Family Ski Resort Guide | Brighton Resort

Family Ski Resort Guide | Brighton Resort

Local Lexi

By Local Lexi \ December 16 2019

Brighton Resort is Utah’s oldest ski area. A tow rope was installed in 1936 and families have been enjoying this special place ever since. Today, that sense of nostalgia remains and parents are often comfortable letting their children range free among the friendly tree-lined slopes of the Majestic and Crest Express chairlifts. Brighton was one of the first resorts to welcome snowboarders and has been a haven for shredders ever since.

With some of the most expansive night skiing in the west, Brighton is an exciting place to experience at night. The night skiing scene is a fun and easy way to switch up your routine and grab a few laps after school. Brighton is a no-frills affair with the focus remaining on affordability, family, and of course, snow.

The terrain of Brighton encompasses gentle slopes perfect for true beginners, steep, wide-open powder bowls, swooping groomers and plenty of nicely spaced tree runs. Brighton is often considered: “The Place Where Utah Learns to Ski and Ride” and their well-staffed Ski & Snowboard School contains friendly instructors determined to show students why Brighton is the bomb. One of the reasons Brighton is so affordable and attractive for families: children 10 and under ski and ride for free!

Brighton Resort is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon above Solitude. Approximate driving times (in favorable driving conditions) and distances are listed below: 
Salt Lake City: 30 miles – 45 minutes
Ogden: 68 miles – 1 hour, 20 minutes
Provo: 57 miles – 1 hour, 20 minutes
Logan: 112 miles – 2 hours, 10 minutes
St. George: 260 miles – 3 hours, 40 minutes

In a 5th Grader’s Words:
“We saw a moose at Brighton; we snowboarded a lot, and there were very nice people snowboarding there, too. We saw a lot of chairlifts in one area and there were some people in crazy suits and crazy snowboarding outfits.” -Mikey, Age 10


Skiable Acres: 1,050 Acres
Vertical Drop: 1,875 Feet
Number of Runs: 66
Terrain: 21% Beginner, 40% Intermediate, 39% Advanced, 5 Terrain Parks
Chairlifts: 6 and 1 Magic Carpet Surface Lift
Night Skiing: Yes, 4:00-9:00 PM, Monday-Saturday on 3 lifts (Explorer, Majestic, Crest Express)

Brighton is a compact resort that is perfectly suited for families who want to explore the mountain together or venture off. There are green or blue runs accessible from the top of every chairlift at Brighton, so it’s a fun place for families of different ability levels to ski together. The resort harbors a cozy sense of nostalgia, harkening back to a time when the focus of skiing was on family, learning and fun. You won’t find six-pack chairlifts or fine dining here, just hearty food, good times and consistently deep snow.

Brighton is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon above Solitude Mountain Resort. Its high base elevation means the resort is perfectly positioned to capture the brunt of the big snowstorms that pick up an extra punch of moisture over the Great Salt Lake before moving into the Wasatch.

The easiest terrain can be found near the Explorer chairlift and magic carpet surface lift. Kids love the winding groomers lined by perfectly spaced trees along the terrain accessed by the Majestic chairlift. Kids enjoy riding this lift as it soars above the many terrain parks, keeping them entertained. Runs to investigate include Hawkeye, Mary Back and Lost Maid. Have a look at our buddy Huck's day exploring the beginner terrain with an instructor at Brighton!

For runs with a bit more amplitude and length, head up Great Western Express, which serves up blue and green terrain. Thunder Road and Tantamount are runs that access all five of Brighton’s terrain parks.

Advanced and expert terrain is best accessed via the Great Western and Milly Express chairlifts. Mt. Millicent includes Brighton’s longest groomers, wide-open bowls, steeps and big bands of cliffs. Powderhounds typically head here for first tracks and snowboarders love the playful, jibby terrain. Nice tree skiing is located off both Great Western and Snake Creek. Head down the rolling undulations of Elk Ridge Run off Great Western and take your pick of runs to the left.

Brighton operates an extensive night skiing program from 4:00 – 9:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. Night lessons, special discounts and package deals are available. Brighton operates the Alpine Rose cafeteria through the evening hours to keep night patrons full and warm.



