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Brighton, Solitude, what am I missing?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Have been to SLC many times to ski, but for good and obvious reasons havve always focused on Alta and Snowbird. (Have taken the family also to Park City)

Yet I have never skied Solitude or Brighton; and each time I am thinking about a trip to or thru SLC, I wonder what I have been missing at those two ski areas. Can one of the Utah Bears fill me in?
post #2 of 12
Brighton and Solitude or two pretty good ski areas. With their base elevations higher than Deer Valet, Canyons and Park City I found the snow quality pretty high and the crowds pretty light. I would call them sleepers because the crowd seemed mostly locals.

The Millicent chair at Brighton had the most terrain, but there was almost endless tree skiing at Brighton off most lifts. Solitude had steeper lines that included in bound cliffs. I found both resorts well laid out and I spent my time skiing rather than traveresing.
post #3 of 12
I've never been to either yet, but they sound like the places to go (along with Powder Mountain) on weekends to avoid the big crowds at Alta/Snowbird. Also, with the $59 combo pass, you can really spend an entire day skiing after a morning flight from the East Coast. Ski at Solitude from 11-4, then switch over to Brighton from 4-9 pm.
post #4 of 12
As a Utah local (now on the East coast) I am one of those who grew up skiing Big Cottonwood. Incidently, Big Cottonwood, and specifically, Brighton, is where a lot of skiing started in Utah. My grandfather was up there in the 30s.

Anyway, Solitude is a great mountain. Brighton is cool too, but in general has a much more beggineer focus, though there is good terrain off Millicent, and the newer lift to skier's right (Great Western? been quite a while since I've been there.

Anyway, Solitude is definetly worth a visit. The name implies correctly, it is usually not crowded at all, although some areas will see crowds.

There is a newer detachachable quad on skier's left (Eagle Express), and then a series of lifts up each ridge line, pretty much. The quad is really nice for doing quick laps on, the terrain ranges from reasonably steep bumps to wide intermediate cruisers.

As you move along skier's right, from Powderhorn to Summit, you have access to Honeycomb canyon, (and for the more adventurous, from Eagle, but I haven't done that) great partially treed terrain. The only problem is that there is a long traverse out the bottom, and then you have to cycle across a couple of lifts to get back to the gate. But in general it is worth it. In my limited expereince, av control takes some time, so often this won't open until days after a big dump (can anyone shed light on this?) -- anyway, you have a chance of getting fresh snow there, for sure. And the terrain isn't that harry for the most part, so it'd probably be a nice place to go if you're just getting familiar with this kind of terrain. Of course, the usual caveats apply.

On the main side, there is good stuff, esp. off summit. Headwall, etc. As the previous poster mentioned, there are lots of cliffs, etc.. around in bounds. Actually one day when I was up there a couple of guys in a family got killed off one of them, IIRC. Pretty sad. This was on a day where conditions were awful, loose blowing over glare ice, so what they were doing there, I don't know, anyway.

I also like the area between Eagle and Powderhorn, seems like it would be a nice reasonably gentle place to learn to ski deep snow. It can be a little bit tiresome getting from one lift to another, the high traverses are weird and often you have to take a different lift back and up to get to particular terrain, but that's ok, I guess it keeps things from getting skied out.

Overall, a really neat, locals oriented mountain. People who are annoyed by little things, and want the "perfect" skiing vacation might not like it, but that's not what the mountains for. Great people, down to earth, no one takes themselves too seriously. You should put it on your itenerary if you can, its definetly worth it.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 01, 2001 08:03 AM: Message edited 3 times, by Lodro ]</font>
post #5 of 12
Only been to Brighton a few times, not Soltitude. Since Solitude is more wide open and a longer drive, I would not recommend it on bad-weather days.

Yes, Brighton does have fun trees It was bought by Michigan-based Boyne USA a few years back and has nice facilities now. Because lots of folks stop at legendary Alta, Brighton might be a better choice when things get crowded.

Watch for rocks that seem to sprout out of run called Doyles Dive. Fairly mellow but I broke a pair of sunglasses & spent 10 minutes looking for a ski there once...

On the downside (for me that is since I ski) is that the place is infested with boarders.

