Salida, Colorado — The biggest little mountain in Colorado is going to expand.

Today, Monarch Mountain announced that the U.S. Forest Service has approved its proposal to expand into No Name Basin.

The expansion will increase Monarch’s special use permit from 769 to 1,146 acres. The proposed terrain, which is currently used for Monarch’s cat-skiing operations, is a mix of intermediate and advanced trails/glades. Sixty-two acres of trees would be cleared for the trails, while seventy-five acres would be thinned out for the glades.

This terrain pod will be serviced by a 2,700-foot-long fixed-grip triple chairlift. Near the base terminal of the new chairlift will be a warming hut and restrooms. In addition, an 8,600-foot-long permanent access road would be sculpted to access the new lift’s base terminal. 

Randy Stroud, who’s the GM and COO of Monarch Mountain, said the following about the approval process to KOAA News5:

“This has truly been a labor of love. We learned a lot during the process and have an in-depth appreciation of the State Historical Preservation group and the Federal Advisory Council on Historical Preservation. We plan to work together along with the Forest Service on continuing education with regard to the importance of preservation of all cultural aspects of the area and beyond. That process has been rewarding. So, now on with the crux of the matter … more room for skiing and riding. Time to get to work.”

A look at No Name Basin.

This is going to be a big deal for Monarch. It’s long been considered a hidden gem and a local spot, but this new expansion will help it appeal to out-of-state travelers. In addition, with their purchase of The Crest gondola in 2022, the area around Monarch is becoming a four-season destination. This scenic gondola, which is located two miles away from the ski area, offers “360-degree views of five of the mountain ranges in the Rocky Mountains.” The Crest also has a visitor center, which features a gift shop, museum space, and various food outlets.

Monarch Mountain aims to begin construction in No Name Basin during the summer of 2025.

Image Credits: Monarch Mountain

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