Insider's Guide to Resort Skiing at Brighton

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Brighton was one of the earliest ski spots in the country: its first rope tow opened in 1936. (It also happens to be where my great-grandfather wooed my great-grandmother with ski outings.) The resort now boasts several nice, modern lifts and one or two dining spots to boot, but its original roots and atmosphere remain largely unchanged.

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The resort has no high-rise condominiums or luxury lodging; in fact, lodging is limited and no-frills. There’s no fine dining to be found; for lunch you can choose between cafeteria fare at the Alpine Rose or pizzas and cheesy bread at Molly Green’s pub. There’s no concierge or hostess, but there’s character aplenty.

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You get the immediate sense that Brighton is unpretentious. It’s about play, about powder, about fun. It has a renowned terrain park (which is even lit up for night skiing), where Salt Lake kids go after they get out of school for the day.

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Salt Lake families gather here on weekends and holidays to take advantage of Brighton’s high-quality but inexpensive ski school. The vibe is very down-to-earth and unpretentious. You won’t find many furry boots, expensive ski jackets, or elaborate coffee drinks. Kids whir by squealing with glee, while adults schuss pleasantly around Snake Creek and Great Western.

The terrain is interesting and varied, with endless tree glades offering the perfect places to duck in for a few hidden powder turns.

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One of the principal gems at Brighton is its Millicent lift. Millicent is across the parking lot from the main base area, so it’s off the beaten path. This terrain is the most challenging and interesting at the resort. Cliffs, stumps, and rocks of every size and shape dot the landscape, making the perfect takeoffs for jumps and tricks. The Lake Mary cliffs lie a short traverse away from the lift, and they’re an excellent spot to test your hucking mettle on a powder day.

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Brighton offers skiing as it was originally conceived, without hype or hullaballoo. The absence of overbuilt real estate gives you breathing room to enjoy the gorgeous mountain views around you. But while you admire the openness of the area, you feel the presence of several generations of Salt Lake skiers’ fond memories. The same slopes that welcomed the Alpine Ski Club in the ‘30s are just as inviting 80 years later. That’s some staying power; clearly they’re doing something right by letting Mother Nature occupy the limelight.   

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