First Turns: Brighton, UT

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Beta: Brighton gets some of its biggest dumps early in the season due to a weather pattern that it shares with its southerly neighbors, Alta and Snowbird. Know that the precipitation comes from cold air moving across the warm waters of the Great Salt Lake...or just accept that opening day can be powderful. Brighton is always a snowboard-friendly place with a young vibe, but it's even younger in the fall when the area's natural hits and park-like features are swarmed by jib-crazy teenagers.

Opening Dates: Last year's opening date, November 13, is typical. The goal is to have the entire mountain open by mid November.

Early-Season Snow: Brighton guns can cover 200 acres, but they rarely need to. By mid November, the resort averages 70 to 100 inches of natural snow.

Terrain: On day one, expect to ski the mostly intermediate groomers off the Majestic lift and a few steeper runs and tree shots off the Crest lift. Within two to five days, the steeps off Snake Creek and the north-facing glades of Millicent are usually good to go.

Biggest Early Season: In early November 1998, 70 inches fell in one day-completely burying the snowmaking equipment.

Deals: Since the whole mountain is usually open by the first weekend of the season, lift tickets are always full price ($40 last year). Until Christmas, the Brighton Lodge offers four nights' lodging, lift tickets, and continental breakfast for $285 (per person, double occupancy; 801-532-4731, ext. 236).

Plan B: The Old Mill golf course is less than 30 minutes away and stays open into December as long as the greens stay green ($39 for 18 holes with a cart; 801-424-1302).

Nightlife: Molly Green's at the base of the Majestic chair is the only local option-low season or high. It's a rustic A-frame adorned with ski memorabilia and a moosehead.

Info:, 801-532-47314