Monday, February 25, 2008

Monarch Mountain & Salida Family Ski and Snowboard Road Trip

The holiday weekend was upon us and the plan was for a family ski and snowboard trip that would start with us heading for Salida on Thursday night and skiing at Monarch on Friday as we worked to beat the weekend crowds. With abundant snow recently and all winter we knew the conditiond would be excellent.

We stayed an evening at the Circle R Motel. This motel was spacious, clean and confrtable with hottub. Even though we were only there a night some of the units have refrigerators, microwaves and a little kitchen. Family owned and operatored by Pam and Lee we felt right at home. With already great rates the Mountain Sports Club savings and discount makes this an incredible value for those looking to save on the lodging. You will be able to stay here for several nights for less than one night in many ski resort towns.

That evening when we arrived we had dinner in old town Salida at Benson's. We had arrived close to 9 and wanted to make sure a full kitchen was still available. I had remembered Benson's from aprevious visit. Good selection of microbrew beers, hearty portions and a good pub style menu. The service was excellent and quick.

The next morning we were advised to have breakfast at Pancake Patio. Great value, friendly service, good food with generous portions. Just a few blocks down the road from the Circle R, it was an another good choice for a hearty breakfast to get us ready for a day of skiing and riding.

The skiing at Monarch was a picture perfect day. Blue skies, relatively warm day and soft snow. It had snowed recently and while there was minimal powder there was lots of soft broken snow and easy bumps to fly through. It has been over 15 years since I had been to Monarch and the warm family feel of the area was still as friendly as ever. There is a new structure for rentals that really made the traffic flow out of the base lodge much easier and added to a good family feel. We sampled runs across the ridge and had great views of the snowcat skiing terrain available. Monarch offers a wide range of terrain from short steeps, trees and bumps to easy cruisers. We tended to spend most of the day off the Garfield chair as we preferred the variety of great runs offered here. This was the case when I last skied here as well.

Make sure to take advantage of your Mountain Sports Club discounts when purchasing lift tickets. Members save up to $8 daily on lift tickets with the coupons. This area is a great value for families and anyone on a budget. Sitting a top Monarch Pass the area always has some of the best snow in the state. A visit to Salida and Monarch feels like a step back in time to days when resorts were not all full on real estate developments and the skiing and snowboarding fun as the focus on all efforts.