Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chilling out at Brighton Utah

Vibrant Vertical Vista at Brighton Resort - By Simon Hudson
Having experienced Brighton Resort a few years ago during a thin patch, it was absolute bliss to be back during this year's deep winter conditions! Due to 557 inches of sensational snowfall already this season, the entire first floors of the houses surrounding the ski hill were buried, with owners having to chisel tunnels out of the snow to gain access to downstairs doors and windows. 

Relaxing on the quad at Brighton Resort - first time wearing my new Helmet Hugger. It is not a hat! It is a new type of
stylish helmet cover. You can order them in many colours, fabrics and trims!! 
This was day 2 of my Utah ski safari with Dr Simon Hudson, skier, author, professor of tourism, and ski researcher - not to mention a guide with the Ski Club of Great Britain, with many years of alpine guiding experience. Having been to a polished and personable presentation by eminent Olympian Michael Phelps at the Qualtrics Insight Summit that morning, we only had half a day to ski Brighton. But that is the beauty of the array of amazing resorts surrounding Salt Lake City: they are so close you can easily drive (or take the bus), even if you only have a few spare hours for rugged recreation. Brighton is just 31 miles away, a 43-minute meandering motor through Big Cottonwood Canyon.

Corduroy Carpets - Courtesy of Brighton Resort
Doyle's Dive at Brighton Resort - by Simon Hudson
With blazing blue skies, Brighton was a playground paradise that day: we cruised the groomers, conquered a few double diamond glades, dipped into Doyle's Dive, and ripped down the mellow moguls on Pine Marten. I'm sure you know that freedom feeling on warm sunny days: everything is so much easier without worrisome weather and visibility issues to contend with. The run layout is intricate and interesting at 81-year-old Brighton Resort, with trails following the undulating lie of the land, turns, corners and surprises around every corner. We had no guide that day, just the piste map and our own intuition but we never got lost. 

Brighton is another of those 'in-the-know' Utah resorts - no glitzy advertising, limited accommodation onhill, but a radical reputation with locals and fervent fans. I was first attracted there for the simple reason that it is the same name as the town I come from in the UK. Having experienced Brighton by the sea (you can check out my Brighton Rocks article in the Calgary Herald), it was alluring to try out the mountain version and my day there three years ago made me want to come back. 

Courtesy of Brighton Resort
Benefits at Brighton include five high speed quads accessing ALL the terrain over the 1050 acreage which, due to its position at the top of the Big Cottonwood Canyon, averages 500 inches of snow per season (already exceeded this mega year). For those with kids, a significant advantage is the Kids Ski Free policy which extends up to 10-year-olds. There are five terrain parks and there's gnarly night skiing over 200 acres Mon-Sat from 4-9pm. As well as the snowsports school, there's an edgy educational Tour with a Ranger program, which combines guiding around the easy to intermediate slopes with a naturalist's overview of the indigenous wildlife, geology and history. 

Simon Hudson figuring out the route at Brighton Resort
For those who want to be first on snow every day, there's the rustic 20-room Brighton Lodge, (complete with hot tub) a few yards from the Crest Express Lift (kids 10 and under stay free!) and also a variety of luxurious mountain homes for rent with Mount Majestic Properties. Or you can stay 10 mins down the road at the more humble B & B, Silver Fork Lodge and Restaurant. We were happy commuting from SLC.
Courtesy of Brighton Resort

For a smaller ski area, there are plenty of eateries - and drinkeries - to choose from. The newest is the Millicent (Milly) Chalet by the base of the Millicent Quad with great views, patio and comfort food - grilled cheese highly recommended! Lower down is the Alpine Rose Cafeteria for all meals, breakfast through dinner, featuring cookouts in spring. Also at the base is Molly Green's full service bar and grill, famous for hand-tossed pizza, nachos and beer. In the Brighton Centre, the Blind Miner serves coffee, waffles, brats and snacks and there are lots of places around the hill for picnicking. There may be nothing fancy at Brighton but the simplicity of the facilities are complemented by the most deluxe downhill descents and amazing million-dollar views. 

2017 SLUG Games at Brighton - Courtesy of Brighton Resort
Social Media Links:

Phone 855 201 SNOW

Upcoming Spring Events:

March 31: Free S'mores Night from 6pm at the Alpine Rose Deck

Beautiful Brighton - Courtesy of Brighton Resort

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