I visited Monarch Mountain for the first time last season and this year I'm going back. The place is what skiing was about before the mega-resort village experience took over, friendly people and tons of snow. The mountain lays out really nice with good beginner runsat the bottom and some great steeps up top. They have some fantastic backcountry terrain in Mirkwood Basin and a short access hike keeps the gapers away. This is a place you can still find untracked powder a week after it snows. It's just not crowded at monarch, mabe that's why they're so friendly. I hear they have a great Cat Skiing area too. The bar in the base lodge is one of the nicest ski area bars I've been it. Monarch seems to have it all.