Brighton Resort Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Brighton Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    8,755 - 10,500 (1,745)
  • Average Snow Fall
    500 inches
  • Lifts (7)
    5 high speed quads
  • Ski Season
    Mid Nov to mid April
  • Terrain Summary
    Terrain - 1,050ac
    Runs – 66
    Longest run – 1.2mi
    Beginner - 21%
    Intermediate - 39%
    Advanced - 25%
    Expert - 15%

Brighton Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

Brighton Resort is a freestyle haven for snowboarders. That doesn’t mean that skiers won’t enjoy the terrain at Brighton, but the ratio of boarders to skiers is high especially in comparison to the tranquil Solitude. The abundant snowfall, terrain parks, and value for money are aspects that attract the masses.

The Brighton skiing and snowboarding terrain is somewhat varied and includes groomed trails, drop-offs, natural terrain parks, a few chutes, and lots of mellow tree skiing. There is a spread of terrain for all abilities, but in comparison to other Cottonwood Canyon resorts, there is only a small amount of expert terrain.

Brighton Resort isn’t particularly large – it’s a little under the average size for a Utah ski resort. The vertical is also somewhat on the short side at only 1,745 feet (532m).

Brighton Resort Layout

The Brighton Resort is divided into two sides, Majestic and Millicent. The Millicent side is serviced by one lift (so you’re likely to experience some déjà vu) and is largely for advanced and expert riders. The trees are very sparse or absent in the top section where there are wide open bowls, short chutes and drop-offs. The Majestic side is larger and has many more trees. There is lots of terrain for beginners and intermediates, as well as tree skiing for advanced riders.

To get between the two sides there are Majestic and Milly access trails, but you’ll need to pay close attention to the trail map to find them. Otherwise the access between the two areas is a walk across the car park.

Interconnected with Solitude

Brighton is interconnected with Solitude ski resort which provides another 486 hectares of terrain. The two ski areas are interconnected via the aptly named SolBright ski run, which is only appropriate for confident intermediates and above. Sometimes the SolBright run is not groomed and it becomes worthy of black run status. Depending upon avalanche risk and weather conditions, the SolBright run may not always be open. The alternative to get to Solitude is to use the bus.

Solitude also has awesome snow and is also very family oriented, but that’s about where the similarities end. As the name suggests it is a peaceful resort with incredibly uncrowded slopes. Solitude has plenty of expert steep terrain with great fall line tree skiing. Solitude is better for upper end intermediates and above, whilst Brighton Resort is great for low-end intermediates.

Brighton Lifts

The chair lifts are well placed and the resort is proud that 100 percent of the terrain is accessible via high speed lifts. On weekends, lift queues can develop but nothing too outrageous.

Three of the lifts run at night time and over 200 acres of terrain are illuminated including the terrain parks.

Lift Tickets

Brighton skiing is very affordable for families. Whilst recent years have seen a decent hike in prices, an adult day pass is still relatively inexpensive. A child day pass (ages 8-12) is incredibly good value and is one of the cheapest in Utah, whilst kids under 8 ski Brighton free. The pricing structure has different time frames to incorporate night skiing including a super-day pass (9am-9pm), twilight (12:30pm-9pm) and night (4-9pm). Single ride tickets are also available, and Sol-Bright tickets cost a little more to enable joint access to Solitude.

Brighton doesn’t sell multi-day passes, so the only opportunity for multi-day discounts is to use the Salt Lake Super Pass which provides slight concessions and incorporates access to Brighton, Solitude, Alta and Snowbird. The pass also covers the cost of the UTA bus.

Various Salt Lake City ski shops and Costco sell discounted lift tickets for Brighton.

Brighton Snow

When Utah boasts having “The Greatest Snow on Earth” they are really referring to Brighton and the other three Cottonwood Canyon resorts. Brighton has elevation on its side with the base being the 2nd highest of the Utah ski resorts, and the top having pretty good altitude too (it’s 141 metres/463 feet higher than the top of Solitude). The quality of the powder is excellent when it’s falling but it’s not always well maintained. There are very few runs that are truly north facing. Many have a NW or NE facing aspect, whilst many of the runs off the Great Western lift are almost south facing so they can have completely crap snow.

