While recent college graduates have been known to take a “ski-bum year” before entering the real world, the right college choice in the beginning could satisfy the skiing bug enough to feel OK about jumping into a career right out of school. Then again, it might turn skiing into a career path.
Schools close to excellent skiing range from large, state public universities to small, private liberal-arts colleges.
Some of the institutions below even offer courses of study tailored to work in the ski industry.
Dartmouth College- Hanover, New Hampshire
An Ivy League reputation and its own ski area make Dartmouth a choice for smart skiers. Considering the high admissions standards, make that really smart skiers. A shuttle bus runs between the campus and Dartmouth Skiway, a small ski area with a 968-foot vertical rise. Much larger Killington Resort is just an hour drive across the border in Vermont.
Middlebury College- Middlebury, Vermont
Along with Dartmouth, Middlebury College is the other school in the Northeast with its own ski area. The prestigious liberal-arts school owns Middlebury College Snow Bowl, an area with 110 acres of skiable terrain. A pair of classic Vermont resorts, Sugarbush and Mad River Glen, are also about an hour away by car.
University of Vermont- Burlington, Vermont
Considered one of the nation’s top state universities, the University of Vermont is located within close proximity of a host of Vermont ski resorts: Smugglers’ Notch, Stowe, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush.
Williams College- Williamstown, Massachusetts
Williams College, the second oldest college in Massachusetts, has about 2,000 undergraduate students. A historic rivalry with Amherst College and Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort about 20 minutes away keep those students entertained.
Fort Lewis College- Durango, Colorado
Fort Lewis College actually offers a multi-disciplinary minor called Mountain Studies. Students can “study” the mountains on skis at nearby Purgatory.
Montana State University- Bozeman, Montana
With an enrollment of about 15,000, Montana State draws one-third of its students from out-of-state. Bridger Bowl, 16 miles from campus, and Big Sky Resort, 45 miles away, could be a couple of reasons for the attraction.
University of Colorado- Boulder, Colorado
Located in the quintessential funky college town, the University of Colorado seems to be slipping in the national party-school rankings, much to the delight of administrators. Perhaps the students are spending less time at keg parties and more time skiing at nearby Eldora Mountain Resort.
University of Nevada, Reno- Reno, Nevada
A fantastic home base for the world-class ski resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, the University of Nevada, Reno is located a few blocks north of downtown Reno. The comprehensive state university of about 20,000 students dates back to 1874.
University of Utah- Salt Lake City, Utah
The University of Utah traditionally fields strong collegiate ski racing teams. The renowned resorts surrounding Salt Lake City give the racers and recreational skiing students plenty of places to practice. The school’s 32,000 students—including 25,000 undergrads– make it the state’s largest university. As Utah’s flagship public university, 70 percent of the student body comes from in-state.
Weber State University- Ogden, Utah
While Weber State’s administration does not have to worry about showing up on any party-school rankings, the 24,000 students do have nearby Snowbasin Resort and Powder Mountain as worthy distractions from studying. Even more than the University of Utah, public Weber State draws from in-state with only 10 percent of the students arriving from outside Utah.
Western State College of Colorado- Gunnison, Colorado
For students looking for a career in the ski industry, the Outdoor Leadership and Resort Management major at Western could be just the ticket. The program can even include an emphasis on Ski and Resort Management. Nearby Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Monarch Mountain offer real-world opportunities.
Westminster College- Salt Lake City, Utah
Westminster College offers a “study-abroad alternative” that is not shy about promoting the area’s ski resorts for students willing to visit for a semester. The brochure boasts that “you’ll even make the ski bums jealous.” In addition to the visiting students, about 2,000 undergrads attend the private, liberal-arts school. Complete with a hangar at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Westminster’s aviation program goes beyond the typical liberal-arts fare.