Red Rock, Rock ’n’ Roll and Ribs
Life is funny sometimes. I mean, who would think that a rugged-but-approachable ski mountain resort in Southern Utah would be one of the best places in the country for great Kansas City–style BBQ? And that the guy cooking it would own the whole joint and, then, on top of all that, not even really be much of a skier?
Certainly not John Grissinger, the retired Kansas City industrialist who bought Brian Head Resort sight unseen(!) in 2010. Back then, he didn’t know that owning a ski resort would turn into the most fun he’d ever had in his life.
Life is funny sometimes. I mean, who would think “It basically sounded like a good opportunity,” Grissinger chuckles. “I’m not even a good skier. I’m a terrible skier, actually.”
“It’s just a great way for me to get to know people and share something I love,” Grissinger says.
Ticket sales are up and the joint is jumping with locals from St. George and Cedar City, Utah and a whole bunch of Southern Californians and Nevadans who make the drive to play in the snow and stay for the fun. (The drive from Los Angeles is easier than the traffic-stymied drive to Mammoth Mountain, FYI.)
"Because Brian Head feels like such a small place, a weekend getaway there makes you feel like a local, even like maybe you’d want to be one. That’s by design."
And, because Brian Head feels like such a small place (the mountain resort around the town is actually upwards of 650 acres with 71 runs and 1,300 feet of vertical), a weekend getaway there makes you feel like a local, even like maybe you’d want to be one. That’s by design.
“Business is 99 percent about taking care of people,” Grissinger says. “It’s trying to spoil your guests and taking care of your employees and treating them with respect and dignity. It makes a place special. We’ve got California people coming up here and falling in love with the place and buying a condo. They weren’t planning to move here.”
“I know exactly how they feel,” he says with a grin. “Because the same thing happened to me.”
A Quick and Dirty Guide to Brian Head Area Mountain Biking
Whether you’re visiting the area for Brian Head’s seemingly endless bike options or making it part of a multi-stop Southern Utah adventure (Cedar Breaks National Monument is just five miles away), it’s a must-see for bikers of all abilities. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
The comfortable mountain climate at 9,800 feet above sea level makes Brian Head the perfect destination for an active summer get away (full of annual events and festivals) or a winter ski vacation.
Bryce Canyon National Park
An alpine forest with as many red rock hoodoos as trees. At dawn and dusk, mule deer graze the forested plateau along the road into Bryce Canyon.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Hidden within the mountains above Cedar City is the brilliant geology and vibrant environment of Cedar Breaks National Monument. The geologic amphitheater and surrounding environs are home to cool hiking trails, ancient trees, high elevation camping, and over-the-top views along the “Circle of Painted Cliffs.”
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