a lot of poling involved.”
was the warning my friend and I received from a passenger on the ski
bus from Salt Lake City to Brighton. We had not skied there before
and he was offering some advice.
have to watch out for the flat areas; you need to keep up speed.”
we later discovered, was good advice.
a good-size ski area about an hour’s bus ride south of Salt Lake
City in Big Cottonwood Canyon, is divided into three distinct areas,
and it takes a bit of effort with your poles to get from one to
another and back again. Plus, a large, flat beginning area
mid-mountain will have you working up a sweat unless you heed our
friendly passenger’s advice and “keep up speed.”
66 marked trails and several off-piste runs, Brighton’s terrain is
approximately 20 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 40
percent advanced. All areas are accessible by high-speed quads.
central area of the mountain is where most of the resort’s beginner
runs are located along with its terrain park. Beginning skiers can
ride the slower Majestic Express quad to mid-mountain and hit a few
groomed runs. More advanced skiers can take the Crest Express to the
top of the mountain, where several short runs lead back to the
mid-mountain beginner area.
ski-through at mid-mountain takes you to the Snake Creek Express to
the top of the other side of Preston Peak. From here, advance skiers
can blast down several chutes or beginners can take a long track back
to the base.
the mountain was not crowded midweek following a fresh snow, this was
the most popular area with longer lift lines.
over on the east side of the resort, it was practically deserted.
Here, it’s so open that you can go off the groomed trails and
choose your own path through areas of powder. With the exception of
maybe two runs, this is all intermediate to advanced skiing.
third ski area on the mountain’s west end is for experts only and
is accessed by the Great Western Express up to Clayton Peak. This
combination area of groomed and not groomed has several chutes coming
off a long ridge. From here, you can ski a track at the top of the
mountain back to the central area of the resort. But if you decide to
ski to the bottom, it will take a bit of speed and a lot of poling to
with its location in Big Cottonwood Canyon at 8,500 feet elevation,
gets more than 500 inches of snow a season. The latest snow report
shows an 8-foot base with two feet of fresh snow in the last two
and three other ski resorts – Solitude, just minutes from Brighton,
and Snowbird and Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon – can all be
accessed by bus from Salt Lake City. Ski buses pick up from about 10
downtown Salt Lake City locations and take skiers to any of the four
ski areas. The ride takes just over an hour.
Tickets: $58 adults, $25 children 7-12; free for children 6 and
younger; $20 seniors age 70 and over
accommodations: The 20-room Brighton Lodge has excellent family
ski packages. (800) 873-5512, Ext. 120.