or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Monarch in Feb, is it enough for a father and son from NH/VT?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Monarch in Feb, is it enough for a father and son from NH/VT? - Page 2

post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

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. 

post #32 of 54
Ne
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

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.

Land at DEN, (~4hr) drive to Taos to Wolf Creek to Monarch to Aspen to DEN. Sounds like quite a trip. Never been to Wolf Creek or Monarch, but Google Maps says about 2.5 hours between each leg of ski resorts.
post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
 


And Monarch has NO snowmaking.  Locals I talk with when I ski there are convinced that the high quality snow conditions they usually have is in part because they do not make snow, but it is "all natural".

 

This is a part of it, but altitude (base elevation is almost 10,800 feet!) and cold generate a lot of low water content snow.

 

Before Spring thaws, I notice a distinct difference between the quality of even packed in groomed snow at Monarch and pretty much the rest of the state. The snow quality really is super good.

post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
 


And Monarch has NO snowmaking.  Locals I talk with when I ski there are convinced that the high quality snow conditions they usually have is in part because they do not make snow, but it is "all natural".

 

This is a part of it, but altitude (base elevation is almost 10,800 feet!) and cold generate a lot of low water content snow.

 

Before Spring thaws, I notice a distinct difference between the quality of even packed in groomed snow at Monarch and pretty much the rest of the state. The snow quality really is super good.


Aah, so for me I should stay in Albuquerque for a few days to adjust to the altitude, then Taos for a Ski Week, then Monarch and whatever else.  Last March I spent a week in Denver and was almost ready for A-Basin on the way to Aspen.  If I weren't retired and able to plan trips that last 10 days or more, I would not be consider exploring Colorado at all because of the relatively high altitude compared to other good options out west.

post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
Is it fair to say that the drive from Taos to Salida is pretty straightforward, assuming not driving during a snowstorm?

Yes, it is pretty straightforward.  It is flat through the San Luis Valley all the way except for Poncha pass, just south of Salida, and that is about as easy as a Colorado pass gets, even in a snowstorm.

post #36 of 54

The drive from Salida up to Monarch you do not want to attempt during bad weather without a 4x4 or AWD.  I feel like I shouldn't need to say that to anyone on this board but I was surprised at the people I saw driving up there.

post #37 of 54

The friend being a local would probably have better advice than most here. So even though Colorado has more than a few options, Monarch with friends sounds great. As far as missing anything, it depends on what you were planning on doing off the hill more than on the hill. Driving for hours isn't high on my list of favorite things and when compared to hanging with friends the choice isn't even close. But that's me, Aspen and the rest will always be there and whose to say five years from now you wouldn't be in a better place to afford that sort of trip.

post #38 of 54

Should be fine for a third grader. When the base of the area is 10,800 ft snow making is unnecessary.

post #39 of 54
Quote:

Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

 

It always really surprises me how long fresh snow lasts there, even on cleared runs. 

 

+1. I was there last December on a powder day, and it was around 1pm, and I was on an easy black diamond (Picante), pretty much middle of the mountain. There were almost no tracks. I thought there had to have been something wrong -- I was waiting to hit rocks or some really slabby, grabby snow or something, but it was just great skiing. 

post #40 of 54

 

Enough said. Monarch on a powder day? Heaven.

post #41 of 54

Ssshshhhhhhhhhhhhhh

post #42 of 54

Oopsie?

post #43 of 54
Indeed. Nothing to see here down here. Everyone knows that the I70 corridor is the best place to ski in Colorado...
post #44 of 54


Timmyc:

 

Thought I'd give you an opinion concerning Monarch from someone with an 11 y/o son.  For reference, he's a very advanced all mountain/mogul skier and has 36 mountains skied mostly in Colorado/New Mexico (and were not "age restricted to any terrain") and my opinion of Monarch reflects having made all those trips with a younger child.

 

Thus, I'd 1st, keep in mind the trip from a 9 yr old's perspective.
 

