Gee, sounds like similar reasons why I like Grand Targhee and Powder Mountain.
Is it fair to say that the drive from Taos to Salida is pretty straightforward, assuming not driving during a snowstorm? Have been trying to figure out a fun ski safari that includes Taos for a while. Especially since my ski buddy lives in Albuquerque.
Yes it is. You are just following the flats of the Rio Grande/San Luis valley all the way up, then over a low pass crossing at Poncha Pass. From the San Luis Valley side, you do so little climbing to get to the top you probably won't realize you are there until you see the sign.
Both Grand Targhee and Powmow get significantly more snow than Monarch. I think Monarch skier visits are about equal to Targhee, with Monarch probably seeing the visits more concentrated on weekends.
That said, Monarch sees a really low concentration of skiers on its advanced terrain. It always really surprises me how long fresh snow lasts there, even on cleared runs.