Monarch is small in size, but has a lot of terrain to explore. There is no lodging at the base and the closest real lodging is in Salida- 20 minutes away. There are a lot of folks just like you there- front range I-70 escapees who are willing to drive extra far, but it's mostly Salida/Ark Valley locals and a few of us Gunny locals.
Powderhorn is actually a very sizable resort, but the lifts are old and slow. Some would complain, but top to bottom runs can last up to thirty minutes if you do it right so the lift rides offer up lots of time to recover and discuss safety. It's mostly locals from Grand Junction and surrounding areas there, but there is limited lodging at the base so there is always a few penny pincher tourists there. If youre after real skiing (not the carefully manufactured and cultivated skiing along the I-70 corridor) Powderhorn is a real untapped gem.
Sunlight is a great resort too. It's near Aspen but there are cheap lodging options available if you look, and like Powderhorn, Sunlight has a surprising amount of terrain thats just serviced by a few old lifts. The locals at Sunlight are some of the nicest I've ever met, as most of them are middle class folks from G Strings and Bondale.
I've heard Ski Cooper is small, but I haven't been there so I can't coment.
"Don't f$&@ing eddy out, just run it! Whaddya doin??" -LMyers