1. Monarch is a fun mountain.  We've skied it quite a few times, and it has great tree terrain (more open trees and also very tight more steep trees) that you're son will like.  There are bump runs and great hike to terrain (Mirkwood) with things steep enough to be a challenge.   Things a 9 yr old will enjoy: a) being able to ski with your friends kids that sound around same age, b) having locals show him all the fun spots on the mountain, c) being old enough to enjoy making the reasonable, but still challenging hike(s) up to Mirkwood with his dad.  The snow is typically very good, and due to location powder stashes can be found past the day of a storm (which is more difficult on the more crowded big resorts).  You should bring a hiking backpack for skis, and for your son if possible.  Sometimes, at that age, volunteering to carry their skis makes can be the factor that makes/breaks them doing the hike/repeat hike.

 

2. The vertical (like Wolf Creek) is just okay.   It's enough to keep it fun, and the hike(s) up to Mirkwood  terrain add some extra vertical to help out.  Again, from a 9 yr old perspective, I don't think he'll complain.

 

3. There aren't any real terrain parks (also like Wolf Creek).  If your son wants terrain parks that will be a disappointment.  There is a "natural" terrain park, but it not a typical built up park. 

 

4.  Salida is a nice small town.  I've taken my son to many mountains, and as most younger kids, he doesn't seem to care about things adults may want in a "ski vacation".  For example, he doesn't say, " I really thought the shops/shopping/restaurants at Breckenridge were great," or "that historic downtown in Telluride/Crested Butte was such a great experience."  We rarely can afford to stay slopeside, and what seems to be most important is if there was a good pool at the hotel with other kids to hang out/play.  Someone mentioned the hot springs (although not super cheap) and that type of activity may be more memorable to your 9 yr old than doing a bunch of high end shopping in a ski town/resort.  

 

5. Saving money to potentially due other trips, IMO, outweighs staying at high priced slopeside lodging.  You've got lodging/vouchers for the trip to make the trip affordable.   Other ways to save money is to bring lunch/drinks as you can park very close at Monarch and they have an area to legally bring your own found.   Save enough and you might be able to do another trip sooner vs. later (and thus is it really worth the extra driving/costs to go somewhere else for a day?).

 

6. If you are just feel you must go somewhere else for a day and are "missing out":

 

a. Crested Butte is about 90 miles from Salida.  Your talking a definitive 2 hr each way drive (good weather).   Great mountain, but few things to consider.  It can make for a pretty long day trip from Salida. Pretty expensive to stay at mountain (Gunnison is more affordable). It's also going away from Denver (230ish miles) making the drive getting back to your airport pretty long.  Also, to experience mountain fully, you/you're son should be comfortable with having to take T-bar up (with some steep aspects).  If snow is stale/icy, some trees can be dangerous for younger kid.  

 

b. Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Copper, or A Basin (80 to 100 miles) are mountains that could be skied (for more vertical/parks).  But, it would be my advice to drive up early am from Salida, then ski and then make way back to Denver.  Presume you wouldn't do this on weekend/holiday as traffic can be significant concern on I70 (as could weather on the drive to ski area). 

 

Have some old videos of Monarch, same time of year you are going:

 

1st day after holiday with powder stashes.  Note trees on right of lift are steeper tighter variety that can be skied and then there's some more open fun trees in video.

https://youtu.be/Kpwp5_W8c-U

 

Powder day on a holiday weekend. 
https://youtu.be/g5ROhUIgzmE

 

Mirkwood before and after the same storm:

https://youtu.be/dA-_dKD5rDc

 

Hope the feedback helps and best of luck on the trip.

post #45 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwcski1 View Post
 

[snip]

1st day after holiday with powder stashes.  Note trees on right of lift are steeper tighter variety that can be skied and then there's some more open fun trees in video.

https://youtu.be/Kpwp5_W8c-U

 

Powder day on a holiday weekend. 
https://youtu.be/g5ROhUIgzmE

 

Mirkwood before and after the same storm:

https://youtu.be/dA-_dKD5rDc

 

Hope the feedback helps and best of luck on the trip.

Embedded a couple of the videos from 2011.  Thanks for sharing!

