When it comes to Colorado ski destinations, Monarch Mountain is the perfect in-between. A mile or so north of Monarch Pass on US-50, in the center of the state, it sees practically none of the I-70 crowds. That means less competition for the mountain’s super-diverse terrain, everything from powder-packed groomers and terrain parks to backcountry bowls and epic glade runs. There are 64 trails in total, covering 670 acres of lift-accessible powder. But one of the coolest aspects of Monarch is the whopping 1,600+ acres of backcountry that opens up on a cat-ski tour. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it here.
There’s a tiny old mining village just five minutes down the highway from the slopes, with a lodge and houses for rent, but farther down-valley is Salida, where you’ll get warmer temperatures and the chance to check out one of Colorado’s hottest mountain towns.