Solitude / Brighton 2/18/19-2/22/19

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Solitude / Brighton 2/18/19-2/22/19

    1st out west trip with wife and kids (6 and 10 years old). Myself, I haven't been out west in 15+ years. After 2 years of melt downs in the east during winter vacations, I promised everyone we would head west for snow this year. We weren't dissapointed.

    IKON passholders. Wasatch was a no brainer for first family trip. I thought the smaller places would work out for the wife and kids. Stayed in Solitude Village. Easy travel. Quiet. I was glued to the weather the week before and it looked like we were going to get skunked on new snow after all that snowfall early feb. It ended up not being the case. We didn't get a huge dump, but refreshes all week were nice. Was going to day trip to Snowbird, but never did. A reason to come back next year.

    milly bowl.jpg

    Milly Bowl - Brighton

    So basically ended up with 1.5 days at Brighton and 3 at Solitude. The kids really preferred Solitude over Brighton for whatever reason. For snow, we ended up with an inch or 2 overnight into monday, 3-5 inches into tuesday (none was forecast), an inch into wednesday, no snow into thursday, and then 2-3 inches into Friday.

    solbright.jpg
    view of sidecountry from Solbright trail


    Brighton

    I Really liked the terrain off of the Milly Express at Brighton. Worth a bunch of laps. The Great Western Express also was worth a bunch of laps. Great natural terrain features at both areas. The natural snow at Brighton seemed a bit better than Solitude, but it was all good. The middle part of the mountain was not remarkable in any way and besides a few steep shots at the top, it was flatter than Stratton. I didn't hike to anything at Brighton, so it is certainly possible we missed a bunch of great terrain in the middle, but I don't think so. After being psyched to go night skiing, after we saw the terrain that would be available to ski/ride, we decided to skip it. My ten year old isn't quite into park riding yet, but if that's your thing, the middle of Brighton is the place to go. Overall I liked Brighton, those 2 HSQ mentioned above can be lapped quickly and provide quick access to great terrain.

    middle slope.jpg
    Either middle slope or cathedral cirque from evergreen peak - Solitude

    Solitude

    Kids had a great time tree skiing everywhere in bounds. The gated terrain off either side of the Powderhorn lift was probably the best. The more you traversed, the more it was untouched. Steep chutes, cliffs, tree skiing everywhere. My ten year olds favorites were here be dragons and milk run. There was plenty of untracked / barely tracked terrain all week. You just had to find it. And dropping into terrain that has cliff area signs was something new for the kids.

    here be.jpg
    dropping into here be dragons-Solitude

    The terrain off of the summit lift was great as well, but to get the good stuff you had to either hike or Traverse for a bit. I did both solo as the family wasn't into hiking or big traverses. I didn't do the Fantasy ridge hike, but hit all the other gates. I traversed for as far as I could and hit no mans land one morning. Not sure if it was worth it. It was less tracked up, but it was similiar terrain to the gated stuff into honeycomb canyon off of powderhorn, eagle and honeycomb return lifts.

    boundary chutes.jpg boundary chutes

    Anyway, I think may favorite runs from the week were the hike to ones off of evergreen peak. Snow conditions were excellent for the week and the crowding level was non existent. Maybe 5 -10 chair waits on monday and friday. Otherwise it was ski on all week. After reading everywhere that IKON is ruining BCC and LCC, I didn't get a chance to experience it. Maybe if we had a big powder day there would have been chaos.

    I could easily see a 3 day snowbird, 3 day solitude trip next year in the cards unless we head to Canada.

  2. #2
    Great trip report. Thank you! We visited cottonwood canyon in late December and had a blast too. We were sticking to Alta/Bird and visited Solitude and Brighton only 1 day each. Similar to you, I prefer Brighton too. Solitude didn't look nearly as good in December as your pictures due to relatively thin base (~50"). It looks much more fun in Feb. Would love to visit again.

  3. #3
    thetrailboss's Avatar
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    Nice report. If you did not have to drive, then you probably did not experience the "crowding" issue. It's the drive to and from that has become a huge issue.
    Live, Ski, or Die!


  4. #4
    I kinda hit Solitude on a tough day but found a lot of powder in Here Be Dragons. Want to get back to Solitude to get a better impression.
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  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zand View Post
    I kinda hit Solitude on a tough day but found a lot of powder in Here Be Dragons. Want to get back to Solitude to get a better impression.
    Yeah, I read your report and was a bit anxious that we were getting no snow in the forecast before we came. But the deep base and minor (for UT) snowfall was enough for us. Actually, the lower snowfall amounts kept the avalanche terrain open all week which was nice, because the mountain would get really small with the gates closed.

  6. #6
    Are the cliff areas in here be dragons, milk run, etc marked before you ski over them?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by tumbler View Post
    Are the cliff areas in here be dragons, milk run, etc marked before you ski over them?
    yep. Some have just a sign as you enter general the area. Those you could generally send off of and be fine. The ones I saw with more severe consequence were roped off from above.



    Here be dragons had a separate cliff area gate (after the main gate) that once you entered it was unmarked. There was alot of fresh in there.

    Middle Slope/Parachute/Milk Run were well marked / roped.

    Evergreen chutes were roped across top of cliffs from what I saw.

    Honeycomb peak side just had signage as you entered the terrain. Not as well marked, but nothing crazy unless you hiked fantasy ridge or traversed waaaay out.

    Only got in a tiny bit o trouble one time (by myself) and I was super cautious bringing my son in those areas.

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