Our New Favorite Ski Destination: Brian Head, UT
My husband didn’t want me to write this post (he thought we should keep Brian Head our little secret). But it’s no secret, Brian Head Resort is the perfect family mountain and ski destination. And we are far from the only Southern California peeps to recognize this. In fact, we ran into MANY people from Orange County enjoying the resort in mid-February. Don’t get me wrong, we love Mammoth… that mountain is AMAZING, but the crowds and the ever increasing cost of a lift ticket is making it harder and harder to justify taking my family there on a regular basis.
HERE’S WHY WE WILL BE HEADING TO BRIAN HEAD, UT AGAIN:
- The lift ticket prices are super reasonable which makes taking a family of four to the mountains a little less of a strain. Plus, kids 5 and under ski free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
- With the money we saved on lift tickets, we decided to splurge on some ski lessons for the kids since both my husband and I snowboard. We really just wanted the kids to like skiing, we didn’t even care if they learned a lot. But learn a lot they did. By the end of the first day, both my 8 and 5-year-old kids were taking the chair lift and skiing down the mountain. By day two my 8-year-old daughter implied I was too slow for her. And my 5-year-old daughter, the one who is ALWAYS tired and hungry, she didn’t even want to stop for lunch. Plus they LOVED their instructor. They were super sad when they had to say goodbye (they even texted her a bunch of emojis – kid code you know).
- Even during a busy President’s Day Holiday, the slopes were so empty. This was especially nice for our kids who were just learning how to ski (and a lot less nerve-wracking for me when my 5-year-old took off down the mountain at full speed ahead).
- It was super easy to rent skis for the kids. We even did it twice. We ended up returning them after two days because we thought we were done. But when we were able to get our car serviced quickly (more on that later), we ran back in, rented skis in record time, and made it onto the slopes for a half-day.
- There is snow tubing right at the mountain base. So convenient, and a perfect option for those who don’t want to ski/snowboard, or for some extra fun for those who just can’t get enough.
- The town is small, in a good way. When our car wouldn’t start after a day on the mountain, it was easy for me to hop on the shuttle with the kids and take it back to our condo while my husband dealt with the car.
- It’s really not that far of a drive from Orange County. Brian Head is in Utah and about a 3-hour drive past Vegas. We split up the drive on the way there and spent the night in Las Vegas, but driving straight thru is totally an option (we did on our way home). The kids got a kick out of the fact we were technically in four different states in one day (CA, NV, AZ, UT). But you can also fly into the airport in St. George. The drive from St. George is about 1 1/2 hours.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
- There is a one hour time difference, so keep that in mind when you think of arrival/departure times.
- As I mentioned before, we ran into a bit of car trouble. It gets really cold there (and I guess my car didn’t like that), so maybe do a little research on the best way to start your car in extreme cold BEFORE you go. Once the AAA guy showed us, we didn’t have trouble starting the car again. However, we did have to run the car down to the town of Parowan to reset the car’s computer. If you need your car serviced, we highly recommend Biasi Automotive & Diesel!
- It may not seem like it on the drive up, but you are actually getting really high in elevation. Brian Head’s base elevation is 9600 feet. Some ways to prepare for the change in altitude: drink extra water, avoid alcohol, eat carbs (that one was really easy for me), and take the climb slow.
- Since Brian Head is a very small mountain town, there are not a lot dining out options, or grocery stores for that matter. If you do eat out, be prepared to wait. We loved the Thai restaurant, Sook Jai Thai Cusine (they drive to Las Vegas weekly for their ingredients), but we did have to wait awhile. If you have a kitchen where you are staying, I highly recommend picking up some grocery staples at a store in Cedar City on your way, at least to give you options.
- Brian Head Resort is made up of two connected mountains, Giant Steps and Navajo, but they are smaller mountains in comparison to Mammoth. I thought there was plenty of mountain (71 runs, 8 chair lifts, and 2 surface lifts), and thought it perfect for new skiers/boarders and families, but there are some people who may find it a bit small scale.