We almost always get a few late season spring storms that deliver what usually turn out to be some of the best days of the season. If you checked any social media over the last three days, you were most likely barraged by status updates of "Best day this season!" or "Sooooo DEEP!!!", and images of nothing but the tips of snowboards or the tops of ski poles buried in feet of powder.
[Some of the best turns, cliff drops and pow slashes of the year were to be had this week.]
Between these bounteous spring dumps, and with closing day looming ever closer, every snowflake becomes precious, powder stashes become coveted pieces of real estate and it becomes much easier to get stoked for "only" six inches of snow. Luckily, this storm is still producing a little bit and the leftovers here are better than what most offer as their main course.
Talk about a great couple of weeks! Tons of new snow, pow slashes and really fun events have been the norm up here lately. The new snowfall almost demanded that cliffs and pillow lines be dropped. It also gave the Brighton Diggers plenty of snow to push around for the SLUG Games and the Vans Hi-Standard competitions.
[Local ripper Forrest Shearer finding his happy place at Brighton. P: Andrew Miller]
These are the conditions that we are used to here in Utah leading into spring. While the Winter Games are winding down in Russia, the world famous terrain at Brighton is just setting up for really nice for a strong, snowy home-stretch of the season. The recent boost to the snowpack combined with March historically being one of the highest average snowfall months, if you haven’t already, now would be the time to make sure your legs are ready for cliff drops and extended stays in the white room.
[Another Brighton local, Derek Dennison, logging some sky miles. P: Jordan Pay]
Everyone has heard the saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"... but what if the lemons you are given are already delicious? Why try to force them to be something they're not? That's how I feel about days like we've been having lately here in Utah. Our last storm-cycle dumped up to fifty inches of snow on us, which set up some classic Brighton pow days! However, since then we've been left to "suffer" with bluebird days made up of park laps, groomer runs and leftover pow stashes.
[Another lemon of a day at Brighton. P: Mark Seguin]
While there's no doubt that we need more snow, both for enjoyment and the water-shed, there's also no reason not to enjoy the days of blue skies and great weather we're experiencing right now. So when life hands you these kind of lemons, just devour them as they are, they're delicous.
[Resolve to spend more time in the woods!]
It's that time of year again; the gyms are full and everyone is eating super healthy again... well, at least for a week or two. Resolutions can be tricky like that. It's easy to have motivation and drive for a short time, or until you heat a rough patch, then it all goes down in a ball of flames. The skiing/snowboarding season can be similar to this; everyone's stoke level is cranked to eleven for their first chair of the season. Then everyone gets excited for their first pow day, Christmas break, etc... However, January is like that first challenge to a resolution. Some of the early season momentum has been lost to the chaos of the holidays, or maybe it hasn't snowed in a week. Luckily, unlike giving up pizza and donuts, it's really easy to get back to the mountain for some excellent riding. It only takes one run down Great Western on some fresh corduroy, or one park lap through My-O-My to get that momentum right back.
[Two words: Fresh. Air.]
January also happens to be "Learn a Snow Sport Month" and Brighton is offering some great "first time" packages to celebrate [see main page for details]. This is the perfect time to begin an awesome new hobby and enjoy some time in the mountains above the valley inversion. If you haven't already, be sure to take advantage of this month and make learning a snow sport part of your 2014 resolutions.
Going home is a big deal this time of year. Whether it's halfway across the world or just a drive across the valley, home is a significant part of what defines who we are. While Brighton wasn't the first place I ever snowboarded, it is most definitely the place I call home. Even from my earliest experiences there, Brighton has always resonated with me... and I'm not alone.
[Even Santa feels at home up here!]
It's really easy to fall in love with Brighton because it actually feels like a second home; especially when Brighton puts on events like the Bonfire Bonanza. It's the kind of thing that just feels right; riding under the lights, good company and the smell of campfire in the mountains. It's the kind of thing that Brighton just does and it's one of countless reasons why I'm proud to claim Brighton as my home mountain. -Mark Seguin
[Your Friday nights are planned...]
The Best Time
It's really hard to define the best time of year in Utah. With four distinct seasons, each one has unique and valid arguments to make their claim as being the best time of the year. However, there is something really special about December in Utah; especially if you like to spend your time up at Brighton. Usually some big storms have hit, all the lifts are running, the park is beginning to expand and of course night riding finally begins!
[So much fun terrain open at Brighton after dark.]
Spending a few hours in the mountains after the sun goes down is borderline magical, thought it's hard to say exactly what makes it so special. Maybe it's enjoying a sunset from the lift, or just the way the snow sparkles under the lights... whatever it is, it's some that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Bring your friends, your warmest coat and some hot cocoa and you're sure to have an unforgettable time!
