By Jon Kramer
“All this terrain, and you’re telling me you wanna hike?” The first time I rode at Brighton was back in 1995, and one thing I really didn’t understand was how much hiking people do there. The mountain has eight lifts-two of them are high-speed quads that fling you uphill in a matter of minutes, not to mention the 64 trails plus a grip of tree runs to choose from on the way down. I remember thinking, “Why would anyone struggle through knee-deep snow for 30 or 40 minutes to build a jump when there’re so many rocks, cat-tracks, and light poles to air off?” Crazy Utards.
On powder days, you’ll find that Milly, Crest, and Great Western lifts aid in the search for powder and gladed areas. The resort has also added a few new rails and jumps to its terrain park in the past two seasons. But the best part about Brighton is its easily accessible backcountry. Gates at the top lead to unlimited terrain-as much as you can possibly hike to. This is probably why so many snowboard filmtographers and, of course, pro sliders invade the area every season. And the beauty of a resort that gets more than 500 inches of snow a year is that if you and your crew happen to fall a lot and make hot-tub-sized pits around all the jumps, you can try it again a few days later with fresh landings.
Brighton is located at the top of Big Cottonwood canyon about 30 minutes from the city with the salty lake. From the 7Eleven at the bottom of the canyon you have a few options available: If you are 4×4 or snow-tire equipped, you can drive on up. Carless or environmentally conscious people can take the shuttle bus. The brave can stick out their thumb and hitch a ride, but avoid vans with heavily tinted windows. If you are really X-treme, you can also hike to the top … dork.
Average annual snowfall: 500 inches
Summit elevation: 10,000 feet
Vertical drop: 1,745 feet
Number of lifts: Seven lifts, one rope tow
Shreddable acres: 850
Snowskate parks: Nope
Nearby skateparks: Sandy Skatepark