The Edge

Westword's guide to the 1997-98 ski and snowboard season

And while he isn't much of a morning man, Wehnes says he does occasionally eat out for breakfast. "I'll either go to The KP Cafe [429 Main St.], in Silver Plume, or if I feel like going to Georgetown, I'll eat at the Full Circle Cafe [511 Rose]. I just don't do much breakfast."

General Information: 1-303-569-3203, 1-800-736-3SKI or 1-303-571-5580.
Snow Report: 1-303-571-5554.
Location: 56 miles west of Denver on I-70, exit 216, 12 miles east of Summit County.

Opening and Closing Dates: Mid-October to mid-May.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.
Terrain: 22% beginner, 55% intermediate, 23% advanced. 2,135 skiable acres with 1,680' vertical drop. Base: 10,600'; top: 12,280'; longest run: 1.5 miles. Additional 550 ungroomed acres for experts.

Lifts: 2 quad chairs, 2 triple chairs, 4 double chairs, 1 Poma lift, 1 Mighty Mite.

Lift Rates: Adult full-day $25-35; child full-day $10-17; senior $23-26; child under 5 free; senior season pass $25.

Rentals: Adult ski package $14; child ski package $10; snowboard package $23.

Snowboarding/Cross-Country: Snowboarding welcome. Cross-country call 1-970-569-3202 for information.

Special Events: 4th Annual Colorado Ski Games, Nov. 30; Uvex/Bula Series ski racing, Dec. 13-14; Rocky Mountain Masters Series, Jan. 3; PEAK weekend, Jan. 3-4; USSA age class racing, Jan. 4; USCSA racing, Feb. 7-8; 7th Annual Loveland and J.C. Keepsake Mass Wedding Ceremony, Feb. 14; Masters racing, March 7; KTCL's 6th Annual Big Air Weekend, April 25.

Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area
Chris Hanes has been skiing for 28 years. And he still loves it.
Hanes was born in Kansas, but he moved to Colorado Springs in 1967, and then Salida in 1985. "I tried out a few other places in between," the fifty-year-old says. "But when I kept coming back here, I figured it was telling me something." So he and his family, which includes two kids who can "ski the pants off me," Hanes says, hit Monarch as often as they can.

Since Hanes has a day job at Western Control Systems, that isn't as often as he'd like. "I probably only get out a dozen or so times a year," he admits. "But when I do, I make it count."

Hanes says he's a cruiser type of skier. "I start out doing a couple of greens to warm up," he says. "Then I move up to some blues, and I might do a couple of blacks if I'm feeling good. Then, mid-day, I start to work backwards."

His choice for a cruiser is Lower Christmas Tree, which he says can work up a few bumps but mostly offers curves, a few hills, and shaded, not-too-open skiing. "You kind of have to know where it is," Hanes says, "or you'll ski right past it. And the snow's always good there."

He does do bump runs occasionally for the challenge, taking on Mirage and Picante, the latter because "it's short, and you can go from top to bottom without stopping, or maybe only stopping once." And when he's feeling lucky, the black he dances with is Tango. "Well, it's mostly a nostalgia thing with that one," he says. "It was there twenty years ago; I remember it from my early days of skiing. It's kind of open, real steep, with big bumps at the beginning before it mellows out. It's more like a hard blue after a while. The really bumpy steep part is short, and since it's fairly open and wide, you have room to make that turn you didn't make when you were supposed to."

Hanes says he doesn't do trees very often, but there are a few off Sleepy Hollow that are fairly easy. "Off Snowburn and the Panorama Lift, I've seen places where brave people go through the trees," he adds. Beginners can make the transition to blue at Slo-Motion and Little Mo. "They're fun and really long," Hanes explains. "A long time ago they were hard greens, but now they're fairly easy blues. They offer short bumpy sections, only sort of steep, and they're longer, gentler runs where you have time to get it together."

Quite a bit tougher is an area that Hanes says isn't on the map. Called Pinball, it's a spot popular with kids and snowboarders. "It's a stream, with narrow wall places and real short, close bumps, hills and tight turns," he says. "It's perfect for short skis and snowboards; you can do it on long skis, but you have to make sure it's not crowded, because if you stop and your skis are hanging out, you'll get whacked or forced into the trees." Hanes adds that you can buzz in there and get quite a workout. To get there, go to the area where Sleepy Hollow and Turbo come together. "It's off of a corner there," he explains. "You'll always see somebody zooming through there. You've got to have your act together, though, because you can't stop easily. Sometimes you're just committed."

Monarch is about eighteen miles from Salida, where Hanes breakfasts at the Patio Pancake Place (640 E. U.S. Hwy. 50). "They have all kinds of breakfast and are open earlier than some of the others," he says. "It's convenient, on the highway for people staying in a motel. But it's only open until about noon." For a later meal, the Country Bounty Restaurant (413 W. Rainbow Blvd.) is open all day, and Hanes says "they have good food, but no drinks, so it's not for supper."

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