By Annie Fast
As good a resort as Brighton is, it sure is unpretentious--but if all of a sudden it started claiming as hard as some of the kids in the Crest chairlift corral do, it might sound something like this: “I have the best powder in, like, the world. I’ve got pretty much every size cliff and steep chutes. Did you even check out my backcountry? It’s next level.”
Thankfully, Brighton lets the terrain do the talking. That’s probably why low-key snowboarders who also let their riding do the talking--like Brandon Ruff, Seth Huot, and Jon Kooley--pick Brighton as their home resort. Or maybe it’s because of the open-boundaries to cheesewedge heaven … or was it the 57 feet of snow the resort got last year?
Freeriding: The Millicent chair is the place to be on powder days. Warm up with high-speed runs down the rolling groomers, then head into the Mary Chutes and The Rock Garden. Look up when you get off the Crest or Milli chair and consider one of those hikes-they’re quick and worth it.
Brighton has an open-boundaries policy and the possibilities are limitless, but just make sure you know what you’re doing and that you’ve got your avalanche equipment and training.
Park And Pipe: You’ve played Amped, right? So you know what the park is like. The park is accessed by the Crest quad. Follow the locals for a top-to-bottom run-some jedi tree riding and traversing is required. The jumps come in all sizes, and the rails come in all levels. Jon Kooley suggests that you check out the “Big Bertha” booter right under the Majestic lift. It’s been there forever-it’s like Brighton’s show-time booter. The park can somehow entertain you for days on end … or an entire season.
Do This: If you plan on taking advantage of the open-boundary policy at Brighton, do what local pros like Alexis Waite and Erin Comstock do, and take an avalanche education class. Check avalanchecourse.com for a list of courses offered and rates.
Shreducation: Brighton has a Burton Learn-To-Ride method center-this is the perfect opportunity to get that misguided skier one-plankin’. Ninety bucks will get you a special LTR rental, a learner pass, and a lesson.
Apres: Molly Greens is the spot to chill on-hill after shredding. It’s the A-frame near Crest (keep in mind that we’re in 3.2 country here.) You can also hit up the Porcupine Restaurant at the base of the canyon just past 7-Eleven-huge portions of exactly the kind of food and pitchers you want after shredding pow all day. When the sun sets, head to the Circle Lounge in Salt Lake for drinks and sushi in a swanky atmosphere.
Food: This is Salt Lake City, not some small mountain town, so the options are limitless--but the local shred crowd does have favorites, like Molca Salsa. Some people in SLC belong to the Mormon church, and some belong to the church of Molca Salsa. The burritos are so addictive that there’re legends of Mikey LeBlanc importing them to neighboring states to stoke out his friends. MS is on the East 3300 South exit of the 215. If you find yourself downtown, don’t miss out on healthy food at The Oasis Cafe (151 South 500 East). Riders on a budget can get every meal from the deli at Whole Foods in Sugar Hill. If you’ve got a big group, head over to the Shanghai Cafe (145 East 1300 South).
Lodging: Brighton has the Brighton Lodge, but it might be a little boring unless you take advantage of the night riding (offered every night from 4:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. except Sunday.) If you want to stay close to the mountain, check out the mini-Intrawest village at neighboring Solitude. You can even buy a SolBright lift ticket, which allows access to both resorts. For everyone else, there’s every type of lodging in Salt Lake.
Getting Here And Around: Fly into Salt Lake International Airport and drive to Brighton. It’s at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, a mere 35 mminutes from downtown Salt Lake. Take I-215 to Exit 6 (6200 South) and turn east toward the mountains. Follow the brown signs to Brighton, and drive fifteen miles up the canyon.
You can also park in the lot at the base of the canyon and jump on the bus.
“Some of the best days I’ve ever had have been riding Brighton in a snowstorm with my friends, making laps on Crest until we couldn’t stand anymore.“--Jon Kooley
Summit Elevation: 10,500 feet
Vertical Drop: 1,745 feet
Rideable Acres: 1,050
Snowfall: 500 inches
Number Of Lifts: 7
2005/06 Ticket Prices: (Adult/Youth/Child): $44/$40/Free
Phone: (801) 532-4731
Web Site: brightonresort.com
Hub: Salt Lake City, Utah
Snowboard Shops: Salty Peaks (801) 467-8000, Milosport 1-877-504-1500
Brighton is as famous for the out-of-bounds as the ins. Here’re some of the features that crews rush to on sunny pow mornings:
The TB Cliffs: This set of cliffs is set way back in Brighton’s backcountry. They’re called the TB cliffs because they were in one of the early TB movies.
The Marc Frank Jump: This jump is usually a poppy jump with a short landing. It’s called the Marc Frank Jump because he was the first person to ever get a shot on it.
Milk It: A sweet preseason jump, it’s small and you can hit it with only a few inches of snow.
H20: This one is right off the run. It’s a high-speed jump with a really tight landing.