Monarch Mountain wanted to expand its retail offerings and was looking for a place to put a new store, Randy Stroud, the ski area’s general manager, said.
The management decided a good place for the new retail shop would be where a lot of people hang out in the morning – in the rental shop. The only available spot in the rental shop, however, is where the resort’s ski and ride school was located.
The domino effect of the decision is that Monarch is now constructing a new building for the ski and ride school. The new building will also feature an overnight ski valet, taking care of one of the mountain’s other needs.
“We wanted to expand our retail services, and we were in desperate need of an overnight ski storage,” Stroud said. “And we also needed another room for ski school.”
The solution is a new 1,137-foot building at the base area, helping the mountain meet all three needs. Stroud said they got their permit a few weeks ago for the new ski and ride school and just poured the foundation. He said it should be done by the end of September.
The new ski and ride school is just one of additions Monarch is working on this summer. The resort is also adding runs, adding partner resorts and replacing some other infrastructure.
Two new runs will be on Monarch’s trail map this winter, Stroud said. Pinball, in the gully at the bottom of Mirage, will be officially listed on the map.
The other new run will be called Serendipity since it was a happy accident created last year during the first phase of logging in the mountain’s beetle kill mitigation plan. Serendipity is at the bottom of Sleepy Hollow near its pinch point, which should relieve some of the pressure on Sleepy Hollow, Stroud said.
The mountain is in the second phase of its pine beetle mitigation plan, focusing on the Pano Ridge this year. Stroud said they’ve been working on trees since the day the mountain closed for the winter, and next week they’ll begin cutting down trees by hand on Pano Ridge; it’s too steep to use machines.
After cutting down the trees, they’ll lay them down and later remove them with a helicopter. He estimated they will remove 10,000 infested trees this summer, about the same number as they removed last year.
“We’re going to open up some really incredible skiing,” Stroud said. “It’s almost like we’re getting new runs.”
As far as infrastructure goes, the ski area is tearing down the old ski patrol building at the top of the Panorama lift and building a new one. The new building will also house some of the ski area’s broadband network. “It will enable us to improve communications,” Stroud said.
Monarch also recently announced that it will partner with Arapahoe Basin this winter, giving its pass holders three free days of skiing at the resort. “That’s pretty exciting,” Stroud said. “We’re very similar (ski areas), and we’ve always been close friends business wise.”