On the way to Crested Butte to cover this week's Telemark Extremes Competition, I stopped at Monarch to get some turns in. After all, it's on the way, and how can you resist stopping for a driving break for some turns on a perfect bluebird day. Pulling into the parking lot at noon presented quite a different scene than when I visited last month. The parking lot was overflowing, and mud season was in flow in the lot.
When I was skiing Monarch with a local last month, she'd told me that Spring Break week brings a lot of out of state visitors. That certainly seemed to be the case Tuesday. Since I was skiing solo, I ended up sharing the lift with a lot of different people, and on the lift, you might as well make small talk.
During the course of two hours, I chatted with two teenage girls from Texas, a man from Houston, and another from Kansas. In the course of the conversations, it came out that there was a woman from Tennessee out on a group trip, several student groups from Kansas and Iowa, and a lot of Texans. Everyone had big smiles and enjoyed the perfect blue sky. The guy from Houston talked about the snowstorm on Sunday, and how their bus had gotten stuck and needed to be pulled out.
You've got to admire a group that would take a 20 hour bus trip to go skiing.
While the lift lines were substantial, they moved fairly quickly. The best part about Monarch though, is that even two days after a dump, you could still find some untracked in the trees. Try finding that on the Front Range.
After a couple hours, it was back on the road and on to Crested Butte.