I'm taking two trips out to Utah next year, one for 3 days and one for about a week. I've decided between these two resorts for the two trips and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with either one and could help me out and which one to stay at longer. I freeride with a bit of park if that is of any help.
Canyons is a lot larger than Brighton, so it'd be better for a week stay. Either way, at Canyons you're right next to Park City, and at Brighton you're right next to Solitude (And close to Snowbird) so there will be other options if you get bored, either way.
The Canyons Resort is one of North America's largest single ski and snowboard resorts, providing you with an endless number of options. Once you're here, you'll find everything needed to round out the perfect ski / snowboard vacation, and a whole lot more, without ever having to leave the resort.
Ive had passes at Brighton for the last dozen years and I can say for positive that ive ridden at the Canyons longer than Freds worked there so heres my take.
First and most important is when are you coming out. Brighton normally opens mid nov and by Thanksgiving on a bad snow year. The Cottonwood Canyons get more snow than the Park City side which allows for more area to be open. With the Canyons on an average snow year they are partially open by Thanksgiving but you really cant count on a good experience until after the new year. So if you are coming early Brighton is your better bet. Now if you are coming out and the weathers looking kinda overcast cold and no new snow than The Canyons will probably be better as it gets alot of morning sun and tends to not be as icy. Brighton on the other hand doesnt get alot of sun until late morning /mid-day so overcast feb days can be crappy.Powder days at Brighton are better im not even going to debate this lol. If you have any control over when you are going to be here id say March/April is the best bet with Jan/Feb as your second option and Nov/Dec as your least desirable.
The canyons is definitely the better place is you are looking for more of an " experience". It has a more traditional resort setting with multiple options for lodging,shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Basically at Brighton you are looking at one small motel style lodge and one bar on site. If your girlfriend is coming and shell ride for about 2 hours a day than The Canyons for sure has alot more stuff to keep her entertained. Basically this really just kinda sums up both resorts overall. The Canyons is a little more touristy but if you are not a local thats a good thing it just means its a bit easier to have fun there. Brighton is much more local/DIY. On a regular basis you can find lots of great jumps jibs etc handbuilt by the locals all over the mtn but these can be challenging to find.
Parks are kinda a push between the two but that doesnt mean they are exactly the same. Steve at the Canyons has an excellent crew and they are meticulous about the shaping and overall quality of their park. The Canyons has a main park and a beginner park. The main park is pretty high level with larger gaps onto boxes rails etc as well as more advanced shaped features like big tree bonks varied rails and some very large jumps. The beginner park is still a fun park and boasts a good mix of fun jibs and medium sized jumps. Jared and crew at brighton have a more DIY approach to the park with constant moving and shaping of new stuff. From week to week the parks at Brighton can totally change. Brighton has some jumps on the small and medium side but mainly Brighton is all about jibs and rails. If you are into the whole boarding magazine/video/pro thing than its worth a trip to Brighton where you can constantly see any number of well known pros and ams each day. Both parks have rails and boxes built by Kab the same company that supplies the DCMTN Lab as well as some of the better known summer camps.
Hope this helps out and give a shout when you start to nail down times and whatnot next season and I can let you know how the snow is coming and how both resorts are shaping up for the season...
Thanks Burrito. I'm thinking of taking one trip out there during December to visit U of U and Utah State because im thinking of going to colege out there, and I'm also taking a trip during the end of march. I think I might hit up Brighton during December and the Canyons during March. Thanks for the help and all of the info on the parks and stuff.