I haven't been to Powder Mtn. in 4 yrs now? That said I'd certainly recommend Brighton over Powder Mtn. If, however, you're learning to ski Powder--by all means go to powder Mtn. lots of wide open intermediate terrain and without the crowds the powder lasts a long time.

hope this helps
post #6 of 12
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TreepickerSue:
Only been to Brighton a few times, not Soltitude. Since Solitude is more wide open and a longer drive, I would not recommend it on bad-weather days.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

hmm? Solitude is just down the canyon on the way to Brighton...probably I'm just misunderstanding something, do you mean Powder Mountain..if the canyon's open, one of the best places to be on a bad (good!) weather day, IMHO. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 12

I'm wondering too if you have Solitude mixed up with somewhere else (Snowbasin, perhaps?). When driving up Big Cottonwood Canyon, you actually drive right by the Solitude base a couple of minutes before you would reach the Brighton base.


You actually are missing out by not visiting Big Cottonwood Canyon. Brighton and Solitude get *almost* as much snow as Alta/Snowbird, but have far fewer skiers.

I'm not a huge fan of Brighton, mostly because it seems to be the preferred destination of almost all the snowboarders in the vicinity (the ones who don't go to Brighton go to Snowbird). Not that I have anything against snowboarders - I'm really *glad* they have an area that they seem to prefer

Solitude is a really first rate mountain. Though not as big as it's more famous cousins to the south, it's got a tremendous mix of terrain and conditions. If you like steep tree and rock-face shots, there's a lot of it at Solitude. There's also a great deal of backcountry skiing available through the gates if you've got the interest, the gear, and the knowledge.

Lastly, Solitude doesn't sell season passes. That means you *don't* have a hardcore horde of local hotshots ripping up every shred of powder as soon as it falls.

All in all, I think Solitude is a great area. Give it a try the next time you're here.

post #8 of 12
In my mind, Brighton has the best snow in all of the SLC area. They have excellent tree skiing as well as access to some of the best backcountry in the BCW and LCW area. Solitudes terrain matches or surpasses brighton aa far as im concerned, but their lifts suck-> read:
For everyone who complains about the lift being slow and outdated at Alta, they have never skied at Solitude [img]smile.gif[/img]
Solitude is still worth a couple days if you have the time, but the traverse out of Honeycomb Canyon sucks.

I actually had a day this year where there was frezzing rain at snowbird/alta, and snow at brighton.
post #9 of 12
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bob.Peters:

(the ones who don't go to Brighton go to Snowbird). Not that I have anything against snowboarders - I'm really *glad* they have an area that they seem to prefer

Don't you mean "Snowboard"? [img]tongue.gif[/img] I'm glad they have their own place too. Yea, and much smaller snowboard population at Solitude, seems like it would be a really heinous place to try to get around, a snowboarder hoofing it out of honeycomb would not be a happy camper. [Edit -- there are a fair number around the eagle runs and the skier's far right beginers area, but it coexists very nicely.]

(I also don't have anything against snowboards, but I do like having some snowboard free or light terrain, Nike and Burton's silly pseudo-political postruring aside.)

btw, one other great thing about solitude, they have a neat system where you can buy 10 lift rides for about the price of a day pass; that way say you have a couple of hours some afternon or a morning before leaving, you can bop up and take a couple of runs. Also good if you're with someone that doesn't want to ski much, but is wants to come up with you.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 01, 2001 07:58 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lodro ]</font>
post #10 of 12
yes Bob & all...I was thinking SNOWBASIN, which is wide open & a longer drive that can be dicey. Read & Wrote too quickly. Yes, Solitude is top-notch!!! I love Solitude. Sorry for the confusion.

post #11 of 12
Just to let you know There is a new access road into Snowbasin.The new road cuts about 10 to 15 mins off the drive and it is a much better road.They have made a lot of improvments to the mountain in the past couple of years.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Last season I drove to Snowbasin from my usual bivy--the Best western in Sandy--and thought the drive was a snap (but hey, I'm used to I95). Loved Snowbasin and doubt that I will make any trips to SLC without allowing a day for Snowbasin.

But back to the BCC. Sounds like Brighton might be the best bet for my family, as we have mixed alilities (1 beginner and 2 intermediates) and 2 snowboarders. (Pretty hard to stuff us all with gear into one truck!) When I'm just there to ski by myself though, will definitely take a day to check out Solitude. Also have to do the backcountry tour between the LCC and the BCC. thanks for the great info.
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