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Brighton Ski Resort Review

January 5, 2011

Crest Express

Ripping down the mountain, cutting some sick powder turns, duckin’, dodgin’, bobbin’ and weavin’ through some snow covered Evergreens into a b-line straight off the nearest cliff into a pillow soft landing.  POOF! goes the powder as it gently slaps you in the face with its cold, refreshing kiss and then caresses your body as you ride out of the landing, overcome with the incredible joy that gives all I can do to express it is to shout out “WHAOOOO!”   I stop for moment to admire my amazing line then cut a hard turn back inbounds to hit up the park or pipe and on down to the lift to do it all again.

That description explains the possibilities that the terrain of Brighton Ski Resort holds.  It holds a fantastic position on the mountain that can allow any snow riding enthusiast of all experience levels to enjoy any and all backcountry tree runs, cliff lines, cat track speed runs, and freestyle ski/snowboard parks.

To me the best Brighton Ski Resort has to offer is its backcountry.  Keep in mind, if I were a character in a 80’s surf movie I would be the “soul surfer” who believes the greatest joy of riding is to “feel the wave” (or powder) and become one with the nature around you.  Maybe the greatest joy in riding snow is not to slide a rail or hit a kicker but to get just that one turn in the deep powder off in the trees with no one around but you and your friends.

Checking out the landing off a Mt. Millicent cliff drop

Brighton is so great for its backcountry because there are so many options to access it.  You can simply ride in and out of bounds where the Snow Cat doesn’t go or grab your pack and go on a hike anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours.  This excursion may lead to some of the best turns of your life.

Mt. Millicent

Brighton has 2 lifts that are perfect for beginners.   They have 3 other lifts for riders of any experience level.  My favorite is the Millicent lift.  It is located away from the main mountain side that holds most of Brighton resort.   With majestically picturesque peak, its intimidating look keeps away most beginners but does attract those seeking cliff drops and exhilarating runs,  many of which, whether in or out of bounds, are untouched by any trail grooming.

The freestyle park at Brighton however is not so great.  In fact, if compared to the park at Park City Resort, it is downright pathetic.  So if all you care about is the freestyle park then you really don’t need the best snow on Earth that Utah so proudly boasts.   You may as well head to the icy hills of Vermont.  Don’t get me wrong, Brighton has some challenging tabletops and big jib obstacles as well as a Snow Dragon to cut a Super Pipe.  They just don’t seem to maintain it very well.  I also not a fan of the random rails scattered throughout the resort.  Rails belong in the city, not on the mountain.  Again, “soul surfer” ;).

Located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon about 30 to 40 minutes from the airport, Brighton is mostly populated by locals, likely due to the one small lodge to stay in.  It can’t compete with the large tourist-filled hotels surrounding the Park City resorts.  If you’re coming to ride Utah, do not miss Brighton!  It is well worth it.  And it’s easily in the Utah Top 3; possibly # 1.  If you do head to Brighton and want to hit up the amazing backcountry I’ve been boasting about, be safe.  Check the avalanche report, bring the proper equipment, and check with the locals or ski patrol about where to go or what you are looking for.   Do this and you will have a blast!

See ya on the hill-

A short hike up Pioneer Peak leads to some fresh backcountry powder

Molly Greens Pub

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One Comment leave one →
  1. wza permalink
    January 7, 2011 12:17 PM

    Nice write up. I second all that was said. Each resort has its own special gem about it but Brighton is my favorite.

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