Folks have been skiing in this area since about 1914 but Monarch itself was built in 1939 as a Works Project Administration project. On completion, the ski area was given to the city of Salida. Since then, the ski area has changed hands quite a few times, each new owner(s) slowly making changes and upgrading and expanding from the original 500-foot Chevy-powered rope tow to today's quad lift and 4 double chairs. And originally, there was only one trail: Gunbarrel. Now there are 63 trails with a real parking lot, mountain lodge and outside ticket windows. Even the old 6-hole outhouse has been replaced...

I don't know what the ski area is valued at now but in 1955, Salida sold it to the guy who had already managed it for six years for the sum of $100.

Monarch Mountain also offers cross-country and snowcat skiing. The base area includes a cafeteria/snack bar and ski/snowboard retail and rentals. The city of Salida runs a shuttle from the Hot Springs Pool to Monarch Mountain in season for $5 per round trip (leaves Salida at 8:30 AM sharp, leaves Monarch to return to Salida at 3:30 PM).

Nearest lodging is in Garfield (Monarch Mountain Lodge) but there are multiple restaurants and lodging options in Poncha Springs and Salida (at the bottom of the Pass).