Editor’s note: updated 7/4/20
When choosing a college, there are many factors to look into. Depending on your goals, these will include prestige, price, academic strengths, academic rigor, location, sports, and the overall vibe of the campus. If you’re a ski racer, you’ll probably have further criteria that deals with ski racing.
When I was choosing a college, skiing was important but not the sole factor (because, frankly, I’m not that awesome). But for someone like my sister, choosing a college that is good for a ski racer is crucial. So we’ve put together a list of the best colleges for ski racers. It takes all factors to consider when choosing a college into account. Factors include proximity to great mountains, solid academics (gotta have it all), and serious ski racing teams/programs. In addition to colleges that have National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams, there is a whole host of colleges that compete at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) level, which is not affiliated with NCAA. This is not simply a list of the best NCAA ski racing teams. This list includes both NCAA and USCSA colleges. So put on your Speed Suit, and prepare to head to one of America’s best colleges for ski racers:
10. University of Massachusetts Amherst
UMass Amherst has historically sponsored one of the most popular ski racing programs in the country. Competing in the United States Collegiate Ski Association, the team balanced competitive ski racing with the rigorous academics offered by the University.
9. St. Olaf College
For a school in the Midwest, St. Olaf College is a great place for ski racers. Located in Northfield, MN, this private liberal arts school excels in academics as well as thrives in producing top results in Division I NCAA ski racing.
8. Cornell University
Not only is this Ivy League school treasured for its academics, but the Cornell Ski Team has produced some of the top athletes in the MidEast USCSA conference over the years. Located in Ithaca, NY, Greek Peak Mountain Resort will be a suitable weekend getaway from the stress of your rigorous classes.
7. Sierra Nevada College
With a degree offering in Ski Business and Resort Management, Sierra Nevada College takes skiing and the ski business seriously. Located in Incline Village, Nevada with close proximity to Diamond Mountain, the school is a dream for anyone with a passion for ski racing. Their NCAA team is top-notch as well.
6. Reed College
A small private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon, Reed College is the perfect place for a racer who wants a good education while cruising fresh powder on the weekends. You won’t have the same competitive racing environment as other schools on this list, but you will get a great education while indulging in your skiing hobby.
5. University of Utah
Utah is a ski racers dream. Tons of amazing mountains with the top snow conditions in the country, all awaiting you on the weekends (or when you’re skipping your Friday classes). The U also has solid academics, ranking as one of the top schools for technology and computer science.
4. Middlebury College
Middlebury College, located in Middlebury, Vermont, is a selective liberal arts school with an inclusive skiing community. The Snow Bowl, one of Vermont’s first ski resorts, is owned by the college and features exceptional quality of skiing for any level skier. This high-quality ski mountain, that is on the bus route from school, is also affordable to students, allowing you to branch out from the typical ramen noodle diet occasionally.
3. Colby College
Not only does the college have very successful men’s and women’s nordic and alpine ski teams (Division I of the NCAA Eastern Intercollegiate Skiing Association), but they’re right next door to the illustrious Sugarloaf Ski Resort. With great academics to boot, it’s hard to beat this one.
2. University of Vermont
It’s no secret that Vermont has some of America’s greatest ski resorts. In close proximity to many Vermont ski resorts including Stowe and Sugarbush, the University of Vermont is certainly one of the best colleges you could land as a student with a passion for ski racing. The Catamount’s NCAA team has produced a remarkable amount of stars, and their academics are top-notch.
Located in beautiful Hanover, New Hampshire, this Ivy League treasure is famous for its academics as well as its skier-friendliness. A top-notch NCAA ski racing program in combination with a world-renowned education and proximity to Dartmouth Skiway, a great and affordable ski hill. If you want the best of both worlds as a ski racer and a scholar, Dartmouth is the place to be.