[A solid crew demonstrating how rad night riding is!]
Every year during the holiday season, people have a greater sensitivity to the needs of others. Each one of us has our own way of helping out those in need, and Brighton is no exception. Way back in 1991, when Crest was built, Brighton launched an event to promote the new lift. That event evolved into what is known today as Quad Wednesdays. If you are not familiar with it, Quad Wednesdays allow you to enjoy a day at Brighton for just $20. All you have to do is bring one of the below donations to the ticket window to qualify for the discounted day pass.
2013 Quad Wednesdays schedule:
Quad Wednesdays are a great opportunity for you to experience the good feeling of riding/skiing on Brighton’s great terrain and the even better feeling of knowing your donation is helping someone out. The icing on the cake this year? Check out the forecast for this week!
[NOAA is forecasting a pretty great week for us!]
The word "tradition" gets thrown around quite a bit this time of year. It is a word that triggers a barrage of varying emotions for people; ranging from stress and anxiety to joy and excitement. Your reaction to hearing the word really depends on your past experience and what it is tied to.
[There is nothing like a winter mountain sunrise as demonstrated by this view from Millicent.]
Brighton is no exception to the strong feelings of tradition that surface this time of year. We love seeing the smiling faces of those who seek a day on the slopes as a temporary sanctuary away from the holiday madness. Even better is seeing that the tradition is gathering the whole family and driving up the canyon for a day of riding and skiing.
[Nothing like Brighton's famous terrain to help work off those holiday treats R: Mark Seguin P: Wren Withers]
The thing about traditions is that they all had to start somewhere, and let's face it, some are better than others. What better time than now to kick off a new tradition of spending some of your holiday vacation at Brighton Resort. The memories made together on the ski runs last a lifetime!
Service and Satisfaction
In 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the major hostilities of World War I came to an end. In 1947 the first official Veterans Day was celebrated on November 11th. This holiday celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. While most of us stress about day jobs or a bad snow forecast, the servicemen and women of our country stress about protecting our freedom. Many of them happen to enjoy skiing and snowboarding as well. If you fall into that category, Brighton wants you to enjoy a free day of riding on Veterans Day as a way of showing our appreciation for your service. Come on up and help us celebrate and cap off a great opening weekend.
[This iconic image helps remind us of what our veterans have done, and continue to do for us.]
This year’s opening weekend really was one to remember, in large part due to everyone who came up to enjoy the “spring” skiing and riding. Even though the line at Majestic became a little hectic at times, the stoke level stayed high all weekend. From the organized chaos of Thursday’s pre-opening free skiing, to a super fun rail jam on Saturday, thanks for coming out to ride!
["Spring" riding at it's finest this weekend. P: Mark Seguin]
Salt Lake City has already seen several dustings of snow and the ambitious have already had face shots in the Cottonwoods. The preseason is officially kicked off and opening day is Friday! Now is the time to dig into the closets, open up the attics and pull the winter gear out for inspection. First off, try it all on. No seriously, every last piece; head to toe. This includes strapping on your board or your skis and pretending your living room carpet is a terrain park. Do some presses, maybe a 360, and definitely some high ollies. This serves multiple purposes. For example, now you know if you need to shed a few pounds to fit into those skinny-jean-inspired snow pants and that the hole in your glove somehow grew over the summer. Also, it’s just plain fun. Don’t forget to snap a selfie and put it on Instagram… pics or it didn’t happen!
[Nothin' wrong with a garage tune! P: Mark Seguin]
Next up, it’s time take the gear to your local shop to get a proper tune up. If you’ve got the tools and some know how, you can save yourself some dollars and DIY. If you gear is new, even better! You probably don’t have to do much to it besides giving it a nice layer of stickers from all your favorite brands. Just don’t go overboard… just like your riding/skiing, style counts.
[So close... P: Mark Seguin]
All you have to do now is get your spiffy setup onto the mountain and have fun!
What's a Passapalooza?
[The cool air and rain only enhanced the anticipation of the soon to fall snow. P: Mark Seguin]
Every year, without fail, someone who loves skiing or snowboarding at Brighton is asked "What is a Passapalooza?". Chances are, it's not really worth it to try to explain why we drive "all the way" up the canyon to buy a pass when you can "just do that online". Using words might not convey the shared stoke of the event. It's probably best to just take some photos and show them what they miss out on if they choose not to make the drive...
[Brats, stickers, swag and high fives all over the place. P: Mark Seguin]
Usually, Passapalooza is the first opportunity of the season to actually need to wear your favorite hoodie, a pair of jeans and maybe even a beanie during a skate session.
