by Tony Gill // photos by Kjell Ellefson
Everybody knows what college is really all about: meeting the coeds, partying and, perhaps most importantly, getting a serious shreducation. The fine academic institutions listed here will ensure you get out on the slopes as much as possible. Just be sure you make it to class enough so that you actually finish school someday.
3) Montana State University
Bozeman is home to Montana State University. The campus is located less than a half an hour from Bridger Bowl ski area, and it is only an hour and fifteen minutes from legendary Big Sky. Both resorts offer great terrain and access to some serious Montana backcountry. For those that want to mix work with play, there are even classes at MSU in ski research — seriously, no joke — that require early morning wake-up calls to “study” when it is a powder day. People in Bozeman live and breathe skiing, and the attitude on campus is infectious. Any school that offers an education in powder day research is all right in our book.
2) University of Utah
The University of Utah is nestled right in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City. As a result, there are nine ski resorts all under an hour and a half from campus. You may have heard that the snow they get isn’t bad either — it’s on the license plates. There is also the expansive Wasatch backcountry to explore. Much of it is well under an hour from campus, which allows quick strikes before and after classes. It’s not hard to find partners to go shred with; just drop by the Utah Freeskier Society booth at a campus event to meet the kind of people you are looking for. Park City Mountain Resort and Brighton both offer night skiing in case you get tied up during the day, and Salt Lake City has several backcountry skiing and telemark shops to help you get outfitted for the season.
1) University of Vermont
When it comes to colleges where skiing is part of the identity, the University of Vermont is the unmatched king. To start with, Vermont has a skiing-rich history; the first ski tow in the USA was installed in The Green Mountain State in 1934. UVM is located right in Burlington, a great college town with a good variety of breweries, restaurants and bars to choose from. There are four ski areas that are under and hour and a half from UVM’s campus that each offers something for any telemark skier’s preference. Jay Peak boasts impressive sidecountry glading and over 250 inches of snowfall annually, and nearby Sugarbush has five terrain parks on the mountain if you want to get your jib on. Smuggler’s Notch has the East’s 2nd highest snowfall average, and Bolton Valley has night skiing in case you were forced to endure a powder day sitting in class. Burlington also has a solid array of urban features to session throughout the season thanks to the frigid East Coast winters that ensure the town holds snow.
*This article originally appeared in TS#19