This is not a serious ski resort. Anyone who is above beginner should not come here.
The terrain is very, very easy. The "black" runs listed on their trail map are short pitches of moguls at moderate steepness connected by long boring flats. A good skier will get bored after 1 day here. I would rate 95% of the terrain across the two peaks that comprise the resort as beginner or intermediate.
The main problem, however, is how the resort is managed.
I was there on Sunday, January 6th 2013. It was our third day here. The morning started windy - not crazy windy, just regular, mountains-in-the-winter windy. Conditions I have skied in many times before.
But the management at Brian Head closes their lifts with almost any wind. I was skiing a lift half of the morning and the wind was dying down when they decided to close it, along with all the lifts that access the upper mountain (the only part worth skiing).
OK, so they are very (unreasonably) conservative about closing lifts. Maybe they are very risk averse, or maybe their old, slow lifts are poorly maintained and can't handle the wind stress. BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SKI RESORT SHUT DOWN ALMOST ENTIRELY IN SUCH MILD CONDITIONS!!! Brian Head's wind policy is bizarre and unlike any other ski resort I have ever visited.
But worse, when the wind had COMPLETELY died down and the sun shone beautifully by about 1pm, when conditions were PERFECT and a nice afternoon of skiing beckoned, did the management of Brian Head re-open the lifts? NO!
Why? As one of their staff explained to me, "We couldn't reopen if we wanted to. We don't have the staff." How so? "Can't afford lift operators if the lifts aren't open."
So, instead of re-opening the lifts when conditions improved, AS EVERY OTHER SKI RESORT ON THE PLANET WOULD DO, they closed the lifts for the day and sent their lift operators home to save money. Disgraceful.
This is simply operating in bad faith. I have never seen a ski resort with this policy. No one should drive more than an hour or commit any scarce vacation time to an operation that has such total contempt for its customers.
More evidence of incompetent management:
- Lift operator was supposed to be managing the crowd at the one lift still open (the bunny lift, lift #3). Instead he was sitting down getting a neck rub from another employee. Line was in chaos. So, employees are not supervised.
- My wife, who doesn't ski, tried to buy at ticket to the tubing park Brian Head operates. Website says they are open until 4pm. REFUSED to sell my wife a ticket at 2:30, saying they were closing. Hey, why honor your operating hours when work is ever so boring and us employees would rather go home?
- on Saturday, 1/5/13, lifts were supposed to operate until 4:30. We were turned away at 4:15 from boarding lift #2. Hey, who do I think I am, trying to ski the whole day? Just 'cause the ticket you sold me says you're open until 4:30 on it?? Again, pattern of inmates running the asylum.
- lodge facilities circa 1970. Atmosphere of a high school cafeteria. Really awful food, again circa 1970: bad chili, greasy fries and burgers, hot dogs. Gross bathrooms.
- absolutely no night life in Brian Head.
- nowhere decent to eat. Local pizza parlor was disgusting.
- snowboarding customers of hill observe no etiquette at all. Saw lots of out of control boarding, near collisions. Watched one out-of-control boarder plow into one of the "Slow" signs posted on the hill protecting a lift. Groups of boarders congregating in the middle of runs all over the hill. Ski patrol nowhere to be seen.
- good dry snow.
- low key atmosphere.
- pretty uncrowded.
- my wife enjoyed her snow-mobile outing from a local outfitter
This is a very, very, very bad destination resort. I had hoped to find an alternative to Mammoth, but it is absolutely not worth the 8 hour drive from So Cal. And it is the most unprofessionally and dishonestly managed resort I have ever visited. The facilities are simply operated at their convenience, without the customer in mind.
Perhaps it is worth noting I have skied over forty years and probably 40 locations in Europe, Canada and extensively in the US. This is the worst operation I have ever had the misfortune to experience.
They should go out of business or sell to someone who has the experience and capital to operate it properly.
DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS DUMP.