[The infamous DJ Matty Mo doin' it for the people. P: Mark Seguin]
The weather this year made everyone excited for colder weather, however, it also forced the crowd inside for the premieres of Yobeat's Yomerica, Videograss's The Last Ones, and Think Thank's Brain Dead & Having a Heart Attack. Spoiler alert, they're all great.
[Packed house for the rare indoor Passapalooza premieres. P: Mark Seguin]
Actually, it really wouldn't be that hard to describe Passapalooza at all... A bunch of like minded folk, from pros to weekend warriors, getting their season passes, swapping stories about summer adventures, planning for the new season, eating good food, and viewing early screenings of what the best in the game did over the last year or so.
Summer Is Cool Too
While getting your powder fix here in Utah is still months away, there are plenty of ways to keep your sanity until the first snowflakes grace the Wasatch...
If you have never been to Brighton in the summer time, it is fascinating to see what your favorite snowboard/ski runs look like wearing grass and wildflowers instead of ice and snow. A day hiking around Brighton with friends and family is one of the easiest ways to escape the valley's summer heat, and there are miles of trails that will keep almost every variety of hiker entertained. However, if you prefer a greater sense of seclusion, try a full moon hike. Some good ideas are to do a favorite trail that you are familiar with, practice the "Buddy System" and bring flashlights just in case the moon goes behind the clouds. Also, for any time spent in the mountains, remember to bring plenty of water; and if you pack it in, please pack it out.
[If you get a chance, a "Super Moon" hike is a great way to enjoy the beautiful terrain at Brighton and dodge the heat! P: Mark Seguin]
If you're looking to get some Vitamin D, go exploring in the morning, then stop in at The Brighton Store & Cafe for lunch. A hot grill, cold drinks, snacks and even ice cream make procrastinating your return to the valley heat a little easier and much more comfortable.
[The Brighton Store & Cafe as seen in black & white. Milly looking majestic as always in the background!]
There are also several beautiful lakes at and around Brighton at which you can practice your angling skills. Some require a short hike to get there, but the fishing is usually well worth it. If you're not sure what lures or bait to use, you can always check the Utah DWR website. Just remember that Big Cottonwood Canyon is a watershed for drinking water in the valley, so domestic pets are not allowed.
If all this still doesn't ease your summer blues, just remember, this photo was taken in October last year...
[Early season turns are just around the corner... hang in there! P: Mark Seguin]
Thanks April, Thanks Winter
[Brighton legend Josh Roberts still throws a proper method. P: Riley Snyder]
April is a bittersweet time of the year for snow lovers. Temperatures begin to climb, yard work gets to the point where it can’t be ignored and it’s the month that resorts shut it down for the winter. However, for those few weeks before the chairs stop spinning, April has the potential to bring the goods. This year, that potential was realized and Brighton was the beneficiary of spring dump after spring dump. There were strings of blower powder days with the occasional warm bluebird day just to make sure no one thought it was December and not really April. It really was an ideal way to wrap up the season.
[Kalen Thorien found some late season goods! P: Riley Snyder]
Even though it’s hard to accept that the season is over, it really ended the same way it began: high levels of stoke and great riding/skiing conditions. From the first days of the season, spent hiking for turns and dodging rocks, to the closing day festivities it was a really fun year. So, for now, get the lawn mowed, go fishing, go skateboarding, go mountain biking, go on a hike, or simply take a walk outside with the family… anything to help pass the time until the first snowflakes grace our mountains again this fall.
It’s March, but Nobody’s Mad
If you follow NCAA basketball, then you know how crazy March is. Droves of people constantly check their laptops, tablets, cell phones, pagers or whatever they can to see how their precious brackets are doing. We Utah winter enthusiasts get a little crazy in March too, however: checking the weather and hoping for just one more classic Utah spring pow day! Unlike NCAA March Madness, which ends with fifty percent of the participants in tears from utter disappointment, spring powder days in Utah leave everyone smiling.
[Lars Reber of Coalatree Organics with the definition of "pitted" at Brighton last weekend]
Last weekend exemplified what a spring pow day in Utah is. An active weather pattern moved into Utah, bringing a few inches of snow with it…and then the lake effect machine kicked into high gear. Blanketing Brighton in over two feet of classic Utah powder in just a few days resulting in some of the greatest riding/skiing of the season! The season may be winding down, but you know what they say: April valley showers bring Wasatch mountain powder…
[Seen above: Fireworks and night riding, Mac Spedale with a proper cliff drop method, Brighton’s own Chris Frost in the white room, and the infamous Nate Murphy getting inverted]
February is the "weird uncle" month. Sometimes it is shorter, sometimes it is longer, and some people pretend that the fourteenth doesn’t even exist... The great thing about weird uncles is that they make everything more interesting. They have the best stories and they usually come up with some awesome gifts. Just as usual, February 2013 came through just like Uncle Merle did for your birthday present last year. It was especially great up here at Brighton! Blue bird pow days, side country hikes, special events and even fireworks made February a month to remember.
