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Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News
Snowboarder Simon Kirschman carves a line down Pacific Highway, the most popular run at Brighton Ski Resort. It provides access to a full range of other runs \— beginner, intermediate and expert.

Signature run — Sunshine

Best said, this run draws families like a magnet. It is an intermediate run where kids can have a great time and parents can relax and enjoy the great views and the tree-lined skiing and snowboarding. It requires a transfer, starting first off the Majestic or Crest Express lifts, then skiing or snowboarding over to the Snake Creek Express, which services the Sunshine run.

The run is about 4,700 feet long with a vertical drop of about 1,040 feet. The name Sunshine came from a mining claim that the run crosses and because on a beautiful sunny day skiers and snowboarders can see all the way into Heber, Utah County and the backside of Mount Timpanogos. Also, there is no better place at the resort to spend some time in the sunshine.

No. 1 run — Pacific Highway

This run has become popular with skiers and snowboarders as a great "warm-up run" to start the day. It is an intermediate run that is accessed off the Crest Express lift and goes about halfway down the mountain before turning onto the Snow Drift run. It is long and wide open, perfect for those cruising giant slalom turns. Another reason this run is so popular is that it is a great jumping-off point to a full range of other runs — beginner, intermediate and expert.

The Crest lift has a length of 5, 660 feet and a vertical drop of 1,207 feet. Pacific Highway got its name because of its length, width and smooth grooming all the way from top to bottom. Consensus is that it's like driving on a perfectly smooth asphalt highway.

Top 10 runs

1. Pacific Highway; 2. Sunshine is an intermediate run accessed off Snake Creek Express and is popular because of its easy access for families, views and openness; 3. Golden Needle is a beginner run accessed off the Great Western Express and offers some rolling terrain, a wide-open face and access to the Snake Creek Express; 4. Thor is a beginner run accessed from the top of the Snake Creek Express and is known as a rolling run that winds down through the forest, offers great powder shots on snowy days and offers access to the Great Western Express; 5. Endless Winter is a double black-diamond run off Great Western Express and offers skiers and snowboarders great skiing or sliding on a powder day for those who can handle the steep terrain and narrower run; 6. Lone Pine is a double black/black diamond run reached off the Milly Express and got its name because the avalanches in years past that were triggered from the Milly bowl have taken out all the trees; 7. Thunder Road is a beginner run located off the top of the Crest Express and is a great run that accesses Brighton's top terrain park and has become a nice warm-up run to the Snake Creek Express; 8. Rein's Run is a double black diamond run off the top of the Great Western Express and is a great run for some serious powder turns; 9. Scree Slope in the Milly Bowl run is a black/double black diamond run that is wide open and treeless, which adds to the openness and offers some tree shoots toward the bottom; 10. Evergreen is a black diamond run accessed from the Milly Express and is a great, long run that follows the resort's southernmost boundary line.


Brighton's story begins around the same time as Alta's. For Brighton, it all started in 1936 when members of the Alpine Ski Club, which would later be renamed the Wasatch Mountain Club, designed and built a "skier tow" out of half-inch wire rope and an old elevator drum. Brighton became the first tow-serviced ski area in Utah and was one of only a few operating in the nation. Two years later, in 1938, the group built a new T-Bar lift. The onset of World War II and other economic changes led to the sale of the T-Bar to Zane Doyle. In 1949, Doyle was joined by his father-in-law, Willard Jensen, and a second T-Bar was built.

Because the area had popular terrain and accessibility, it was only a matter of time before skiing got its first solid foothold in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Seven years after Alta introduced skiers to a chairlift, a group called Brighton Recreations built the first chairlift in Big Cottonwood Canyon in 1946. The single-chair lift accessed the terrain on Mt. Millicent. In 1955, Doyle and Jensen purchased the first double chairlift in the Intermountain Region. The success of the double chair was so overwhelming that a second double, the Mary lift, was soon added.

The next big step in Brighton's development came in 1987 when it was purchased by Boyne USA, a family owned corporation established in 1947. Brighton introduced its first high-speed quad in 1991. The new Crest Express replaced the Mary chair, adding more terrain for skiers. During the following summer the Great Western high-speed quad and Explorer triple chair were installed, adding new advanced and beginner terrain. Other improvements include expanded night terrain, more snowmaking, a new base lodge facility, a remodeled ski and snowboard school and the addition of state-of-the-art grooming equipment.

The big news this year was the new Milly Express high-speed quad lift that replaced the Millicent lift, built in 1974, and the Evergreen lift, built in 1968. The resort also expanded its terrain park, which now goes from My-O-My all the way down Majestic Face.