About this item
- Unlimited skiing at Monarch Mountain
- Check out the Snowflake run
- Come ski and snowboard!
1939 | Monarch Established: Although people had been skiing the mountain surrounding the valley since 1914, Monarch Mountain's official start was in 1939. A 500-foot rope tow powered by a gear box from an old oil derrick and a Chevy engine ran from what's now the parking lot to the top of Gunbarrel, at the time only half its current length. Works Project Administration workers built it, and gave it to the city of Salida. "We skied Gunbarrel for two years before we ever saw anyone who could turn on skis. The challenge was to make it to the bottom of the hill without falling down or falling into the creek during the early part of the season." - Gerald Berry, Salida resident & son of previous Monarch owner.
A short time later, another rope tow was added, which ran from near the base of Gunbarrel to the top of the Snowflake run. The first day lodge (a 30-foot x 30-foot structure) was built there, too. Locals referred to it as the 'Inn Ferno" after the Salida mayor, Claude Ferno. Since the parking lot was a pullout along Highway 50, food and supplies had to be taken to the lodge by toboggan. When heavy snowfalls came, the parking area was plowed by Earl Milligan, the highway superintended for east Monarch Pass. Earl couldn't take payment for the work, so he was given a case of whiskey each season for his time.