“Where Epic Begins”
When we heard that Vail Resorts had purchased Mt. Brighton, it gave us the impetus to pay a visit. With a brother-in-law less than an hour away from the resort, we doubled our pleasure by visiting him as well. When Vail told us they’d comp a few media lift passes, it only got better.
We love our annual pilgrimage to Breckenridge, so it piqued our interest as to how this resort would compare to the other Midwest skiing destinations we’d checked out.
GO: Dependent on winter weather, the season is roughly mid-November to mid-March. During warmer weather, the resort doubles as a golf course. Mt. Brighton is easily reached from Detroit, Windsor, Toledo, Jackson, Flint, Lansing, and Ann Arbor. About 4 hours, depending on traffic, from the Chicago area.
STATS: The Numbers
- $10 Million in Resort improvements 2013/14
- Expanded snowmaking
- New chairlifts
- Slope regrading and new magic carpet lifts for Beginner areas
- New terrain park
- Racing hill expansion
- New Kids’ Ski and Ride School Center
- Addition of Vail Resorts’ EpicMix technology
- Vertical 230 feet (70 meters)
- 130 acres (52.6 hectares)
- 26 trails, 5 chairlifts, 11 surface lifts, uphill capacity 17,200 people per hour
- Snowmaking covers all 130 acres
- 4 bars and restaurants
STAY: Nothing at the resort, but plenty of hotel options within a few miles.
- Ski Hill Grill is a large, self-seating dining area with a quick-service food court designed for a fast and convenient dining experience. The grilled cheese and burgers were outstanding; onion rings were not crispy; ditto for the pizza crust.
- Ore Creek Mountain Grill is a sit-down, waitstaff-serviced, casual fine dining culinary experience at Mt. Brighton.
- Bruhn’s Bar (named for the Bruhn family who managed Mt. Brighton for many years) is a full service, fully stocked bar, conveniently located at the south end of the Ski Hill Grill.
- There is also a large picnic area for those that wish to bring food from home.
- There are several fast food outlets a few miles from the resort if you want to leave and come back.
RACE IT: XLR8 Pre-Junior Alpine Racing, XLR8 CUSSA Junior Alpine Racing, and Adult Race League. Through EpicMix: race 10+ times at the NASTAR Course at Mt. Brighton to be eligible to race against Lindsey Vonn in person at the Lindsey Vonn Race Series Event.
- We enjoyed a visit to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills – a penny arcade stuffed to the gills with interesting things to play or just spend time looking.
- Detroit is close by, with the Zoo, Belle Isle, and many more attractions to keep things interesting.
- Extensive and varied terrain, making this really family-friendly
- Up-to-date rental equipment, including helmets
- Long lines to purchase lift pass (but a good reason to buy a season pass)
- Somewhat slow service at the Ski Hill Grill for prepared food – 2 of our kids got pizza slices and were long done before our burgers and grill cheese were finished
- No trail maps at top of lifts – for first time visitors, somewhat confusing on how to proceed, especially if you have a tentative skier along
Skiing Mt Brighton video
Overall, we’d rate the experience at Mt Brighton as top-notch. The improvements by Vail Resorts lift this above most Midwest skiing destinations we’ve visited. Though not a huge resort, there is plenty of room to spread out, and with 4 faces to ski on multiple slopes, it skis much larger than it actually is.
The terrain (park and slope) progression from beginner to expert is well thought out and keeps abilities separated for the most part, a nice safety feature. If they added a day care option (like we’ve enjoyed at Breckenridge), this would be a near perfect place to ski in the Midwest.
Disclaimer: We received media lift passes for review purposes.