Mountain Safety

Skier & Rider Responsibility

At Monarch Mountain, the safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. Please read through the following information carefully. Visit the Guest Service Desk located in the main lodge or call 719.530.5000 if you have any questions.

Know The Code

Your Responsibility Code
  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.
  • People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.
  • Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  • Do not use lifts or terrain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • If you are involved in a collision or incident, share your contact information with each other and a ski area employee.


The Colorado legislature, recognizing risks that are inherent in the sport, passed the Colorado Ski Safety Act which provides inherent risks of the sport and relative responsibilities of the “skier” and the ski area. You must obey the Act. Under the Act, any person using the facilities of a ski area is considered a skier. A summary of the inherent risks is listed below:


Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including: Changing weather conditions, existing and changing snow conditions, bare spots, rocks, stumps, trees, collisions with natural objects, man-made objects or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

Lift Safety

Under Colorado law, you cannot board a lift unless you have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to negotiate or to use such lift safely, or until you have asked for and received information sufficient to enable you to use the lift safely. You may not use a lift or any ski trail when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you are unfamiliar with a lift, ask an attendant for assistance. If your lift stops for a prolonged period, remain seated; you will be assisted by the ski patrol. Those skiers found misusing lift tickets/passes, transferring lift tickets/passes, or attempting to gain lift access without a lift ticket/pass, may be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution.

If you feel it necessary to wear a backpack, remove it from one arm when loading/unloading the lift and hold it in your lap while riding the lift. Your hips and back should be all the way in the chair and in contact with the back of the chair. Baby packs are not allowed on the lifts.

Slow Skiing Zones

Certain areas (indicated on the trail map in yellow) are designated as Slow Skiing Zones. Please observe the posted slow areas by maintaining a speed no faster than the general flow of traffic and allow sufficient space between yourself and others around you. Remember, those below you have the right of way. Fast and out of control skiing in these areas will not be tolerated.


Monarch highly encourages the use of appropriate helmets while skiing, riding or tubing. Please educate yourself regarding the benefits and limitations of helmets, and that no helmet can prevent all injuries. If you do not own a helmet and would like one, helmet rentals are available in our Rental + Lesson Center.

Safety Links

Learning about safety on the slopes is a good idea for any level of skier or rider. We recommend checking out the following resources:

Your First Response

LOCATIONS: Patrol Headquarters (South Parking Lot) • Garfield • Panorama • Breezeway
In Case of Emergency

If you encounter an accident while on the slopes; if on skis, take them off and place them in an ‘X’ sticking out of the snow, uphill from the accident to alert other skiers and riders; in on a board, take it off and place it bindings down with the base facing uphill above the injured person. Then, locate the nearest Monarch employee and ask them to contact Ski Patrol or flag down a passerby and ask them to alert a Monarch employee for you. Please call our Dispatch number, 719.530.5111, for any emergency.

Avalanche Risk

While snow safety and avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at the ski area, both inside and outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of the snow and its application on steep mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness. Ski or ride with a partner and keep each other in sight. Carry and know how to use the basic avalanche equipment (Avalanche transceiver, rescue shovel, probe). Visit or contact the Monarch Ski Patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

Tree Wells & Snow Immersion

Tree wells can be dangerous. The voids that exist around the bases of trees can trap skiers and riders who fall into them. Please ski/ride with a buddy and treat tree wells with extreme caution. Learn more at
Snow Suffocation Hazard

Beacon Basin

Beacon Basin Training Park is located near the base of the Panorama Lift. The park was established by the Monarch Ski Patrol for guests and staff to practice with their avalanche rescue beacons (“transceivers”). The park features up to eight buried transceivers that are wired to a central control panel. The park scenario and signals are changed daily. Probes are available to use. Please do not dig up the transceivers as they are only designed to transmit and work within the park system. Monarch Ski Patrol is available to answer any questions you may have about the park.

Friends of Monarch Ski Patrol

A non-profit organization that assists in the professional development of Ski Patrollers and the Avalanche Dog Program at Monarch Mountain. Check us out on Facebook.

Our Way – Our Rules

As a permittee on the San Isabel National Forest, Monarch works with the USFS to establish rules and guidelines for our permitted area based on a combination of operational, safety, and environmental concerns. Our operating plan defines these rules and guidelines. The plan also authorizes Monarch to conduct activities and provide public services on National Forest System lands within the SUP boundary in accordance with federal law, regulation, and USFS policy. Monarch Mountain operates under a special use permit from the US Forest Service and is an Equal Opportunity Service Provider.

Snowmobiles & Vehicles

The personal use of private snowmobiles or vehicles is PROHIBITED within the Monarch SUP. All vehicles (INCLUDING SNOWMOBILES) must have prior approval from Monarch Mountain and the USFS.


The personal use of drones is PROHIBITED within the Monarch Mountain SUP. Monarch Mountain may use Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in a limited capacity for Marketing and special events purposes.


