A Week In Brian Head

While I could happily spend every vacation in a tropical climate, my family enjoys winter and all its various activities. So each year we plan a trip to the snow! One of our favorite locations is Brian Head, Utah. Lift tickets and accommodations are affordable, and it’s never too crowded. As with all family vacations, there is a lot that goes into making the magic happen.

The Prep

A week away from home doesn’t come as easy as it used to. With a family to plan for and life commitments to work around, It takes a lot of preparation to make these special trips happen. I’ve always loved lists. There is something so satisfying about checking them off. But what’s even better is knowing I didn’t forget anything when I’m a thousand miles away from home, in a place with few amenities. I usually begin my packing process 7 days before I leave and knock out a little bit each day. I start with creating packing lists for each child, myself, food, and activities. Separating the list helps me stay organized and feels less daunting to me. When my kids are a little older, they will become responsible for packing their own clothes and activities. Until then, it’s a feat! Each night leading up to the trip, I grab a list and knock it out. By the end of the week, I am ready to go with time to spare! I do this method whether I’m flying or driving. 

This specific trip we were heading for the snow in Brian Head, Utah. It’s roughly an 8 hour drive from our home in San Diego. Brian head is a quiet little mountain town with few amenities. It’s essential to be prepared before you get up the mountain. While there is a little general store and a place to buy gear, there aren’t many dining or shopping options. It’s a quaint little town with cheerful people and some of the best powder around. I almost hate to share about it because I selfishly want to keep it to myself 🙂  

Travel Day

Depending on how early we leave, we will pack the car the night before or right before we leave. This particular trip we left our house at 7am. Our goal was to be up the mountain before the sunset. This trip was a wild one! We happened upon a very rare southern California snowstorm and experienced whiteout conditions up the Cajon Pass. I’ve done this drive countless times in my life, never have I ever seen snow in some of those low lying locations. It was surreal! 

One thing I love about the drive up the 15 is there are decent stopping points every few hours. This particular trip we grabbed some Starbucks in a snow covered Victorville, gassed up in Primm. We could have grabbed lunch in Primm but we really wanted In N Out so an hour later we stopped in Vegas. We usually stop in St George to visit my grandparents but it didn’t work out this trip. Instead, we made one final stop in Cedar City. If you are heading to Brian Head up the 15, a stop at the Super Walmart in Cedar is a must. This is where we grab all of our meal essentials for the week. Make sure you keep your meal plan handy, mine was buried in luggage and I had to wing it. Also, buy extra, non perishable food. With winter weather you never know if you will end up stuck for a few extra days. Make sure you have enough food and medications to last. We gassed up the car and made our way to Parowan, the little gateway town to Brian Head. We were fortunate to arrive on a day where the roads were clear and chains were not required. We did bring some with us just in case. 

Most of the accommodations in Brian Head are condos or cabins. There are a few hotels if that’s more your style. We always get something with a fully functioning kitchen. Like I said, small town, not a lot of meal options. We made it up to our Condo with plenty of light. We unpacked and settled in for the night. Enjoying the beautiful fresh powder that surrounded us.

We received fresh powder every night! I have to give a huge shoutout to the road clearing crews, they make sure every road and driveway is passable. We were so lucky this trip, the weather wasn’t too cold and we received over 3 feet of snow but it mostly came at night!

Things To Do

Ski/ Snowboard– During the weekdays, the slopes open at 10am and close at 4pm. Weekends, the resort offers night skiing. There are 2 ski lodges in Brian Head. Navajo, which is good for beginners/ intermediates and Giant Steps which caters to more experienced riders. There is a lift that connects the two mountains so you can switch it up during the day if you want. Lift tickets are more affordable here than many other resorts around and the staff are so friendly. 

Tubing- a family favorite activity. You can choose from 2 tubing runs. One at Giant Steps and one at Navajo. We’ve done both and they are very comparable. Navajo isn’t running every day so make sure to confirm before you plan your stay. I love tubing because it’s an easy ride to the top and an exhilarating slide to the bottom. My kids have done it as young as 4 and had a blast. They have a few slower lanes if that’s more your speed.

Sledding– If you’re looking for a more casual slide in the snow, there are plenty of great little sledding spots. Last year we took a pile of snow next to a hotel and carved our own sled paths. If you want an actual hill, just take a little walk or short drive around. You are bound to find something pretty quickly. Our friends stayed at Copper Chase and we found a great spot on the backside of the lobby. Didn’t matter that we were in single digits and snow was falling, the kids still had a blast. 

Snowmobiling– We didn’t get to do it this trip, but Brian Head has some awesome snowmobiling. Thunder Mountain Motorsports offers  90 minute, 3 hour, or full day excursions. If you bring your own snowmobile, you can tag along their guided tours or go on your own adventure.  

I have a confession, I hate being cold. Brian Head is mainly an outdoor lover’s paradise but there are a few things for people like me.

Spa Day– Noorish Spa at Best Western Brian Head- Since I wasn’t going to spend much time on the slopes, I set aside that money to treat myself to a day at the spa. I went all out, body scrub, massage, and facial provided by Chelsea. Her energy was so calming and the experience was rejuvenating. Noorish has all the amenities you would hope for in a spa including a steam room, sauna, and hot tub. I will definitely visit here again on our next trip to Brian Head.

Lodge Day– Most days while my hubby and kids hit the slopes, you could find me sipping hot cocoa and reading a book in the Navajo Lodge. Able to enjoy a perfect view of the bunny slopes, watching my kids get better with each run all while my feet stay toasty warm. The lodge has a few lunch options so we never have to leave for the day if we don’t want to. 

With every vacation, we are sad to say goodbye. Brian Head has treated us so well again and we look forward to making our way back here soon. Maybe a summer trip is in order to take advantage of the hiking, biking, and ATV’s!



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