Hometown hill vibe, small attitude, not crowded
Shorter runs, cold, wind, few close lodging options
Monarch is off the well-beaten I-70 path, but it isn't always easy to get to when Monarch Pass is icy & snowpacked. It's not big on amenities, but its old school rustic vibe is all you need if you're not hung up on pricey resort cushions. The town of Salida has options for lodging, and the nightlife isn't crazy rockin. But it's an easy scene of small town & just good places to eat & drink. For an amazing dinner, hit The Butcher's Table. It's not a kid place, more for couples.
If you are a sucky skier/rider, there's plenty of places to learn & stay out of the way of faster, experienced people who may scare you or your kids. For those of us who are fast & experienced, honor those slow signs for your own safety and the safety of the scared & inexperienced who are just trying to learn to love this sport. Unfortunately, you will find sliders & scrapers on the blues taking up the whole run. Everyone needs to take that leap at some point if they want to improve their skills and their enjoyment level. So be aware, be patient, and let them know nicely that they can always try harder greens before attempting more advanced runs.
We all just want to have fun, be safe, and make it to happy hour, tailgating or dinner in one piece. In the case of spring skiing, this might actually involve a one-piece.