Utah’s Brighton Resort is the place to be

Jared Winkler, Communications Director at Brighton, shows off his skills in one of the resort's terrain parks.WINA STURGEON/TNS)

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Jared Winkler, Communications Director at Brighton, shows off his skills in one of the resort's terrain parks.WINA STURGEON/TNS)

If you live outside of Utah, you may never have heard of Brighton Resort. It’s a low-key ski and snowboard area that is a definite favorite of the local population who live in northern Utah, as well as a steadily increasing flock of tourists who come back every year to experience the delights of Brighton. And there are many of those delights.

While nearly every snow resort in Utah flashes the internet with ads, Brighton hardly advertises at all. Nor does it need to. The parking lot is totally full every day of the week. One of the highest resorts in Utah, it’s matched only by the altitude of Alta resort, which is in a neighboring canyon — but of course, Alta doesn’t allow snowboarders, so it’s never quite as crowded as Brighton.

Here is why you need to know about Brighton so late in the snow season: the resort is offering a ‘Spring Pass,’ good for unlimited snowriding, for $175. And the snow-dumping storms are rolling in with gusto, with three more snowstorms predicted for this week, and more to come.

The Spring Pass is such good news because a Brighton lift ticket purchased on the mountain is $85. But if you can get away from your job just for two days, and spend two weekdays plus Saturday and Sunday, your daily lift ticket with the Spring Pass will cost about half that: $43.75. Brighton’s planned closing date is April 22. It’s worth flying in, no matter where you live, because of what the resort has to offer.

There is a plethora of mixed runs, from easy greens to challenging blacks. Families can take the same lift and use adjoining runs where one run may be easy, but another only a hundred feet away may be a black diamond skill-tester. For those who enjoy tree skiing, Brighton is said to have the best tree skiing of any snow resort in America. On runs where trees have been selectively culled, even novices can try to ride through forest groves.

Unlike most other resorts, such as Park City, there is no glamour at Brighton. The vibe is laid back and fun, with mountain hosts and ski patrol always willing to give advice and help you snowride a little better. No one cares what you are wearing.

There are three separate mountains at Brighton: Brighton itself, Millicent, and Great Western. Brighton has several terrain parks, with a variety of features that will satisfy both experts and beginners. Millicent has steep faces and long meandering trails. There is also a restaurant just feet from the base of the Milly lift which serves incredible hamburgers made from fresh patties. Great Western has some of the most beautiful mountain views, and a very wide intermediate run called Golden Needle that’s over a mile long, where snowriders can get some serious speed.

This year, there’s a new attraction at the top of Great Western — Telisha, the avalanche dog. Just two years old, she has made friends with many folks who come to the top of Great Western just to see if she’s around. She loves chasing twigs, and her fans climb into the snowbanks to dig out little sticks and toss them to her. She always brings them back to the thrower. Telisha has become a main attraction for snowriders who need a little rest after hours of hard skiing or snowboarding.

With the incoming storms, the incredible snow coverage, and the $175 Spring Pass, Brighton is definitely worth a snow vacation, or even more than one. In fact, if you can find 10 days to go there before the April 22 closing date, you’ll be snowriding for $17.50 a day!

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Wina Sturgeon is the editor of the online magazine Adventure Sports Weekly