Brighton Ski Resort has been a staple of winter recreation in Utah since 1936 when it opened its doors to the public. Situated in the Wasatch Mountains, just outside of Salt Lake City, Brighton is the oldest continually operating ski resort in the United States. It’s a great place for first-time skiers and snowboarders to learn the sport and hone their skills, while advanced skiers can take advantage of a variety of terrain challenges. Brighton has been around for over 75 years, and in that time it has seen a lot of changes.
In 1936, the Forest Service leased 17 acres of land to a group of skiers and adventurers who wished to build a ski resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The group cleared trails on what is now known as Mt. Millicent, one of the seven skiing peaks at Brighton today. They built their own lift from scrap metal and opened the resort for the first time.
The following winter, Brighton hosted its first ski race, the All-American SkiJoring Championships, which continues to this day. The event brought national attention to Brighton, and in 1938 it became Utah’s first official ski resort.
It was named after Scottish immigrant William Stuart Brighton, who brought his family overseas in the 1850s. They settled in Big Cottonwood Canyon and started a business that helped miners that were traveling from one area to another.
In the late 1960s, Brighton was still a small resort. It had seven chairlifts and a few runs, but it wasn’t until 1976 that things really started to take off when new owners purchased the resort. They invested money in new lifts and improved the ski area with more trails and glades. They also opened Brighton's first terrain park.
In the 1990s, Brighton began to expand even further with new chairlifts and trails being added each year. The resort also opened up additional backcountry skiing areas that allowed advanced skiers access to off-piste terrain. They also started a ski school for beginners and created the Kidz Ski Program, which teaches children the basics of skiing.
In the new millennium, Brighton has continued to grow and develop even further. In 2011, the resort opened its first high-speed quad chairlift, Milly Express. They also built a second terrain park and added more glades for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. They began offering a variety of summer activities such as mountain biking, hiking and disc golf.
Brighton Through the Years
During World War II, the resort experienced some difficult times, with most of its employees joining the military. However, Brighton was back up and running after the war ended. In 1947, they installed their first chairlift and in 1965, their first triple chair.
Brighton continued to grow over the years with new lifts, trails, and lodges being built each season. In 1985, they opened the Great Western Lodge, the largest ski lodge in Utah at the time. In 1996, Brighton became part of a larger family when it was acquired by Boyne Resorts.
Today, Brighton is one of Utah’s premier ski resorts and a favorite among locals and visitors. It offers some of the best terrain in the state with over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain spread out across seven mountain peaks. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, they also offer tubing, snowshoeing, and a variety of other activities.
Brighton is also home to a variety of restaurants and shops, making it one of the best ski towns in Utah. It’s no wonder that Brighton has been around for over 75 years and continues to be one of the top skiing destinations in the United States- and the world. Brighton Ski Resort has something to offer everyone, whether you're a beginner or an expert. So come and experience skiing like it used to be—at Brighton!