Back in 1939, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Project Administration workers installed the first rope tow at Monarch Mountain, skiers were pulled up under the power of a Chevy engine. Once they got to the top, they came down much the same way skiers and snowboarders still do today: by pointing their toes straight down a run dubbed, appropriately enough, Gunbarrel. Actual turning would come later, as would some of the other comforts of modern skiing — like Monarch’s first chairlift, which wasn’t installed until 1960, and its first double chairlift, added in 1968 — as well as more recent developments, like the opening of the hike-to terrain in Mirkwood Basin a decade ago and the expansion of the base lodge last season.
“We’re very excited to be celebrating our 75th anniversary this season,” says Monarch spokeswoman Jesse Smith. “It’s a nice big number for a great ski area backed by such a tremendous community.”
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Smith says the ski area will be marking the anniversary with live music, food specials and Elevation Beer Company drink specials after the lifts close at 4 p.m. A torchlight parade will come down the mountain at 6:15 (sign up at the season-pass desk to participate). “It’ll be the perfect place to leave 2014 behind with a bang,” Smith says. “We’ve doubled up on our usual New Year’s Eve fire-works display for the occasion.” Visit skimonarch.com for all the details.
Wed., Dec. 31, 4 p.m., 2014