Kayaks and Closing Day Parties at Monarch

Hit the slopes to — kayak? Grab your paddles and transition from ski season to river season all in one day as Monarch celebrates its annual Kayaks on Snow celebration.

Everybody knows the best way to enjoy the slopes is — a kayak? Hey, it makes sense at Monarch Mountain, where the hometown locals from Salida spend half the year carving turns on the mountain and the other half running the rapids of the Arkansas River. Monarch is once again hosting its signature event, Kayaks on Snow, Saturday, April 16, 2022. The event has been named one of the “10 Best Closing Day Parties in North America” by Ski magazine.


This year’s annual closing weekend competition at Monarch will feature kayak racing, including head-to-head elimination rounds. Groups of four contestants in kayaks will race down a specially designed course on the Freeway run with berms, banks, bumps and an ending in an icy pond.

Registration for Kayaks on Snow will take place the day of the competition at the Monarch season pass desk between 9-10 a.m. for a cost of $40 per competitor. Competitors must be 18 years or older, have kayaking experience, sign a release of liability waiver and supply their own kayak, pfd, helmet and carabiner. Helmet face masks are encouraged.

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And, no, you don’t even need your skis or snowboard to enjoy the festivities. Kayaks on Snow races start at 11 a.m. and can be viewed, free of charge, from the base area at Monarch Mountain.

“Kayaks on Snow is challenging for the competitors and is really fun and exciting for spectators,” said Kathryn Wadsworth, monarch event coordinator, in a press release. “The best thing about Kayaks on Snow is that it’s all about snow and water. The two things that we all like to do: Slide on snow and float on water.”

For those looking for an additional challenge, the Gunbarrel Challenge happens Sunday, April 17. The quest for bragging rights is a race up and back down the steep black-diamond Gunbarrel run that rises above the Monarch parking lot. Whether you run, skin or crawl up and ski or snowboard down, it’s all about being the fastest. 

Find details and more information at skimonarch.com.

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Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones is Springs’ co-founder, editorial director and chief outdoor officer. He loves building community by telling stories about all the people, places and culture that make Colorado Springs an amazing place to live. And he’s especially stoked when exploring new places in the Springs, Colorado and beyond. Watch for him hiking, running or mountain biking the local trails with his wife and kids.