Brighton has been a breeding ground for professional snowboarders for decades. From George Johnston to JP Walker, practically every rider who is from or has lived in Utah has frequented Brighton. It may not be world famous (yet) for its Superpipe or ridiculous park, but it’s known for the easy-access backcountry terrain. I doubt a season has gone by where Brighton hasn’t been documented in both snowboard magazines and videos. Whether you want to jib some park rails, huck yourself on some big kickers, ride trees and chutes, or bomb off cliffs, you can find it all at Brighton. With over 500 inches of annual snowfall, Brighton is definitely “blessed.”
Park And Pipe
Jared Winkler, head park designer and founder of KAB (kabrails.com), has put Brighton’s park on the map. In the past two years, Brighton purchased both a Park Bully (a park-specific cat) and a Pipe Magician to build a Superpipe. The pipe is also trenched, so it starts early and is open until the end of the season. Jared has spent weeks building amazing rails, and the Brighton park proves it. One thing you should know, though: all of Brighton is one big park, and it has more natural terrain than anywhere.
The freeriding and easy-access backcountry terrain is what put Brighton on the map in snowboarding. The Mary’s Chutes, Pioneer Peak, and Mount Millicent, to name a few, are what keep riders coming back season after season. Just riding up the Millicent chair, you can see many famous cliffs. At the top of the Crest lift, you can hike up to the Heber Cliffs, or take a run down to Sunshine Bowl and build any number of kickers. You can hike out-of-bounds at Brighton, but you’re on your own, so be careful and use your brain. Bring your pack and backcountry gear-there’s a ton of terrain just off the lifts, and you can just bomb through it all.
Brighton is adding a high-speed quad to Majestic. This means more laps through the park than you can handle in one day. Brighton is also adding additional lighting in the park area to make night riding even better. The park crew is creating some cutting-edge rails and obstacles for this season-the info is top secret and they threatened to kill me if I leaked anything, but you’ll definitely be stoked with what they have going.
Only a hop, skip, and a jump from Salt Lake City, Brighton has all the amenities of a big city with mountains closer than the average American’s commute. At the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon there’s a local bar and grill called The Porcupine. The Porcupine is a great place to chill out after a hard day of riding, get a taste of some local brews, and eat (make sure you get the nachos). If you head more downtown, there’s a new jazz/sushi joint called The Circle Lounge that’s owned and operated by snowboarders. If you’re looking for a mellow place to pound a few back, go to Todd’s Bar, probably the most relaxed bar around. Be sure to stop by the local shops to get any info on what might be happening around town.
At Brighton there are three different places to eat. The Alpine Rose is your typical cafeteria-style restaurant, The Brighton Chalet is a small place to get a quick snack or burger, and Molly Green’s is a full-service restaurant/pub and a good place to hang out. While cruising around SLC, don’t forget to stop off at Molca Salsa or Barbacoa for a great burrito.
If you want to stay up at Brighton, The Brighton Lodge is your only choice, but it has all the necessities. Since SLC is so close, it’s easy to stay in the city and drive or catch a shuttle up to the hill.
Brighton is found up Big Cottonwood Canyon, just 30 minutes from downtown SLC.
Average snowfall: 500 inches
Summit elevation: 10,750 feet
Number of lifts: 8 (4 quads, 2 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 rope tow)
Shreddable acres: 850
Night riding: Yes (4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)
Local shops: Milosport (801) 487-88600 and Blindside (801) 412-9200
Ticket prices: Adult day $41 (9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.), Adult Super Day $45 (9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.)