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Excerpts from ‘Around Monarch Pass’

Author Duane Vandenbusche, a professor of history at Western State College in Gunnison since 1962, is the author of several books on the Gunnison Country and Western Colorado. Until 2007, he doubled as a cross-country coach at the college, where his men’s and women’s teams won 12 national championships and produced three Olympians. In this volume, photographs gathered from libraries, museums, private collections, and old-timers – many of them previously unpublished – bring the rich history of Monarch Country alive.

We have been given permission to publish excerpts from the book for you here. Dr. Vandenbusche will be giving a presentation about Monarch Pass at the Salida SteamPlant on December 11 at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Photos and text reprinted with permission from “Around Monarch Pass,” by Duane Vandenbusche. Available from the publisher online at or by calling (888) 313-2665.

The Western State Ski Team. The Western State Ski Team poses for a picture in December 1961. Head Coach Sven Wiik is kneeling at the far left in the front row. Wiik became the United States Olympic coach twice, turned out many Olympians and made Western State one of the top three college programs in the nation. The ski team was involved in many races at Monarch. (Duane Vandenbusche Collection)
Monarch Turntable. This primitive wooden Denver and Rio Grande Gallows turntable has eight workers engaged in turning an engine around in August 1884 near the Monarch silver mining camp. The railroad branch was then only three years old and was optimistic about nearby silver mines. (Denver Public Library)
White Pine. A White Pine mother in the late 1800s gets ready to pull her two year-old son 13 miles from White Pine to Sargents. The mother had a long cord that ran around her wrist to the front of the sled. The trip was slightly downhill but mom had to be tired after the long journey. (Duane Vandenbusche Collection)