Experience Utah’s charm and excellence at sensational Eagle Point and Brian Head

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My western powder adventure continued from Alta and Solitude in central Utah to south Utah with the beautiful resorts of Eagle Point and Brian Head.

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It’s about a three-hour drive from Salt Lake City passing incredible mountain ranges and tumble weed desert to Eagle Point.

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My destination was a sleepy little desert town called Beaver, a throw back to the 60’s and home to the once famous outlaw Butch Cassidy.

The next morning, I woke to very heavy wet snow and quickly remembered that wet snow or rain at the bottom of the Utah mountain means powder on top. This held true as the heavy snow changed to powder on our 17-mile drive up the Tushar Mountain Range, third highest in Utah with dramatic vistas and deep valleys.

When we arrived at Eagle Point it was coming down so hard it was blanketing the cozy wooden chalet. I was set up with the proper wider powder skis by legendary ski fitter, Cowboy Doug and off we went in two feet of delicious dry mountain powder. Even better, we got first tracks. Nobody on the hill before us.

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The resort is only open Friday through Monday, except on holidays and it was perfect timing, arriving on what the locals call “Powder Friday”. Skiing in the deep powder almost felt mystical, peaceful as we floated along with a sense of calm among a sea of white.

Eagle Point averages 350 inches of dry powder a year and is a good size resort at 650 skiable acres with an impressive vertical drop of 1,500ft, a base elevation of 9,100 feet, summit at 10,900 (highest and steepest in south Utah) with 39 runs, five lifts, and a terrain park. There are three main areas to ski with separate lifts, so you know where you’re going and they’re all trail connected.

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We started on the Monarch lift by the main chalet for easier warm-up runs on Big Horn, Teddy’s Twist and Racers Edge. We ventured across the mountain range to Skyline Lift which leads to Glacier Glade and Elk Meadows. There’s even a tunnel visitors can ski through and be watched on Tunnel Vision with a fun local tradition to yell loud as you can. Tunnel Vision leads to a development community (Aspen Crest) lining the run with stunning chalets for rent or ownership. The third area is separate for advanced skiers and experts off Lookout Lift. Here you’ll see the very impressive steep, long runs or take a hike out for a real test.

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Brian Head
Brian Head is the only Utah ski resort where you see massive red rocks with incredible never-ending views of Cedar National Park and Monument. Photo by Jay Dash /Photography

We stopped for lunch at the mountain top with another impressive area for accommodation and development, Canyonside Lift Lodge, for mouth-watering chef’s special burgers perfectly done with cheese and bacon.

My day at Eagle Point was complete and left with a smile on my face. I thoroughly enjoyed the day full of powder and laughs, small lift lines with a great variety of trails, happy and friendly staff. Eagle Point is worth every penny, that you won’t have to spend.

My next stop on this incredible Utah tour took me further south to Brian Head, a 90-minute drive from Eagle Point. This was my first sunny, Bluebird day as I drove along the 15-mile road through the desert and up enormous mountain ranges to this wonderful resort with an elevation of 9,600 feet, highest base elevation of any ski resort in Utah.

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I checked into my hotel, the spacious Cedar Breaks Lodge with a stunning view of the ski trails. It’s a perfect skiers hotel, with a small kitchen for any time meals, a large indoor pool, work out room and saunas. You won’t need your vehicle with hourly shuttles between lodges. If you need to rent skis, as I always recommend, head to Giant Steps Lodge.

Brian Head Resort is a good size with 650-plus skiable acres, 1,707 feet vertical, eight chairs and 71 runs with a cool ski over bridge connecting two mountains. They also have a tube park and, much to my surprise, night skiing. Brian Head Peak is for the more advanced skier with blacks and blues while Navajo Peak is for intermediates and beginners.

We first took the main chair Giants Step Express, looking at another 2 feet of dry Utah powder. This resort is huge with wide open trails reminding me of European resorts. Brian Head is the only Utah ski resort where you see massive red rocks with incredible never-ending views of Cedar National Park and Monument. The trails aren’t long, but you can find some challenging glade skiing and black runs like Hunters Run and Straight Up on Giants Step Mountain. There are some fun green runs off the Navajo Chair to enjoy as well.

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It was another day to remember, and lunch was just as good in the Giants Step Cafe with a wonderful South Western salad and onion rings.

The next day, I was treated to something very special with scenery I’ve never seen before. We went snowmobiling in the very snowy back-country of Dixie National Forest thanks to Thunder Mountain Motorsports right across from my hotel. For a day off skiing, I highly recommend this.

As I left Eagle Point and Brian Head, I thought these are two magnificent family resorts. Both are laid back with their own terrain and vibe that makes this area extra special. There are no busy crowds or high prices but you will find some of the best scenery with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet anywhere in the world.

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Recommended from Editorial

My final stop of the trip was without skis, rather an eBike. I drove through stunning Zion National Park to my next accommodation in Springdale. The Cliffrose Hotel and Spa. It’s beautiful property with a peaceful river overlooking the mountains.

Zion National Park is famous for several reasons, including stunning cliffs, enormous snow-capped mountains and the true gem, electric red rock mountains. I rented from Ebikes Zion, then ventured on a 10-mile pedal along marked trails, roads and through the canyon while passing massive red rock formations. I scenery was absolutely stunning.

My wonderful Utah trip was over with great memories of huge powder, incredible scenery and a Western charm only found in Utah. I could use all sorts of adjectives to describe the incredible scenery and mountain ranges but they wouldn’t due it justice. It’s that spectacular. Not only will I be back someday but I highly recommend you do the same for memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Glenn Crouter is also 640 Toronto ski/lifestylel reporter and Ambassador for the Canadian Ski Council.

Eagle Point
Eagle Point has a tunnel visitors can ski through and be watched on Tunnel Vision with a fun local tradition to yell loud as you can.

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