Big Cottonwood Canyon can experience road delays in the event of big storms or necessary avalanche mitigation. You should always check road conditions in inclement weather and never attempt a drive up either of the Cottonwood Canyons without 4-wheel drive or chains. For current road status, you can check Canyon Alerts.

Consider riding the UTA Ski Bus to avoid driving and help reduce canyon and parking congestion. In the winter months, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), runs daily service from November or December until March or April. Routes 953 and 972 service Big Cottonwood Canyon at 15-minute intervals during peak hours from West Valley, Midvale, Downtown, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy. Check the UTA website for a current schedule and read our Guide to Ride the Ski Bus.

On weekends, holidays, and powder days (considered to be 6 or more inches of snow overnight), Brighton Resort will enforce carpool priority parking. The main lot adjacent to Brighton resort will be set aside for guests who arrive with a carpool of 3 or more individuals. All cars with fewer than three passengers must park in the store lot at the entrance to the resort and board a free shuttle bus to the slopes. When/if the store lot becomes full, single-occupancy vehicles will be turned around and asked to park along the canyon highway or return to the base area and ride public transit. Families may consider avoiding travel during peak hours, arrive before 8:00 AM or after 12:20 PM. Also consider Brighton's expansive night skiing operation, this is a great choice for families who want to fit a little action in after school. 

ADA parking is available near the base area at the Brighton Center. 


Brighton is truly a no-frills resort and its base area is very straightforward, making it a great place for families with kids. There is a brown bag area for lunch, a cafeteria at the Alpine Rose and hot coffee or espresso brewed daily at the Blind Miners Cafe.

Parking at Brighton is simple, just park as close as you can to the Brighton Center. On weekends, it is advisable to get a head start or use the UTA Ski Bus as parking can be scarce after the 9:00 or 10:00 hour.

Head to the Brighton Center to get signed up and ready for lessons, grab rentals, and purchase any last-minute essentials.



Brighton offers a huge selection of lessons, classes, workshops and multi-week camps for riders of all abilities. Arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your lesson time to complete the signup process. If you are renting gear, arrive at least an hour early to complete the rental fitting. Check Brighton’s website for a current offering of workshops for kids and adults.

Kids Daily Lessons
Reservations for daily lessons are not required but children must arrive on time. Instructors specializing in child development will lead fun and focused lessons to create a positive learning experience. Kids 10 and under will receive a free lift pass while ages 11 and 12 earn a free Learner Lift Pass which accesses the Explorer and Majestic chairlifts. An upgrade to full ticket is available for $20. Sessions can be booked for two- or four-hour blocks or an all-day lesson including lunch is also offered. Inexpensive rental packages can be added.

Private and semi-private lessons are offered for 3-year-old skiers. A private Parent & Child Lesson is also offered to teach parents how to help their youngster progress. Reservations are recommended for both. Snowboarding lessons are designed for children four and up.

Adult Daily Lessons
Reservations for daily lessons are not required but students must arrive on time. Designed for ages 13 and up, Adult Daily Lessons are tailored for all ability levels. Several different packages, rental equipment and pass deals are offered. Private lessons for varying time blocks offered and reservations are highly recommended.

3-Day Learn to Slide Package
Redeemable on any day throughout the same season, these lessons for ages 13 and up are designed to foster progression and independence. A voucher is issued and the 2-hour lessons, rentals and Learner Lift Pass can be redeemed on three separate dates. Reservations are not required and lessons run daily at 10:15 AM and 1:15 PM.

Thursday Night Lessons
For ages eight through adult, 2-hour night lessons including a pass are offered on Thursday nights. Students will meet in front of the Snow Sports School at 5:55 PM. Reservations are not required.

Youth Programming
Brighton offers a handful of camps, workshops and lessons in a weekly series with the same instructor. Children learn new skills and confidence while exploring the mountain. The Saturday or Sunday classes include a lift pass and discounted lift tickets for parents on lesson day. Registration must be completed two weeks prior to the series start date and discounted rental packages are available to registered participants.

Little Rippers include children from ages 4-7 and Young Shredders provides a fun environment for kids 8-16 to hit the slopes with friends, emphasizing safety and good decision making. Classes are limited to 10 or fewer students and Saturday programs will include a hot lunch. A series of Freestyle Ski Camps are offered throughout the season for advanced skiers of ages 7-15.


