Family-Friendly Skiing at Monarch Ski Resort in Colorado


Monarch Ski Resort, located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, boasts an impressive 350 inches of natural snowfall annually. This family-friendly ski area has been operating since 1939, making it one of the oldest in the state. With a base elevation of nearly 11,000 feet, Monarch offers a true Rocky Mountain skiing experience without the crowds and high prices of larger resorts.


  • Monarch Ski Resort features diverse terrain, including beginner-friendly slopes and advanced challenges.
  • The resort is known for its high-quality snow, largely due to its location in the Colorado Rockies.
  • Monarch Mountain offers a range of amenities, including rental equipment, lessons, and dining options.

Planning Your Trip to Monarch Ski Resort

Choosing the Best Time to Visit

The ski season at Monarch Mountain typically runs from late November through early April, depending on weather conditions. For the best snow, plan your visit between January and March, when the resort receives the majority of its snowfall. Keep in mind that holidays and weekends tend to be busier and more expensive than weekdays.

Transportation Options

Monarch Ski Resort is located about 150 miles southwest of Denver and 20 miles west of Salida, Colorado. The most convenient way to reach the resort is by car via Highways 285 and 50. Colorado Springs (COS) and Denver International (DEN) are the nearest airports if flying. From there, you can rent a car or book a shuttle service to the resort.

Accommodation Options

While lodging is not available directly at the base of Monarch Ski Resort, there are plenty of nearby options. The town of Salida, just 20 minutes away, offers a variety of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals to suit different budgets and preferences. Book your accommodations well in advance for the best rates and availability, especially during peak season.

On the Slopes at Monarch Ski Resort

Terrain and Lift Information

Monarch’s 800 acres of skiable terrain cater to all skill levels, with 23% beginner runs, 25% intermediate, 38% advanced, and 14% expert. The resort has 6 lifts, including 1 quad chair, 4 double chairs, and 1 surface lift. Lift tickets can be purchased online in advance for discounted rates or at the ticket window upon arrival.

Ski and Snowboard Schools

Whether you’re a first-time skier or looking to improve your technique, Monarch’s snowboard and ski school has you covered. Group lessons are available for ages 7 and up, while private lessons can be booked for all ages and abilities. The resort also offers specialty clinics and workshops throughout the season.

Equipment Rentals

Monarch Ski Area’s rental shop, Elation Sports, carries a wide range of ski and snowboard equipment for all ages and skill levels. Renting equipment in advance online can save you time and money, but rentals are also available on a walk-in basis. Elation Sports also sells clothing and accessories if you forget any essential items like gloves or goggles.

Amenities and Off-Slope Activities

Dining Options

When it’s time to refuel, Monarch offers several on-mountain dining options. The Sidewinder Saloon serves up hearty fare like burgers and chili, while the Java Stop offers quick bites and hot drinks. Head to the Gunbarrel Grill for a sit-down meal.

Family and Non-Skier Activities

In addition to skiing and snowboarding, the Monarch Ski Area offers a variety of other winter activities. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular ways to explore the surrounding wilderness. The resort also has a tubing hill and a small terrain park for those looking for a different kind of thrill.

Staying Safe and Enjoying Your Visit

Safety on the Slopes

The Monarch Mountain Ski Area ski patrol works hard to ensure the safety of all guests. Be sure to follow the skier responsibility code and stay within your skill level. If you’re venturing into the backcountry, always carry proper avalanche safety gear and check the local avalanche forecast.

Health and Medical Facilities

Monarch has a fully equipped first aid room staffed by trained professionals in case of injury or illness. For more serious medical needs, the nearest hospital is Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida. To prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, and give yourself time to acclimate before hitting the slopes.


What is the best time of year to visit Monarch Ski Resort for optimal skiing conditions?

The best time to visit Monarch for prime snow conditions is typically January through March. However, the resort can receive significant snowfall as early as November and as late as April.

Are there accommodations available directly at the resort?

No, Monarch Ski Resort does not have any lodging directly at the base. However, there are plenty of accommodation options in the nearby town of Salida, just 20 minutes away.

What kind of ski passes are available, and how can they be purchased?

Monarch offers a variety of lift ticket options, including single-day, multi-day, and season passes. For the best rates, tickets can be purchased online in advance or at the ticket window upon arrival.

What facilities are available for beginners and children at Monarch Ski Resort?

Monarch has a dedicated beginner area serviced by the Tumbelina and Caterpillar lifts. The resort’s snowboard and ski school offers group and private lessons for all ages and abilities.

Are there any special events or competitions held at Monarch Mountain Ski Area?

Monarch hosts several events throughout the season, including the Monarch Ski Bus Snowboard Race Series and the Kayaks on Snow competition. Check the resort’s event calendar for upcoming festivities.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.