 

 

post #46 of 54

Second week of February is somewhat high season.  If you have driven all the way to Salida, I would not make a new area daytrip to Summit County, though if it gives you an EXTRA ski day on the way back to DIA, then go for it.  I would choose Wolf Creek or Crested Butte.  And I would want confirmed local beta that Crested Butte's North Face was adequately covered.  Wolf is the safest choice for the OP and son.

post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

 And I would want confirmed local beta that Crested Butte's North Face was adequately covered.  

 

I doubt CB's North Face is going to be anything an "upper intermediate" guy from NH and his "more or less advanced" 9 year old son are going to want to tackle on their first trip west.

 

Edit- and to be clear, I don't want to disparage anyone's abilities, but the terrain served by CB's North Face life is some of the toughest inbounds terrain in the entire country. Based on how the Op described himself and his son's skiing abilities, this just doesn't sound like a match. In fact, the more I think about it, the less I think CB would be a good fitting mountain, as things tend to ramp from low intermediate to steep advanced (all the way up to total insanity) without a lot of terrain in between. I think good mountains for developing skiers are those that have lots of progressively more difficult terrain and I'm not sure CB is a good fit in that regard, 


Edited by anachronism - 10/13/15 at 8:37am
post #48 of 54
Quote = anachronism:

 

I doubt CB's North Face is going to be anything an "upper intermediate" guy from NH and his "more or less advanced" 9 year old son are going to want to tackle on their first trip west.

Then you should definitely show them around Wolf Creek!

post #49 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Then you should definitely show them around Wolf Creek!

 

That can totally be on the table. We have lots of approachable, widely spaced, mellow tree terrain. We also have lots of rowdier terrain too. :)

post #50 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

That can totally be on the table. We have lots of approachable, widely spaced, mellow tree terrain. We also have lots of rowdier terrain too. :)

 

In the planning stages of my first SW Co trip linking up a bunch of @anachronism 's playgrounds ( Monarch -> Wolf -> Purgatory -> Silverton -> Powderhorn), hoping our paths can cross given all the useful things I've learned from him here. Thinking late Feb / early March. Luckily three of the resorts are covered by my Loveland pass. 

 

Mod note: good discussion related to jmeb's trip moved to 

http://www.epicski.com/t/143080/southwest-colorado-ski-safari-beta-on-monarch-wolf-creek-purgatory-silverton-powderhorn

post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmeb View Post
 

 

In the planning stages of my first SW Co trip linking up a bunch of @anachronism 's playgrounds ( Monarch -> Wolf -> Purgatory -> Silverton -> Powderhorn), hoping our paths can cross given all the useful things I've learned from him here. Thinking late Feb / early March. Luckily three of the resorts are covered by my Loveland pass. 


You forgot night skiing at Hesperus:)

post #52 of 54

Monarch is great for 3 days especially if it is snowing...  Been my go to mountain for years.

 

I am sure someone said this already but cant you kind of play it by ear?  If you are staying in Monarch and the snow is good you can easily day trip to Crested Butte...  This will be well worth it if the snow is good.  There are also Shell passes for both mountains (or at least there were last year).

 

You could try and hit Taos as well or instead of CB but that is a 4 hour drive (CB is like 2 hours).  The roads are good.  Hope that helps!

post #53 of 54

Super helpful beta all -- apologies for the thread drift. Especially thoughts about RMP and the 160-Walsenburg option. 

 

The only think that really needs to be "planned" here is my couple nights in Durango. Likely even those can be a bit flexible. Other than that I can wait and see what Ullr offers up in the way of conditions--on both mountains and roads. I'll be traveling/sleeping in an AWD van with new snow tires (working on figuring these out still) and am a very cautious driver. 

post #54 of 54

Mod note: good discussion related to jmeb's trip to Monarch, Wolf, etc. moved to 

http://www.epicski.com/t/143080/southwest-colorado-ski-safari-beta-on-monarch-wolf-creek-purgatory-silverton-powderhorn

 

Carry on if you have anything to add about Monarch for the OP father and his 9yo son.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Monarch in Feb, is it enough for a father and son from NH/VT?