Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What’s new at Monarch Mountain for 2009-10?

The 2009-10 ski season will mark Monarch Mountain’s 70th year of operations. This summer various improvements have been made to the area to make the “70th Platinum” season special.

The improvements start in the base area; the Lesson/Rental Center building is getting a new entrance vestibule to keep the building warmer and guests dryer. Speaking of dryer, the Rental Shop has installed two new boot dryers to provide dry fresh boots for rental customers. The rental department has also invested over $55,000 in new equipment. The latest high end skis from K2, Salomon and Volkl and snowboards from K2 and Burton have been added to the demo fleet. Monarch has also brought in some beginner specific boots from Salomon that make walking around the base area easier.

On the mountain projects have been completed to improve the skiing/riding experience. Tree islands have been removed on Mirage, Turbo, Snowburn, and Short & Sweet. The trees will be used in the K2 Organic Terrain Park to build more natural features. The Tilt terrain park that was put in for kids and beginners looking for smaller terrain features was so popular that is has been more than doubled in size. Tilt will still have smaller less intimidating jumps, berms and rails but now there will just be more of them.

Monarch Mountain has always been respectful of the environment and is considered a very “Green” ski area. In keeping with that tradition Monarch has done various improvements that are environmentally friendly that you may not notice. More than $6000 was invested this season in upgrading the Main Lodge lighting systems. A new dimmer panel was installed and every light is now using energy efficient bulbs that use 75% less electricity. Also in the Main Lodge Monarch has installed a recycling / hydration station; clearly marked slots will help guests dispose of waste in a responsible manner and the hydration fountain is designed to refill bottles and hydration packs with free cold filtered mountain spring water.

Monarch allocates extensive resources to ensure water purity at the area and downstream, including the operation of their own wastewater treatment plant. New wastewater lab equipment is being purchased to guarantee that the water treatment plant is functioning properly. Additional asphalt was laid in the parking lot to improve drainage which alleviates mud and helps maintain water quality. Each summer Monarch removes more than 150 tons of silt that accumulates in runoff basins at the base of the mountain. These silt basins prevent the dirt from going downstream as the snow melts each spring.

The Monarch Mountain Sport Shop was expanded last season to add more products including items from Smith, Cloudveil, Columbia, Kavu and others. As you enter the Sport Shop this season you will notice even more new lines, along with new rental jackets and pants for guests looking to rent warm, dry outerwear.

A new larger deck has been added to the Children’s Center to help with the registration process and get the kids out on the snow easier. The reservations system that was installed last season has become so popular that more space was needed for the children and their parents as they got ready for their lessons.

Every year Monarch invests in new projects and items that aren’t really noticed by guests; kitchen equipment, snowcats, snowmobiles, tractors, radios, carpeting, computers etc. This season is no exception; one of those unseen upgrades is a new weather station. The weather station will be located at the top of Mirkwood Bowl and will provide real time data on temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction. This information will allow the Monarch Mountain Ski Patrol to better understand the weather conditions, allocate their resources for avalanche control work and be able to safely open terrain.

For the 2009-10 season Monarch Mountain will invest over $250,000 in improvements to the ski area bringing the total capital investment over the past 4 seasons to three million dollars. Monarch is also spending $100,000 on its Master Development Plan Project this summer for scoping and environmental analysis.

The Monarch Mountain ownership group is committed to improving the skiing and snowboarding experience.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Grand Targhee Resort added to Monarch 09-10 Season Pass

Can the Monarch Season Pass get any better? The answer is yes, it sure can! We're proud to announce, Grand Targhee Resort has graciously given our 2009-2010 Season Pass holders FREE days throughout the season and half price tickets if they open before us! Thanks Grand Targhee!

If you have never been, do yourself a favor. Grand Targhee has many of the same characteristics that you love about Monarch; hometown feel, friendly staff, incredible views and tons of natural snow! Last year they received 529 inches!

The "Ghee" holds a special place in my heart. I've had many waist deep days there, good times camping in the parking lot, and even a proposal just down the road inside of a snowcave! Take a trip up there and see for yourself.

So, here's what the good floks at Grand Targhee had to say:

Thank you for your interest in Grand Targhee Resort. We are excited to offer two great money saving programs for season pass holders from Monarch Mountain, Colorado for the 2009-10 Season.

Season pass holders from Monarch Mountain are offered FREE SKIING with the purchase of lodging from Grand Targhee Resort! This ski free promotion is based on the standard nightly lodging rate for double occupancy. A maximum of 2 free lift tickets will be issued per room night. This promotion is not offered in conjunction with any other discounts or promotions, including the Multi-Night Discount rate, or Kids Stay & Ski Free. Season passes must be presented at time of check in to receive the free lift tickets. Reservations are subject to local lodging tax rates of 6% for properties at the base of the ski area, and 7% along the valley road. This promotion is based on availability at time of booking. Other restrictions may apply.

For lodging reservations, please call 1-800-TARGHEE (827-4433), and let them know you are a season pass holder from Monarch Mountain.

Season pass holders from Monarch Mountain can purchase lift tickets for Grand Targhee Resort for HALF PRICE prior to the opening of Monarch. Season passes must be presented to the Ticket Booth at time of purchase. A maximum of one ticket per season pass will be sold at half price per day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Reflections on the 2008-2009 ski season

I'm sitting here in sunny downtown Salida at the Monarch World Headquarters, overlooking the rapidly rising Arkansas River. It's May and the lifts have been shut down for the summer. The 334 inches of snow that fell on Monarch this past season is now making it's way to the river, where it will be enjoyed by kayakers, rafters, fisher people, and fish alike. The guests are gone and most of our employees have left for other work and adventure.
It's kind of lonely this time of year. No more rushing in anticipation of the powder day, no more relishing the chance of seeing your photo on the evening news, no more inter-departmental gossip, no more driving up the hill to and fro.
I sit here reflecting back on the 08-09 ski started off eerily like last year; no snow until mid December. It then came in big! Although things were looking up in the snow department, the rumblings and eventual fallout of a changing economy were starting to be realized. The guests we were hoping for did come, (we actually had a record month of January in terms of skier visits) but they were frugal. I can't say that I blame them.
We received a much needed website makeover from our friends at the Branding Agency this season. We have a great product here at Monarch, and now our website reflects it.
I'm also thinking about one of our valued employees we lost this year. Everyone says that Monarch is one of the friendliest places to visit. It's true. We are like one big family up here and it shows. It was hard on many to lose "one of our own". RIP, Derek.
I'm starting to get the feeling like the dust storms that we experienced this season are getting worse and more frequent. Even today, you can look out towards the mountains and see parts of the Four Corners sitting there accelerating the snow melt.
One of the more entertaining events to happen at Monarch this season was "Blackhawk down". Yes, I'm talking about an Alaskan National Guard Blackhawk helicopter that crash landing just outside our boundary rope. I was riding the lift that morning in weather that can accurately be described as pea soup. First you could hear the helicopter close in and then suddenly nothing. The 3 on board were very lucky that day to be able to just walk away from the accident. The only evidence now is a clearing and some sheared off trees.
The season ended on a high note with our always popular Kayaks on Snow Boater X and last day Parking Lot Cook-off.
Well, enough was overall a great ski season and I personally can't wait for it to start again.