February is all but in the books and March is upon us. This means a plethora of green foods and Thirty Two day is only days away. This is a really fun event and is always a great time. For more information about the day and how to get registered, check out Thirty Two's Facebook page.
[Seen above: Mouse cruising the 2012 slalom course]
Ghosts in the Trees
The recent weeks of winter have been somewhat finicky. A big storm followed by days of high pressure and inversion; and the cycle repeats. It’s fairly typical of a Utah January, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to like it. When Mother Nature starts becoming a bit stingy about sharing her fluffy goods it’s imperative that you know where to go to get your turns. One of my “go to” zones at Brighton is the trees surrounding Snake Creek. Riding and skiing aside, the character of the terrain could be enough to lure you in. Creeks, boulders, wind ripped branches and wildlife sightings create a perfect setting that’s only enhanced when blanketed with snow. Sometimes it’s nice just to stop and look around and enjoy the silence. If variety is the spice of life, then this area is full of flavor. Whether you are looking to get steep and deep turns, fun-size drops, natural jumps, hidden log jibs or just want to ditch the corduroy for a minute; chances are you will find what you’re looking for in these wonderful forests. Just don’t run over any squirrels or porcupines… we kind of like those little guys!
Video courtesy of Wren Withers (@wasatchattack)
Weekend's Forecast: Powder & Cliffs
So far the New Year has brought the Salt Lake valley nothing but a thick, smoggy layer of inversion. For the Wasatch range, however, 2013 has been great so far. Cold temps at night and clear sunny days above the valley inversion have kept much of our Christmas storm’s snow nice and soft in many places. This has provided us with premium riding/skiing conditions over the last ten days or so. The icing on our January cake looks to be on its way this weekend in the form of up to two feet of classic, low density Utah cold smoke… aka fluffy powder.
One of the best places to take advantage of a big storm is right here at Brighton, over on Mount Millicent. From the Millicent lift you have access to bowls, secret jump spots and endless cliff lines.
Many of my best days on a snowboard are a result of dropping cliffs on Milly. Jeremy Jones agrees "Some of my favorite lines in the world are in this photo."
Mary’s, a classic zone accessible from Millicent, is home to my favorite cliffs and drops at Brighton. From fun ten foot drops to legitimate seventy footers you can find anything you’re looking for when the conditions are right; and with this next storm, the cliffs lines will be going off this weekend.
Hope you’ve been doing your squats…
Christmas In Rock Garden
Roughly ten years ago I experienced two firsts on my snowboard: First legit pow day and my first experience with the infamous Rock Garden. Christmas Eve was identical to this year, it absolutely dumped inch upon glorious inch all day long and through the night. As I had never had a true pow day before, I was not nearly as excited as I should have been. Just went through my routine, and it was still dumping. The drive up Big Cottonwood wasn't really as harrowing as it could have been, though it did lend a handful of white knuckle moments. Nevertheless, we arrived safely.
Riding one of the first five chairs of the day, my cousin (a true Brighton ripper) assured me that we would be able to get some "sick pow" if we went to Rock Garden. I agreed. I wish I could have watched my cousin and myself struggling to break first trail back into the pillowy terrain. After about fifteen to thirty minutes of trail blazing, we strapped up and dropped in. At that moment, my life changed forever. I know that sounds cliche, but it just happened that way. My first few turns down those pillows (ugly as they likely were) burned deep, vivid memories of joy and excitement that I will never forget.
Now, many powder days later, the same scenario presents itself again. A Christmas pow day. Tomorrow's forecast is calling for Blue Bird conditions, so it's basically a powder junkies dream: Deep turns and blue skies all day. For all that are able to get after it tomorrow, it looks to be a day you will not soon forget. Here's to a Brighton Christmas pow day as wonderful and memorable as mine so many years ago!
When is the best time to visit Brighton for some night riding and skiing? Well, it’s always a good time, but now through December 22 you can get five hours of the best night action in the state for only $20! The great thing about nights up here is that there is lighted terrain for everyone, from easy groomer turns to park laps.
If you have never been night riding or skiing before, you are missing out. There is something almost magical about the mountain all lit up; an experience you won’t find with a day pass. I taught myself to snowboard over a season of nothing but nights at Brighton; and I loved every second of it. Between the good company and the massive amounts of lit up terrain to explore, the cold fingers and toes never bothered me. So dress warm, bring some hot cocoa and come on up for a night you won’t forget!
Check out the trail map!