With the ski lifts closed for the season, avid skiers/riders switch to earning their turns. In light of the current situation, there are a few guidelines I wanted to put out there about this activity. Keep in mind, that these may all be subject to change with further health guidelines from the CDC, the CDPHE and/or the CCPH.
We do have a formal uphill policy that can be found here on our website. As is the case with most things right now, we are having to make some changes to our day to day operations. One of these is that we are not able to process the sale of uphill tickets to those who did not previously purchase one during the 2019-20 winter season. We currently do not have any sales staff at the mountain to fulfill any guest services at the mountain. Any uphill users are considered skiers under the Colorado Skier Safety Act.
We currently are allowing non-motorized uphill traffic. Many ski areas in Colorado are not open to uphill traffic and are closed at the base area. Monarch Mountain is located entirely National Forest land. However, these lands are managed through a special use permit which provides a framework with our USFS officials to establish rules and guidelines.
One item we have recently discussed with them is continuing to allow uphill traffic despite not being able to sell an uphill ticket. We are agreeable to this as we feel that skinning up the mountain and enjoying a ski down on public lands is one of the most healthy things (utilizing social distancing while skiing & driving) that one can partake in during this current situation. With that in mind, there are a few things to consider.
There are no base facilities available for public use (NO RESTROOMS). The gate is locked at the highway entrance. Please park outside the gate along the sides of this parking area. DO NOT BLOCK THE GATE. We still have essential personnel coming and going through this gate. There is absolutely no motorized travel allowed on the mountain except by Monarch Mountain authorized personnel. NO SNOWMOBILES. This is an ongoing rule in our USFS Operating Plan and anyone violating this rule will be subject to fines and/or legal action.
There are no other services (i.e. NO RESCUE). Please be mindful of our local medical services and realize that they have their hands full with the current situation. Keep your activities mellow! Avoid having to call SAR, EMS or end up in the ER. With the ski area closed and no avalanche mitigation efforts being conducted, all slopes should be considered to have backcountry conditions with POTENTIAL AVALANCHE HAZARD. Don’t let your guard down because you are at a “ski area”. Please practice safe travel habits and avoid slopes with potential avalanche hazards. Carry avalanche rescue gear (transceiver, shovel, probe, airbag pack) and travel one at a time with a partner.
As we can see, winter carries on in spite of everything going on. The snow continues to fall. We still want to ski/ride. We just need to be mindful that there still are guidelines to follow so that this activity can continue. I hope that being able to hike for our turns can help us all find a moment of joy in a crazy time.