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Monarch Mountain – Colorado Family Ski Vacation

monarchMonarch Mountain is an authentic Colorado ski resort with high elevations, abundant snowfall, gorgeous scenery and excellent terrain. The ski area is situated high along the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range within the San Isabel National Forest near the towns of Salida, Buena Vista and Gunnison. The resort features amazing tree skiing, wide-open alpine bowls and long intermediate trails.

Best Gear for Keeping Families Warm. There are plenty of places to cut corners and save money on Colorado’s ski slopes but having quality gear is not among them. Our must-haves include these Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Top and Bottoms, Hestra Classic 3-Finger Snow Glove (also available in junior sizes), Minus33 Merino Wool Balaclava, and Obermeyer’s I-Grow Ski Jackets and Pants which provide a simple way to lengthen the sleeves and cuffs of your child’s jackets and pants (our quickly-growing kids could wear them 2-3 seasons!) Columbia has a similar line of expandable winter jackets for kids. Nothing kills a good ski day like having a whining, cold child so be sure to have a bulk supply of hand warmers available (and you can even find rechargeable hand warmers that are like a portable pocket heater). 

Let it snow!

Monarch Mountain – Colorado Family Ski Vacation

Season dates and hours
Late November to early April. Lifts run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays.
Area (acres)
What family-friendly amenities does your resort offer? 
Monarch is a great option for families due to its affordable prices and inexpensive lodging options in Salida, Buena Vista and Gunnison. There is a mountain day lodge located at the base with ski and snowboard schools, ski rentals and childcare.
Adult lift ticket prices?
Child lift ticket prices and at what age kids ski free?
$74 teens (ages 13-17); $64 (ages 7-12)
Is there on-site childcare and if so, what is the starting cost?
The Children’s Center is a secure, clean, comfortable and fun environment for your little one.  Their specialized staff are all background checked and trained in First Aid and CPR. Half-day starts at $69.
What is the starting cost of ski/ride school? Ages?
Monarch’s group ski or snowboard lessons get you off to a great start on the mountain — whether it’s your first day on the snow, or you’ve got a few days under your belt. Half-day starts at $109.
Where can families go for deals on lift tickets/lodging or special promotions?
Monarch offers excellent ski packages with our lodging participants. Access lodging options at
What area (off-mountain) activities would appeal to families for their winter vacation? 
Nearby Salida, CO offers many activities and amenities for families, including local hot springs such as the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center and Mt. Princeton Hot Springs resort in Buena Vista. A multitude of dining options also await in both towns.
Distance from Denver
153 miles
23715 W Highway 50
Monarch, CO
(719) 530-5000
*Note: Information and prices are subject to change and most resorts offer discounted rates if you purchase online seven days in advance. Many resorts do not publish a set lift ticket price. When compiling our list, we used the date Saturday, January 10, 2023 as our base to compare prices. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.