Winter or summer camping is NOT ALLOWED within the ski area’s Special Use Permitted area unless authorized by the permittee and/or the USFS. There are several camping options nearby including paid sites with hook-ups and free dispersed camping on BLM and USFS lands.

  • Dogs are allowed in the parking lot only. They must be leashed and attended. Dogs should not be left unattended in cars, but this is ultimately up to the owner to decide. They are not allowed on the mountain or in the base facilities.
  • Service animals trained to perform a task for a person with a disability are allowed in the lot or in the base facilities. (Accessibility Policy)
  • No dogs other than on duty Monarch Avalanche rescue dogs specifically trained to load and unload a lift are allowed on the mountain and chairlifts.
  • Please clean up after your pet. There are doggie waste bags available by Ski Patrol and the Wastewater building.
  • Owners of dogs that are aggressive or cause a problem to other guests or staff will be asked to leave the premises.
Public Smoking

Monarch Mountain has established a NO SMOKING POLICY IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: The area between the Rental & Lesson Center and the Main Lodge/Ticket Windows; The west deck of the Main Lodge; All ski lift mazes; All ski lifts (while riding in the chair, carpet, tow).

Guests are asked to smoke away from others on the trails, in the parking lot, or in their cars.

Although Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 in Colorado in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana, this substance is still considered a Schedule I Controlled Substance under Federal Law. One Hundred percent of Monarch Mountain’s permitted operations are located on Federal lands. This includes the ski lifts, trails base area, lodges, and parking lot. USFS Federal law enforcement officers frequently visit the ski area to enforce violations.

What’s Allowed

Monarch Mountain can be enjoyed using alpine, snowboard, telemark or specialized ski equipment. Regardless of how you enjoy the slopes, it is important to know what equipment we allow and don’t allow. Basically, all equipment needs to have metal edges, bindings and a brake or retention device.​ Pedestrian traffic is not allowed on aerial lifts. Keep yourself in check by reviewing the lists below.

  • Skis (with metal edges) + Poles
  • Snowboards (with metal edges)
  • Ski Blades/Ski Boards
  • Monoskis
  • Equipment specifically designed for persons with a disability
  • Snowshoes are allowed outside of normal operating hours and on designated uphill routes during operating hours with a valid uphill access ticket.
  • Fat Tire Bikes are allowed from 4:00pm to 10:00pm only and with a valid uphill access ticket.
  • Skiskates with metal edges
Not Allowed
  • Snowskates
  • Snowdecks
  • Airboards
  • Toboggans
  • Ghosky
  • Snowbikes of any kind
  • Body Sleds
  • Sleds/Discs
  • Snowscooters
  • Inner Tubes
  • Snowmobiles
  • Baby Backpacks/Child Carriers

Pro Tips


Hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water. You are more active than you may realize and dehydrate quicker at higher altitudes. Drinking water is the best way to avoid altitude sickness, which can affect anyone at any age. This means drink water before you are thirsty. Limit the intake of caffeine and alcohol on your trip. A little goes a long way up here. Bring a water bottle so you can fill up at one of our hydration stations throughout the lodge.


UV rays are intense at high altitude, especially when reflecting off snow. Be sure to wear sunscreen, even on a cloudy day, and always wear eye protection for the same reason. The appropriate goggles or sunglasses will protect your eyes and improve your line of sight.


Make sure you are fitted for the right size boots before you get on the mountain. It’ll make or break your day. Don’t have boots? We have all the modern, high-end rental equipment you need to have a great day.


You’ll be happier if you are dry. Waterproof ski pants and jackets are highly recommended. Forgot yours? Top-of-the-line pant and jacket rentals are available for children and adults at Elation Sports in the Rental & Lesson Center. Wear waterproof gloves to keep your hands dry, and we highly recommend wearing a helmet. A helmet will keep you warmer and safer. If you need one, we rent those too.

Base Layers

Remember, weather conditions can change throughout the day. You’ll want to dress in layers. This will allow you to add or remove layers as the conditions change. Avoid cotton. It does not insulate well when it gets wet. It will just make you colder. Opt for wool and synthetics, especially for base layers and socks. They will keep you warm and dry despite wet conditions.


If you are experiencing headache, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and/or shortness of breath it may be due to the high altitude. Take it easy and hydrate. It may be necessary for you to go to a lower elevation. The elevation at Monarch’s base area is 10,800′; Salida is at 7,000′. If going lower does not help, seek medical attention.

The Cold

With temperatures below freezing, be well prepared and stay warm. Frostnip or frostbite can occur, especially to fingers, nose, ears and toes, so don’t forget about these parts of your body. Wearing a hat or helmet is also important for keeping warm. For cold related injuries, seek medical attention.

Be Aware Of:
  • Uneven, icy and slick surfaces. Walk and ride with caution.
  • Suffocating snow, avalanches and tree wells along with decreased visibility and orientation during snow storms – Ride with a partner. Keep track of friends and family.
  • High altitude related illness and cold injuries – If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Increased UV Exposure – Use Sunscreen and Eye protection.