Like the ski areas in the Ogden and Logan areas, the reasons to visit Brian Head Resort are terrain and snow; the wide range of amenities found in Park City, Deer Valley, and Snowbird just don't exist here. In summer, mountain bikers and hikers converge on Brian Head.
Brian Head has the distinction of being Utah's southernmost ski resort, just a short drive from the year-round short-sleeve warmth of St. George. Its location makes it particularly popular with skiers from the Las Vegas area and Southern California. But with the highest base elevation of any of the state's ski areas (9,600 ft.), it receives over 400 inches of powdery snow each winter. Another plus is the scenery: The only ski resort in Utah's famed red-rock country, Brian Head Resort offers stunning views.
The resort is known for its variety of terrain, especially with snow cat service to the top of Brian Head Peak (elevation 11,307 ft.), offering spectacular advanced terrain for the adventurous. Intermediates will enjoy fine cruising runs a little farther down the mountain, and beginners can ski Navajo Mountain, dedicated solely to children and beginning skiers and snowboarders. Terrain is rated 35% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 25% advanced. Two surface lifts, one double chair, and five triples service 53 trails on 540 skiable acres. The vertical drop is 1,707 feet, from a top elevation of 11,307 feet. There are snow-making capabilities on 170 acres. The ski season generally runs from mid-November to mid-April, with lifts operating daily from 9:30am to 4:30pm. On weekends and holidays, night skiing is available from 3:30 to 9pm.
Snowboarders are welcome, with four terrain parks of varying ability levels, plenty of free riding terrain, and a half pipe, conditions permitting. The resort also has a snow tubing park.
For information, contact Brian Head Resort, 329 S. Utah 143, P.O. Box 190008, Brian Head, UT 84719 (tel. 435/677-2035; www.brianhead.com), or Brian Head Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services, P.O. Box 190325, Brian Head, UT 84719 (tel. 888/677-2810 or 435/677-2810; www.brianheadchamber.com).
From Cedar City, it's 28 miles to Brian Head; take I-15 to exit 75 and head south on the very steep Utah 143 about 12 miles.
Lift Tickets -- An adult all-day lift ticket is $45 regular season and $52 during major holiday periods; an all-day child's (ages 6-12) or senior's (ages 65 and over) ticket is $32 regular season and $37 during major holiday periods. Kids 5 and under ski free with a paying adult. Night skiing or snowboarding costs $15. Snow tubing is $15 for 2 hours, including tube rental.
Lessons & Programs -- The ski school offers private and group lessons, as well as clinics, snowboard classes, and children's ski instruction. Day care is available for children and infants; also available are packages combining day care and ski lessons. Call tel. 435/677-2049 for current rates.
Cross-Country Skiing -- Brian Head has 26 miles of cross-country trails -- 6 1/4 miles of them groomed -- rated 50% beginner, 30% intermediate, and 20% advanced. Lessons and rentals are available at Brianhead Sports (tel. 435/677-2014); there's no charge for trail use.
Serious Mountain Biking & Other Summer Fun
After the snow melts, bikers and hikers claim the mountain. With elevations of 9,600 to 11,307 feet, Brian Head is stunningly beautiful and always cool and crisp. For those who want to see the mountains without the sweat, chairlift rides are offered in summer Friday to Sunday ($10 adults, $6 children 4-12, free for kids 3 and under). Evenings are busy, too, with live musical entertainment ranging from jazz and country to bluegrass and classical.
Brian Head is fast becoming a major destination for serious and dedicated mountain bikers. This is a wonderful place for mountain biking, with endless trails, superb scenery, and about the freshest air you're going to find. What's more, mountain biking here can be oh-so-very easy: A chairlift hauls you and your bike up the mountain ($24 for a full-day pass), or you can take a shuttle to and from several locations ($17) -- leaving only the fun parts to pedal. Bike rentals start at $35 to $54 per day for adults, $20 for kids 11 and under, and helmets are $5. Contact the Brian Head Resort Mountain Bike Park (tel. 435/677-3101), Brianhead Sports (tel. 435/677-2014), or George's Bike Shop (tel. 435/677-2013), all at www.brianheadtown.com, for details.
Where To Stay & Dine
The Brian Head area offers a variety of lodging possibilities, with winter rates ranging from about $150 to $300 per night (higher at Christmas; lower in summer). Contact the Brian Head Chamber of Commerce (tel. 888/677-2810; www.brianheadchamber.com), Brian Head Reservation Center (tel. 800/845-9781 or 435/677-2042; fax 435/677-2827; www.brianheadtown.com/bhrc), or Brian Head Central Reservations (tel. 800/272-7426). Room tax is about 10%. You can also stay in Cedar City, 28 miles away.
Cedar Breaks Lodge & Spa, 2223 Hunter Ridge Rd. (P.O. Box 190248), Brian Head, UT 84719 (tel. 888/282-3327 or 435/677-3000; www.cedarbreakslodge.com), near the base of Navajo Mountain, recently underwent an extensive multimillion-dollar renovation. It offers more than 100 studio, parlor, and master "villas" ranging from $120 to $460 in winter, $85 to $220 in summer. All rooms have whirlpool tubs, wet bars, refrigerators, microwaves, coffeemakers, and hair dryers; some also have fireplaces. Facilities include a 24-hour front desk, two restaurants, a lounge, an indoor pool, a fireside Jacuzzi, a fitness center, a sauna, and a steam room. Boasting one of Utah's top spas, the lodge has several massage therapists available, offering Swedish full-body massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, reflexology, aromatherapy baths, hydrating facials, salt glows, and herbal wraps.
Quick breakfasts and lunches are served at several places at Brian Head, including the Giant Steps and Navajo Lodge grills, with meals from $5 to $10. The Double Black Diamond Steak House at Cedar Breaks Lodge & Spa offers fine dining Friday and Saturday nights only, with steaks, prime rib, and several seafood and pasta dishes in the $15-to-$30 range. Reservations are recommended (tel. 435/677-4242). Also at Cedar Breaks Lodge & Spa, the Cedar Breaks Café serves a breakfast buffet plus a la carte menu each morning, and offers casual dinners each evening. Prices range from $7 to $16. The Cedar Breaks Bar & Grill is a local gathering place, with a full bar and the option of ordering from the Cedar Breaks Café menu.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.