Monarch gets slammed (or: I know what pass I'm getting next year)

I just got back to Mile High from a couple of days skiing the three feet or so Ullr bestowed on Monarch the last few days.  Hitting the mountain Sunday afternoon, crashing in Salida Sunday night, and skiing all day Monday proved to be the thee best decisions I've made yet this season.  (And now I think I may need some cherry juice.)

Beyond the superlative powder, I learned something that made me rethink my pass-buying next season: The Monarch Mountain Pass gets you access to 11 different mountains.

Greg Ralph, Monarch's marketing guy, skied a few runs with me and touted the Monarch Mountain Pass, available for $289 pre-season, as the best value in the industry. And after examining the brochure, I'm inclined to believe him. And I'm pretty much sold on purchasing myself one for next season as a complement to my midweek Loveland pass.

For that low price, you get your unlimited access to Monarch, plus three free days each at Loveland, Sunlight Mountain, Durango, and Powderhorn in Colorado. And you get one free day at Silverton. And you get three free days each at Angel Fire, Pajarito, and Sipapu in New Mexico. Finally, you get half-price at Alta in Utah all season long and free lift tickets at Grand Targhee in Wyoming if you get a room.

The street value of the first seven freebies is north of $1,000 in 2009-10 lift-ticket prices. And that's just the freebies (not to mention the value of avoiding I-70 most of the season).
Did I mention Monarch got fresh snow 21 of the last 22 days?

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Eric Peterson