Major City Ski Havens: Salt Lake City & Brighton

Major City Ski Havens: Salt Lake City & Brighton


Major City Ski Havens: Salt Lake City & Brighton


Photo: vxla | Cover: Brighton Resort

Living comfortably in a quaint mountain town with rad skiing just miles away is an unfathomable dream for most winter sports enthusiasts.

The lack of decent work in ski towns, not to mention affordable living, can push skiers to compromise their dream of settling down in a mountain town.

Also Read: Major City Ski Haven’s – Seattle & Alpental

So where do you go ski or get away from the crowds, when you live in a city of millions? Fortunately even in the most crowded centers of North America, just hours away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there exist ski havens whose slopes are legendary.

The Salt Lake > Brighton Commute

BCC or LCC? That is the question… | Photo: Garrett

The Cottonwood Canyons the crown jewels of Salt Lake City. Rising from the valley floor to the jagged edges of the Wasatch mountains, you can leave the smog filled, SLC basin and reach top-notch powder skiing in under an hour. Whether you head from campus at the University of Utah, the heart of downtown, or any point in the Salt Lake Valley; getting on ski the hill is easier than nearly every other urban area in North America. 

Drive Times:

  • Downtown SLC > Brighton– 35 minutes
  • SLC Airport > Brighton — 50 minutes

The Brighton Atmosphere:

Deep snow just up the road @Brighton | Photo: Brighton Resort

Brighton Resort is a classic Salt Lake City ski area, tucked at the end of Big Cottonwood Canyon with large crossover appeal. For families the terrain is varied, lift tickets aren’t outrageously expensive and it still maintains a special small resort vibe. Brighton is also a park rat’s oasis, with arguably the best features in Utah outside of the mega-sized Park City. If you can’t sneak out of work to rip turns during the day, no worries at all. Brighton keeps the lifts spinning until 9pm for easily the best night skiing around Salt Lake City. 

Uninitiated skiers and riders may not comprehend the terrain opportunities available at Brighton, opting to believe in the myth that all the crazy radical stuff exists only in Little Cottonwood Canyon. That assumption is okay with the locals, who gladly lap ‘B-Town’ in preference to other Salt Lake area resorts.  

“Milly is the best even days after a storm!! The best lift in the Wasatch.” – Rob Aseltine (*See Below)

Take some laps on the Millicent Express or Great Western lift and you’ll be sure to find the famed Utah goods. If you are competent in back country travel, Brighton is the jump off point to access some classic out-of-bounds tours as well.

Mountain Stats:

  • Average annual snowfall: 500”
  • Vertical drop: 1,745’
  • Skiable acres: 1,050
  • Lifts: 5 quads, 1 triple, 1 Magic Carpet
  • Trails: 66, and tons of off piste runs
  • Night skiing: Yes. On 200 acres, three lifts, main terrain park

Salt Lake Atmosphere:

Salt Lake City is undoubtedly a ski town, although it is immensely populated and not wildly snowy, the accessibility is undeniable. Similar to all the other Utah resorts, crowds can swell in the peak season at Brighton, but rest assured a little knowledge will always help you find fresh tracks.

Apart from its strange alcohol laws, a Utah powder mission is worth the hype and Brighton will give you a less chaotic chance to experience that. Why battle the crowds and powder panic at the mega resorts? Make the detour to the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and ski Brighton on a pow day, than you’ll be sure to understand the appeal of moving to Salt Lake City, Utah.           

Go Skiing: Brighton Resort

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