Another problem with Brighton skiing is that fresh powder generally doesn’t last for long. Once a storm dumps the snow there are masses that rip it up very quickly. The powder on Millicent in particular lasts a Milli-second, but there is a higher likelihood of finding some secret stashes in the gladed areas on the Majestic side. And as to be expected, the powder in the sidecountry lasts much longer.

Early in the season or when the base is low, the Millicent side commonly has inadequate cover with lots of rocks poking through. Black runs suddenly become much trickier when half the challenge is to dodge the rocks. Brighton has snowmaking facilities, but only for some of the beginner and park areas.

Brighton Skiing for the Beginner

Brighton has great beginner terrain which is another reason why it is popular with families. The Explorer chair right next to the main day lodge has dedicated green runs, so novices don’t need to contend with hoons speeding past them. The next progression is the Majestic chair. Confident beginners can then proceed onto the Snake-Creek Express, although take careful heed of the signs as the green and blue runs are somewhat intertwined in this area.

For the Intermediate

Brighton Resort is an adventure park for intermediates as they can choose trails in all parts of the resort. The runs off the Crest and Snake-Creek lifts are probably the easiest, followed by the runs off Great Western, whilst the blue runs on the Millicent side are a little steeper.

The lightness of the snow is perfect for learning to ski powder and there are plenty of off-piste places to experiment. The mellow glades off Hawkeye and Scout are a good place to play, and there are lots of other spots to duck off the groomers temporarily to test the mettle.

Brighton tends to have mellower blue trails compared to Solitude. Brighton’s runs tend to wind through the trees and are protected from the weather, whilst many of Solitude’s runs are more open which aren’t great for stormy days.

Brighton Parks and Pipes

Brighton was the first mountain in Utah to allow snowboarding and has continued the tradition of courting snowboarders with four terrain parks. The main terrain park is located in a good position for riders to show-off to those sitting on the Majestic lift. The Upper Majestic park is more suited to advanced riders, whilst the Lower Majestic is more applicable to all ability levels. The features are ever-changing, so boredom is unlikely. There is a half pipe adjacent to the Majestic parks, and another two parks off the Crest Express suitable for all riders.

Mother Nature has also created various natural terrain parks at Brighton, and particularly on the Milli side there are an abundance of berms and rocks to launch off as well as some little cliffs.

Advanced Ski and Board Terrain

The Millicent area has some of the best advanced terrain. Off to the skiers’ left are an infinite number of lines through open areas, and it is easy to pick suitable lines to avoid the drop-offs. On the right there are also opportunities to be creative. Part way down the lines become a little more challenging as the drop offs become more prolific and other lines pass through chutes. These aren’t too narrow, and so long as there is adequate snow cover, these will be manageable for advanced riders.

Some great tree riding is on offer on the Majestic side (when the snow is fresh), particularly off the Crest Express and between the trails off the Great Western lift. Some of the trails don’t follow the fall line particularly well, so much more fun can be found by being inventive and picking your own line.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Brighton has some expert terrain, but it is not as extensive as other Utah resorts, and some double black runs border on only being worthy of single black status. The upper reaches of the Millicent side has open faces with drop-offs, and challenging lines can be found further down in the Spaghetti area and the Captain Hook trees. Further tree runs are at the top of the Snake Creek Express (but the steep pitch doesn’t last very long), and a hike to Snake Bowl is particularly rewarding (out of bounds).

To the left of Wren Hollow is some good tree riding (out of bounds), but don’t stay in too long or it will be a long jaunt out of the cliff area.

Sidecountry & Backcountry

Brighton has an open boundary policy with various exit gates, and a multitude of out-of-bounds areas for experts to explore. Only those with backcountry experience and avalanche safety equipment should venture out of bounds. Avalanches are very common, so check the risk ratings and always take a buddy. Many of the areas also have cliffs, so if you don’t know where you’re going, get a guide or take it very slowly.

The Cliff area is easily accessed from the Millicent side and is a popular sidecountry spot. Another common choice is to traverse right off the GW lift where there are some pitches of about 55 degrees amongst well spaced trees. When the gradient starts to taper off, return to the resort unless you’re happy for a hike up the road back to the GW.

A hike up Pioneer Ridge (30 mins) offers lines on either the sunny or shady side. The shady side drops back into the resort, whilst on the sunny side only those to the far skiers left come back into the resort.