With the Vail Resorts acquisition of Mt. Brighton last season, we knew the southeast Michigan ski hill was eventually going to be transformed. Beginning this summer, Mt. Brighton went under the knife for possibly the largest upgrade to a ski area in the midwest. Spending some time this fall with GM, Taylor Ogilvie we had an opportunity to get a better understanding of the magnitude of this project.

“You can expect a western resort experience in the midwest, on a weekend and throughout the week nights.”

It’s all about redefining the guest experience at Mt. Brighton. We all know that many aspects of Mt. Brighton were getting neglected, or how do we put it… well worn. Here’s some insights from our talks with Taylor about what that means for those familiar and not familiar with Mt. Brighton

Lifts & Surface Tows

The team has brought in a brand new Doppelmayr quad, plus a retrofitted quad from Vail. For those who remember, you will notice Chair 5 is reoriented to make for a better on hill experience. A bonus this year is that Mt. Brighton is committed to running all their chairs! Taylor assured us that when they flip the switch, they’re flipping the switch. “People can feel comfortable on great chairlifts now at Mt. Brighton” states Ogilvie.

Snowmaking Improvements

Snowmaking and managing snow is one of the single most important pieces in the midwest and Mt. Brighton completely revamped the entire system. All new pipes, pumps and guns (sourced in Michigan) – making snowmaking the biggest investment. The all new water delivery system, combined with fan guns means a super efficient, quieter system, even on the backside where no snow was made previously!

Enhanced Beginner Terrain

The team has regraded all the beginner terrain, removed all the rop tows and replaced them with magic carpets – making it easier for beginners and novices to get into the sport.

Children’s Ski & Ride Center

Most lessons at Mt. Brighton didn’t go below age 6. Not any more. 3 to 6 year old lessons are being introduced this year, along with food service for full-day lessons. Taylor said their goal is to deliver kids a real opportunity to learn skiing and snowboarding in an “all-in” experience.

Terrain Park Innovations

Like many midwestern ski areas, terrain park enhancements are one way to make up for our lack of vertical feet. Mt. Brighton has teamed up with Snow Park Technologies to creat a well designed and maintained park this year. Over 40 new features are coming in with the focus on true progression following NSA standards. What this means is no matter a rider’s level, there will be terrain for them to hone their skills on. Think “small,” “medium,” and “large” Taylor says. The goal is to make sure skiers and riders know what they’re getting into, which allows them to progress and push the envelope. Double rope tows have been added to increase the amount of time riders can session the park and not spend their time in the lift line.

Mt. Brighton Ski Area

Race Arena

Many will recall that when the golf course was put in years ago, the race arena shrunk significantly at Mt. Brighton. That’s all changing – besides, golfers, did you want that huge water hazard of a pond there anyways? Mt. Brighton has always had a great race program and will continue to have one moving forward. Mt. Brighton did not want to build jumps all over their hills and alienate the race focus it has built over the years. This is a dual focus initative with improvements made to snowmaking capacities on Challenge to keep the race hill in great condition all season. With one USSA race already on the books, the training capabilities and coaching staff will be top notch.

Restaurant & Apres

No doubt the dining facilities had been run down at Mt. Brighton. It probably wasn’t a great place to eat, let alone delivered a good guest experience. The Bowery is now going to be a year-round table service restaurant, making it a viable option for anyone wanting to dine in the Brighton area. Free WiFi will be offered in the cafeteria, which is also getting revamped and updated. Allowing parents waiting for kids to hang out and enjoy themselves in comfort.

Photos Courtesy of the team at SkiBox.me