CHAFFEE COUNTY — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This week, we take our adventures to one of Southern Colorado's favorite places to ski, Monarch Mountain.
The mountain offers stunning views and plenty of terrain for all ability types.
The snow here gets deep too!
Monarch averages around 350 inches a year of all-natural snow.
I'm joined on today's adventure by my photog Ryan, Monarch's Marketing Director Dan Bender, and Marketing Office Administrator Eva Egbert.
Sidecountry skiing on double diamond expert terrain
Mirkwood Basin is our destination. It's Monarch's hike-to-only extreme terrain.
The hike from the top of the breezeway lift to Mirkwood Ridge takes us about 10 to 20 minutes.
Eva tells me it'll take eight. I beg to differ.
At almost 12,000 feet, I feel it from my legs to my lungs when we reach the summit. I'm hoping that the hike is the hardest part of this adventure, but the views from the top are worth it!
With barely enough time to catch our breath, we drop into Mirkwood Bowl.
The bowl is narrow and steep, and conditions are challenging after more than two feet of snow from the previous storm.
Dan tells me that there's no plans to make this terrain lift accessible.
This he says, assures that Mirkwood's secret powder stashes stay that way, and can be enjoyed by expert skiers and boarders only.
From skiing to tubing
For those not into skiing and riding, Monarch also offers tubing.
Now in it's third season, the tubing hill is perfect for families.
With music pumping, the four of us grab our tubes and make our way up the hill.
Once at the top, we get set to go and then we're off.
It's so much fun!
Ryan calls it a day after one run, Eva after two.
Dan seems to be enjoying himself too, and joins me for one last run.
After snow tubing and our super challenging run down Mirkwood Bown, I'm exhausted, but hope to get back here one more time before the snow melts.
Thanks to heavy snowfall, the good news is that Monarch has extended its season through April 11th.
For more information, including lift tickets and a daily ski report, visit Monarch Mountain online at skimonarch.com.