Salida, Colorado..PowderMonarch, LLC has successfully closed the deal for Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area today at Chaffee Title & Escrow, Inc in downtown Salida, Colorado. PowderMonarch, LLC acquired Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area from the California based Ski Monarch, LLC for over 5 million dollars.

“This is such a positive event of Monarch,” says Carrie Locke, Monarch’s Communications Director. “For this group of local business people to get involved in one of the most competitive ski industry in the nation, shows true passion and commitment to the sport and to Monarch’s future.”

The group consists of a collection of Chaffee County, Front Range and California-based business people. The group all are avid skiers and riders and have been eager to become involved with Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area.

“This deal took three attempts to complete. We certainly had a determined group of people who are very interested in Monarch’s success,” says Locke.

PowderMonarch, LLC investors are as follows:

Bob Nicolls-Nicolls has been a resident of Colorado since 1991 and purchased Monarch Mountain Lodge, November 1999. As a youth, Nicolls and his family traveled and camped through the south central region of Colorado. It wasn’t until 1990, did Nicolls visit Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area as a skier. Nicolls is the leader of Denver’s real estate group, First Pacific Investment. The company owns more than 2,000 apartment units in the Denver area and 1,000 in Oklahoma City. Nicolls’ wife, Kathy Nicolls, is also an avid skier and his children are involved with Monarch’s Ski Team. Nicolls created the investment group with a handful of previous business partners and local business people who were all passionate about Monarch. “Everyone involved loves to ski or ride. The local participation will lend an expertise in community developments and keep Monarch involved with our surrounding area,” say Nicholls.

Rich Moorhead-Moorhead, a Pueblo native, first came to work at Monarch more than 26 years ago as a lift operator. Moorhead is the General Manager and Vice-President of Operations at Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area. “It is an exciting time to have local ownership and it is planned to be long term. It should help in a new vision for Monarch,” says Moorhead. Both Moorhead and his wife Julie Goodnight are enthusiastic skiers.

Melissa Goforth-Goforth is currently Monarch’s Chief Financial Officer and moved to Colorado at the age of 3. She has been a resident in the San Luis Valley, Idaho Springs, Colorado Springs and Salida. She has worked for Pikes Peak Fast Food in Colorado Springs as a Controller prior to her arrival at Monarch in November 1996. She is a skier and her entire family frequents Monarch slopes. She and her husband Bruce Goforth moved to the Chaffee County area for its strong community feel. “The atmosphere at Monarch is so welcoming. I loved to bring my kids here to ski when they were little,” says Goforth.

Don Jackson-Jackson, a New York native, moved to Salida from Santa Fe, New Mexico four years ago. Upon his arrival, he purchased the Salida Super 8. He has been an active skier since his youth. Since his teens, Jackson has been a part of the resort and restaurant industries. While in Chaffee County he has been very active with the Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau and the lodging community. His children, Rachel and Cody, are both skiers and have both been spotted taking snowboarding lessons at Monarch Snowboard School. “This new ownership will be mutually beneficial to both the ski area and the surrounding community. It is a unique opportunity for business people of Colorado to own a piece of Colorado’s heritage,” says Jackson.

Bill Block-Block started skiing in 1957 in western New York. He started teaching skiing in 1966 and received PSIA certification in 1970 at Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire. Block attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado in the early 70′s when he started to teachh skiing at Monarch. He moved to Garfield, Colorado after college and opened Independent Whitewater Rafting in 1979 and Monarch Tours in 1986. His wife, Diane Block, and children, Bonni and Bobby, are all skiers. Diane is still winning races at Monarch’s Town Challenge. “I’ve made skiing my life, the Monarch Ski Area and Garfield, Colorado has provided me with many opportunities to live, work & recreate. My involvement with PowderMonarch, LLC is such a dream come true for me.”

Josh Baker-Baker moved to Salida in 1979 from Ware, Massachusetts. His company photographs skiers and whitewater rafters in Colorado, New York, West Virginia and Tennessee. Baker and his wife, Christine, have been involved at Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area as Monarch Image Makers since the winter of 1987. Josh and Christine are skiers and their two children are active on the Monarch Race Team.

Dan Bender-Bender moved to Maysville in his youth from Lincoln, NE. His parents purchased a ranch geared toward visiting skiers. He learned to ski at Monarch at the age of 8 and started to teach at Monarch Ski School in the 1982-83. Bender attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and started in sales in 1990-91. Bender has been a part of the Colorado Ski Industry since 1982 and is currently in Group Sales & Marketing at the Monarch Mountain Lodge.

Tom Shephard-Shephard, originally from California, has been a resident of Colorado for 5 years. Shephard moved to Colorado because his passion for skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing and snowboarding. He has had past business endeavors with Nicolls. “Monarch gave me an opportunity to combine my love of skiing and riding with a long term investment opportunity,” says Shephard.

Jon Maier-Maier is a resident of Marin County, California. He is a part of California’s Tri-Commercial Real Estate and has worked with Nicolls in the past with First Pacific Investment. His has dreamt of being a part of the ski industry and to invest in a ski area. He has visited Monarch to ski and ride and has been a guest of Monarch’s SnowCat Tours. His wife is a skier and his son, Blaze, will be on skis soon.

Peter Meier-Meier is a resident of Alta, Utah. He also is a part of California’s Tri-Commercial Real Estate and has worked with Nicolls in the past with First Pacific Investment. Meier was married on the top of Snowbird in Utah and his wife is an expert skier. Meier has visited Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area and is happy to be a part of the investing group.

Gene Chen-Chen is from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley. Chen has worked as a financial consultant and as an engineer in Silicon Valley. Chen is a skier and first visited Monarch with Nicolls in 2001. “Monarch is just beautiful…a real gem. Since my trip in 2001, I have been interested in the purchase and have encouraged Bob to make it happen,” says Chen.

With permission from the Forest Service, PowderMonarch, LLC will be interested in making improvements to the day lodge and to the rental shop. Once challenges with infrastructure are addressed, the group will start working with Monarch’s existing Master Plan.

Moorhead and Goforth will continue to run and manage Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area.

Monarch is scheduled to open on November 22, 2002. For more information about the ski area log on to www.skimonarch.com.