) aren't the greatest, but here's how it was:
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Lots of relaxed meadow skipping:
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Reverse shot:
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Mirkwood Basin was closed for avy work, so I traversed left to Outback Bowl:
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Three shots of this lady:
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Three shots of her husband:
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The groomers were skiing nicely too:
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Given its modest vertical, Monarch has all fixed-grip chairs: one triple and three doubles. The latter bring a smile to upstate New York lift freaks:
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I walked right up to the plaque to see the date of manufacture but it was rubbed off -- I'm guessing early 1970s?
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My only regret was that I didn't bring my fat skis. A shame that I didn't see these guys doing demos until I was walking back to my car at the end of the day:
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A nice start to my season.
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jamesdeluxe
 
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Re: Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:12 am

Surely you will bring your fat skis to Colorado and leave them there until you go to the Alps in March.

Monarch left little impression upon me in 2001. Obviously it’s a different story with all that powder. Monarch is more continuous intermediate fall line vs. the alternating steep and flat at Wolf Creek.
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Re: Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

Postby EMSC » Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:22 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:I walked right up to the plaque to see the date of manufacture but it was rubbed off -- I'm guessing early 1970s?


Monarch has 4 Hall doubles in operation: Built in 1968, 1969, 1980 & 1981(newest of the doubles is the short beginner lift). I'm Guessing Panorama based on the pic, which was 1980.

Just so surprised you wanted to skip the I70 hassles ( :-D ).

Seem your new gig is already treating you nicely.
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Re: Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:08 pm

EMSC wrote:Monarch has 4 Hall doubles in operation: Built in 1968, 1969, 1980 & 1981

50-year-old lifts, they have no intention to replace them and absolutely no one complains: love it.
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Re: Monarch, CO: 12/15/19

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:35 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Monarch is more continuous intermediate fall line

For the most part true; however, there are a number of legitimate black pitches, both cut trails and in the trees.
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