Best Colleges for Skiing and Snowboarding

Find out which schools have the right combination of good academics and good skiing.

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For students who grew up loving to shred on the slopes, it can be difficult to give up skiing or snowboarding when you go to college.

While cross-country skiers have the luxury of being able to ski wherever there is snow and a decent stretch of land, a real ski college will be able to offer spots for every type of skiing and snowboarding level.

Whether you’re an old pro or looking to pick up a new hobby in college, studying close to mountains offers a great chance to participate in college skiing or snowboarding teams, take a few lessons, or even just sit in the chalet with some hot cocoa.

But what are the best ski and snowboard colleges?

What Is a Ski College?

A ski college is a college with great mountains accessible to skiers and snowboarders. Typically, this means that the mountains have some sort of lodge or ski resort close by, and you’re going to want natural snowfall—although many ski resorts make their own in season.

While cross-country skiers have the luxury of being able to ski wherever there is snow and a decent stretch of land, a real ski college will be able to offer spots for every type of skiing and snowboarding level.

Keep in mind that a good ski college is just that: a college! Good academic programs coupled with good slopes are a must for any prospective student.

University of Colorado - Boulder

Boulder is an excellent introduction to some of the best skiing in Colorado, as well as the United States. Eldora Resort is about 30 minutes away and the famous Summit County slopes are less than two hours out of the city. The University of Colorado at Boulder is also a great place for academics in both undergraduate and graduate study. In fact, four of their graduate programs landed in US News and World Report’s top ten specialty programs in America, including quantum physics and environmental law. And, their ski team is a perennial contender and won their 17th NCAA national title in 2011.

Colorado College

Some of the top majors at the liberal arts-based Colorado College are biology, economics and history. It also boasts a student to teacher ratio of only 10:1 and more than 60% of classes have less than 20 students. While the college has no official ski team, (snowboarding isn’t even recognized by the NCAA) its proximity to many ski and snowboard resorts is a great draw. A college-run bus system takes students to Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Breckenridge (the resort most traveled to in Colorado, every weekend in season).

Middlebury College

Middlebury College is one of the only two schools in the US to own its own mountain. In fact, students that graduate mid-year at Middlebury are honored with an annual “ski-down” procession dressed in full cap and gown.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College is the other school that owns its own mountain – the Dartmouth Skiway. The Dartmouth Ski Patrol plays an active role in keeping winter sports near Dartmouth College safe. The Dartmouth College ski team place third in the NCAAs in 2011. Dartmouth, as a member of the Ivy League, boasts a strong record in undergraduate academics – as well as renowned graduate programs in business and the arts and sciences.

UC - Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley is also a great choice for students interested in California schools – and California skiing. The many ski resorts of the Lake Tahoe area are only a few hours away by car. And, despite tuition hikes at UC campuses, the campus is still renowned for its academics. US News and World Report ranks UC - Berkeley as the top public university in the nation.

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