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With the perfect combination of all the fluffy powder of Alta and Snowbird and all the quiet charm many large resorts have left behind, Brighton Ski Resort is a favorite among serious snowboarders and out-on-the-edge skiers. If you're looking for excitement, more than one-third of the runs are for advanced skiers, and lifts provide access to extensive backcountry areas for the real experts. Photos taken in the Brighton backcountry are regular fodder for the extreme skiing and snowboarding magazines. Its expert terrain and renegade image notwithstanding, this is still a great place for families, with ideal beginner and intermediate terrain. It was the first in Utah to offer a kids-ski-free program, and it has received many awards for its service to children and parents. 12601 Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., Brighton, UT, 84121. 801/532–4731; 800/873–5512; 800/873–5512 snow report. www.brightonresort.com. Lift tickets $58. 1,745-ft vertical drop; 1050 skiable acres; 21% beginner, 40% intermediate, 39% advanced/expert; 4 high-speed quad chairs, 1 fixed grip quad, 1 triple chair.
Since the early 1990s the base of Solitude Mountain Resort has grown into a European-style village with lodges, condominiums, a luxury hotel, and award-winning restaurants, but downhill skiing and snowboarding are still the main attractions. Day guests will enjoy relaxing after a hard day on the slopes at the comfortable 12,000-square-foot Moonbeam Day Lodge. Honeycomb Canyon has pristine expert terrain along with a good mix of intermediate cruising runs and beginner-friendly slopes. Skiers and boarders can access the slopes directly from the parking lot on the high-speed quad lift. 12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon Rd., Solitude, UT, 84121. 801/534–1400; 800/748–4754; 801/536–5774 Nordic Center; 801/536–5777 snow report. www.skisolitude.com. Lift tickets $61. 2,047-ft vertical drop; 1,200 skiable acres; 20% beginner, 50% intermediate, 30% advanced; 3 high-speed quad chairs, 2 quad chairs, 1 triple chair, 2 double chairs.
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