Colorado’s indie ski areas thriving as Vail Resorts, Alterra consolidate

In the shadow of battling behemoths, smaller, independent ski areas are thriving. 

“It’s not just that the big areas are crowded and skiers want to escape crowds,” said Bob Nicolls, the owner of Monarch ski area, which saw record visitation in 2021-22, with income for the ski area climbing 20% above the previous season. “I think it’s more about value. I think skiers are seeing our value versus the high prices of large ski areas. All boats are rising as people want to be outdoors.”

This story first appeared in The Outsider, the premium outdoor newsletter by Jason Blevins. Become