Summer Military Appreciation Day at Brian Head Resort

United States Air Force Cadet Tate Montgomery | Photo Courtesy of Tate Montgomery and Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News
United States Air Force Cadet | Photo Courtesy of Joyce Kuzmanic, St. George News

BRIAN HEAD – On July 23  Brian Head Resort will host its first annual Military Appreciation Day, where all active, guard and reserve military members and their families, along with all retired military members (with id), will receive half price chairlift tickets and free hotdogs and hamburgers. These tickets, normally $24, will provide access to all of Brian Head’s summer on-mountain activities, including mountain biking, hiking, disc golf and the new self-guided “Brian Head Family Adventure,” earth-science and natural-history focused activities ranging from orienteering to learning about petroglyphs.

All of these activities will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (weather conditions permitting) and can be accessed via Brian Head’s Giant Steps chairlift (Lift 2). The U.S. Military has a strong and long association with mountain biking, from former Commander in Chief George Bush’s widely-known enthusiasm for mountain biking to the lesser-known “first” mountain

bikers, the Buffalo soldiers that in 1896 formed the U.S. Army’s experimental regiment of bicyclemounted soldiers. Among their goals was to replace horses in combat –and save on the associated food and water. It was also thought that the bikes would be quieter than horses, all the better for surprise attacks. More recently, Time magazine reported that when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, bikes worked very well at quietly carrying soldiers and required no fuel.

Back in 1897, the Army Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry used bikes to travel 1,900 miles in just 34 days, averaging about 56 miles per day on unpaved roads or simple mud between Missoula, MT to St. Louis. This was more than twice the pace of a typical cavalry or infantry unit. The bikes weighed over 70 pounds fully loaded and were single-speed. The group was disbanded shortly after this demonstration, likely due to advances in the internal combustion engine.

Today at Brian Head, military personnel and their families will enjoy some of America’s best mountain biking. Utah’s Deseret News reports that Brian Head “is perfect for mountain biking…a truly biker friendly environment…Brian Head Resort goes out of its way to cater to them.” VeloNews, The Journal of Competitive Cycling, reports “Brian Head features challenging and beautiful riding.” Tom Spiegel of the National Mountain Bike Series, including events at Brian Head, says “The riding is amazing.” Brian Head offers “the best and hardest black diamond trail networks in America,” concludes its summer Operations Director, Ken Jenson. “We have several trails that drop between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, and we offer two professional-quality, expert downhill race courses.”

Brian Head has a fleet of full-suspension, downhill rental bikes. Daily bike rental rates range from either a 13-inch frame with 20-inch wheels or a 22-inch frame with 26-inch wheels for $20 to $42 for a highPage 2 of 2 / Summer 2011 at Brian Head Resort Editorial contact: Jon Christoffersen-Brian Head Resort 435-272-2797 or [email protected] performance downhill bike. Prices of helmets and other equipment rentals are detailed at

The mountain bike park at Brian Head, with its combined chairlift and shuttle service, gives access to over 200 miles of exhilarating mountain bike trails offering perhaps America’s most diverse scenery. The trails range from easy to advanced and there is also a terrain park. At the top of the chairlift, mountain bikers have access to the Sydney Peaks Trail, the right and left forks of the Bunker Creek Trail, and the Dark Hollow Trail. Riders can chose trails based on their skill level, how much time they have and the type of scenery they want to take in, including views all the way to Arizona and Nevada, sweeping redrock vistas, mountain ranges, lava flows and wildflowers, as well as bald eagles, peregrines, and prairie falcons.

Brian Head’s mountain bike terrain park includes jumps, drops, walls, ladders, and other wooden elements. These areas require varied degrees of skill level, and allow riders to start small, ride smart and work their way up. This ever expanding and centralized terrain park network includes Ken’s Woods, Stef’s Steps and Malicious Woods. All are accessible from the lower parts of Color Country, Timberline, Lil’ Gritty and Wildflower. The freestyle, downhill, and terrain-park features are not recommended for novice riders. However, “B” lines are available around the more technical elements.

For those more interested in hiking, the chairlift-pass accesses the 2.75-mile Vista Hiking Trail, which starts at the top of the chairlift, ends at the Giant Steps Lodge and features the free Brian Head Family Adventure program, several self-guided activity stations, including digging for fossils, panning for gold, roping cattle, drawing petroglyphs, and hunting for arrowheads and geodes.

The chairlift-passes also access Brian Head’s 18-hole disc golf course. Due to some rough hiking conditions, the course it is not recommended for small children. The course, Utah’s longest, starts at 11,000 feet and covers a total distance of 10,000 feet. All holes are par three. Playing 18 holes takes from two to three hours, and can be shortened by hiking down and playing the bottom nine. Golf fees range from $2 for an all-course disc to $5 for three discs (midrange, distance driver and putter) and a carrying case. Scorecard and map are included.

“Everyone on the Brian Head team is very excited to honor members of the U.S. Military,” said Jenson.

“We want to show that we really appreciate the sacrifices they all make for us. And we know that coming from bases where summer temperatures commonly exceed 100, they will enjoy the cool mountain weather at Brian Head, with summer highs averaging 70 degrees.”

Off the mountain in the town of Brian Head, activities include dining, spa treatments and special events such as a monthly “Outdoor Movie Night.”

Additionally, adjacent to Brian Head is Cedar Breaks National Monument and nearby are Zion, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, as Brian Head is in the heart of the renowned Grand Circle of National Parks.

Brian Head Resort’s Mountain Bike Park and Activity Center are located at 329 South Highway 143, Brian Head, UT 84719 in southern Utah, only 3 hours northeast of Las Vegas. Thus Brian Head is perfect for combining a trip with Las Vegas nightlife, Utah golf and/or a national park/monument visit, including Zion, Bryce and Cedar Breaks. For more information, visit and


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