By Sasha Yakovleff
If you are looking to break up your workweek, night skiing can be the perfect option. But night skiing can be a total gamble and can vary from resort to resort. Sometimes you get lucky and hit a powder day where nobody else is out. Sometimes you can get shafted and everything is tracked out and turning into ice as the temperature cools from a warm day. Some nights you may just have to grab a few friends and a few beers to make the best of it.
At Brighton Ski Resort in Brighton, Utah, they do night skiing the right way. Instead of opening up one beginner trail or lighting one small park run, they light over 200 acres accessed by three lifts. The main park and green, blue, and black trails are all lit up. Plus the lifts spin until 9pm, so even if you don't get up there right after work you can still make plenty of turns.
Brighton lights the mountain so well that some light even spills into the trees. While these may or may not be open, when conditions are right bringing your headlamp and dipping into the woods is pretty standard practice. There is usually some ambient light filtering in from the lit trails, and there are plenty of patches of woods in between trails where you can see light at the bottom. If you use common sense and stay within the night ski boundaries there are some good tree runs to be had.
We skied Brighton a few weeks ago on a clear night with a few inches of fresh snow and were pleasantly surprised. The terrain—albeit not as extensive as the rest of the mountain during the day—offers steeps, parks, and enough variety to keep any skier happy. We even ducked into the trees in a few spots without headlamps and were able to make fresh turns in the spillover light from the trails around us.
Brighton's night skiing program for 2014 comes to an end on April 5. Until then, the resort is offering $20 night skiing lift tickets. This should leave you with a little extra money to enjoy the other great thing about night skiing at Brighton: dinner and beers at Molly Greens.