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.

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