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Kim Johnson - Brian Head Resort: Worth the trip

If you haven’t been to Brian Head Resort in a while, this year is a great year to visit.
If you haven’t been to Brian Head Resort in a while, this year is a great year to visit.

Opening day got off to a rockin’ start on Nov. 15 with cooler temperatures and plenty of snow flakes falling throughout the day. The resort has been making snow for the last two weeks, but it’s always nice to get some help from Mother Nature.

Snow aside, visitors will notice some major upgrades. New owners have invested $3.5 million into the place. And you’ll notice the difference from the slopes to the saloon.

Brian Head has the only BagJump in Utah. Now you can access it with a magic carpet lift. It will also be lit at night. In fact, visitors can now enjoy night skiing on Blackfoot lift #3 and well as a lighted terrain park. Speaking of the park, there’s 20 new features including rails, walls, boxes and jumps. If that’s not enough “new” for ya… there’s also a new tubing park.

If après ski is an important part of your slope experience (I know it is for me), you’ll love the new vibe and eats at the renovated lodges. Juan, the new chef from Argentina, has spruced up the menu. You’ll find plenty of gourmet burgers (toppings include everything from Chipotle Aioli, Pico de Gallo, Raspberry BBQ Sauce, Pecan Smoked Bacon, to Grilled Pineapple). Or try one of the artisan pizzas (I recommend the Mushroom & Arugula—seriously amazing).

After riding all of Brian Head’s eight lifts, beer lovers can sip on a #9, a one-of-a-kind ale crafted by Uinta Brewing, only available at Brian Head.

The resort is trying to create more of an après ski appeal. That’s the thought behind the new stone patio, gas fire pits and wood deck overlooking the BagJump. On opening day, marketing guru Kevin Robinson gave me a nickel tour. His enthusiasm was hard to ignore. He’s part of a new team of guys down there who are pumped to show off what Brian Head has to offer. And they’re hoping it’s enough to get the SLC crowd to take a road trip.

Now, living in the metro area and having the convenience of the Wasatch in my backyard, I admit it’s tempting to put off driving the 3 1/2 hours south. But, if you’re looking for a unique skiing experience, Brian Head is definitely worth checking out. The drive up Parowon Canyon is unlike anything in the Wasatch. The red rock contrasted with white snow reminds you-- you’re not in northern Utah anymore. It’ll be a great memory for your ski scrapbook (what, you don’t have one?)… and an added notch of cred on your “how many resorts have you been to?” bragging belt.

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