Before Alta, there was Brighton. Utah’s first ski area. Brighton was built early in 1936. The area at the base is flat and expansive. It must have appeared eminently accessible and an open invitation for local Utah ski clubs. So it was. An early Utah Alpine Ski Club built a rope tow. Today, it is owned by a hedge fund and managed by Boyne Resorts (managers and/or owners of Big Sky, Sunday River, Loon and Sunday River, among others).
Among expert skiers, Brighton is best known as a jump off point for backcountry skiing. Backcountry gates line the area boundaries. Brighton even sells one trip chair rides for those heading for these gates. Although not known as a haven for inbound expert skiing, the inbound areas abound with extreme terrain features. If you have lots of snow, you’re in a pretty cool natural terrain park.
Brighton Expert Skiing
A resort in the heart of backcountry terrain is guaranteed to have some extreme terrain. These areas are listed below.
Mount Millicent looms over Brighton and is easy to see from the parking lot. Millicent is a major peak in the Wasatch. The terrain off Mount Millicent includes rocks, gullies, cliffs, bowls and steep glades. The views are beautiful. Milly Express Chair gets you to within 550 feet of the top. A 15 to 30-minute boot pack gets you to the top. You have two marked runs and a few other options for true thrill seekers. Elevator chute is the famous run from the top down the front, North face. Milly Gut is down the Northwest side of Mount Millicent. Either face offers other options, but you might want to stick the most evident runs first. Once your down Elevator, it opens into Scree Slope and everything below. There are hundreds of lines in this area. Many include cliff faces, rocks, and chutes.
Great Western Express
On the other side of Brighton is the Great Western Express chair. Skiers left along the Western Trail traverse offers a bunch of drop in runs like Rein’s Run, Clark’s Roast and True Grit. If you go skiers right and hug the ridgeline, you’ll find drop in runs all along the ridgeline like Endless Winter, Wrangler and Aspen Glow.
Snow Hunting at Brighton
The North aspect slopes on Mount Millicent and off the Western Traverse Trail are best bets when it hasn’t snowed for a while.
This area is best known by expert skiers as an access point to the backcountry. There are six-plus gates at the ski area boundaries offering all kind of backcountry experiences. We don’t cover that in this Blog. But the area is filled with backcountry options. There is no better place to take backcountry clinics and guided tours.