Everything you need to get your day in gear can be found in the Brighton Center. The rental shop and sports shop are both located here. Should you need any repairs or gear tuning, the tune shop is located on the second floor of the Brighton Center.

Equipment Rentals
A comprehensive fleet of rental equipment is available at Brighton and reservations are not necessary. A diverse lineup of gear (including women’s specific) is available for beginners, park rats, powder lovers or all-mountain cruisers. Brighton does not rent goggles or outerwear; however, a plethora of reasonably-priced package options can be tailored for the perfect day (or night) of skiing. Multi-day rates and group rates are available.

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Located on the second level of the Brighton Center, this shop stocks a full lineup of essentials for skiers and boarders. The latest styles, gear, accessories and camera essentials can be found here. This is the perfect spot to grab Brighton logo gear.

The Burton Store
If you are on a board and keen to try the latest tech, swing by the mid-mountain Burton Store at the base of the Snake Creek chairlift. This is the only Step On Demo Center in the country and provides snowboarders with the opportunity to try Step On boots and bindings to demo the newest and hottest snowboards for just $20. Snacks, drinks and basic essentials can also be purchased here.



One of the reasons Brighton mainly attracts locals is the general lack of lodging. The only option nearby is the Brighton Lodge, a rustic yet charming and comfortable alpine retreat. Just yards from the Crest Express chairlift, this 20-room lodge provides a continental breakfast and very affordable rates. Guests will enjoy ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes day and night. The nostalgic atmosphere and tradition of this lodge make it a worthwhile experience for a weekend getaway or a family vacation.

Some vacation rentals near Brighton can be reserved and there are many lodging options down canyon at Solitude Mountain Resort and the (Shortcode Error: Could not find service named u'silver-fork-lodge-restaurant1' for tag [service name="silver-fork-lodge-restaurant1"]Silver Fork Lodge[/service]). It is also fairly easy to find affordable vacation rentals down in Cottonwood Heights and Sandy along the UTA Ski Bus line.

The focus at Brighton is on family, fun and snow. For this reason, there are just a handful of dining options and they all provide hearty food at a reasonable cost near the base of the hill. Most families opt for the Alpine Rose, a cafeteria-style eatery serving ski hill staples such as breakfast burritos, burgers, chili and grilled foods. On warm spring days, the Alpine Rose will fire up the BBQs on the outdoor patio. The Alpine Rose remains open late to provide dinner service for night skiing.

The Milly Chalet, adjacent to the Milly Express chairlift, also serves breakfast and lunch. A new menu featuring BBQ and smokehouse fare has lately been spicing things up. This is the perfect place to grab a hot chocolate, a quick snack or take a rest between laps in Milly Bowl.

Blind Miners Cafe in the Brighton Center serves up hot coffee, espresso and hot cocoa alongside tempting pastries and snacks. The location is perfect to warm up before or after a lesson.

A brown bag area is available in the A-frame building next to the Majestic chairlift. Here, families can relax and enjoy their own meal before quickly returning to the snow. Parents may opt to try the famous nachos and a Bloody Mary in the 21+ bar, Molly Green's, above the brown bag area. This bar has a fantastic atmosphere, excellent taxidermy and a full bar and liquor menu; children are not permitted in the bar.


Brighton does not offer childcare; however, ski lessons are available for kids three and up and snowboarding lessons are offered for children four and older.


For a memorable visit, consider these unique points of interest when planning a trip to Brighton.

Brighton Night Skiing
With over 200-acres of illuminated terrain, Brighton has some of the most expansive night skiing in the west. Night skiing is not to be missed and Brighton offers a number of package deals, lessons and specials so check their website for current deals.

The Brighton Store
This historic shop has been greeting visitors to Brighton for decades. Located at the front of Brighton Loop, you can grab nifty souvenirs, snacks, and drinks here. The soft-serve ice cream is quite delicious.

Brighton’s Vintage Snowboard Collection
Take a moment to walk around the Brighton Center and admire the collection of vintage snowboarding gear. This tribute to the sport of snowboarding is a throwback to the radical days of the sport’s tumultuous birth.