Top 10 Universities for Skiing & Snowboarding

Posted By: The Ski Channel on June 22, 2013 2:32 am

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While this was a tough decision with a lot of quality candidates, these universities emerged as the elite worthy of cracking our Top 10 universities for skiers and riders. Their students have a passion for powder and a competitive drive that makes their college experience a snow-filled one.

The Ski Channel presents the Top 10 Universities for Skiing & Snowboarding!


#10 University of California at Berkeley

UC Berkeley Marching band

Cal band enters New Student Convocation on Memorial Glade. | Photo: Steve McConnell/UC Berkeley

Squaw Valley Mountain View

Cal students have the opportunity to enjoy the many mountains of the Lake Tahoe region (Photo: Squaw Valley). | Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Rennett Stowe

Cal makes way for its 36,000+ student population to achieve highly regarded degrees in around 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. As a PAC-12 Conference member, Cal has built a reputation for academic excellence as well as athletic excellence achieving 84 national team titles in 15 different sports and 257 individual national championships.

While UC Berkeley is ranked as one of the top public universities in the world for academics, students are also close to some great skiing in the Nor Cal region of Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is home to some prime spots for shredding such as: Squaw Valley, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Alpine Meadows, and Sierra at Tahoe all around 3 hours from campus. One of Cal’s 700 established student groups on campus is the Ski & Snowboard team that admits 50 members, who compete in USCSA men’s and women’s alpine racing, ski and snowboard freestyle, and Skier-X and Boarder-X.


#9 University of Southern California

USC Campus

USC offers the best of both worlds between the warmth of Southern California and the fresh powder just a few hours away. | Photo: Phillip Channing

Mammoth Grenade Games

Mammoth Mountain is home to many exciting events through the season, including the Grenade Games.| Photo: The Ski Channel/ Shannon Quirk

The Trojans reside in Los Angeles, CA where they make home to over 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The PAC-12 competitor holds a reputation for excelling in athletics as they are currently ranked third in the nation with 96 NCAA team championships and second in the nation with 361 NCAA individual championships.

At first glance you may not think any school in Southern California is anywhere close to some quality powder, but look a little closer and you’ll have a change of heart. While USC is known for its proximity to some of the best surfing in the country, it is also just a 90 min (credit lemylo). drive from Mt. High and 2 hours away from Big Bear. If you’re truly dedicated to the quest for fresh powder, then it’s worth it to make the 5-hour trek up to Mammoth Mountain where you are sure to find the USC Ski & Snowboard Club shredding some of the best conditions of the winter season every weekend. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of their videos and you’ll see why they were worthy of cracking the top 10 list.


#8 Boise State University

Boise State Winter

Boise State “Spirit of the Broncos” statue during a winter snowfall. | Photo: Boise State University Photo Services

Sun Valley Mountain

The beautiful backdrop of Sun Valley. | Photo: Sun Valley Resort

Boise State University’s 170-acre campus is located right in downtown Boise where it caters to around 20,000 students throughout the school year. Students partake in over 200 clubs and organizations on campus where they have the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant community.

The Boise State Ski & Snowboard Club is currently increasing in both popularity and size. The club doubled this past year growing from 30 members to 65 members exemplifying an amplified interest in hitting up the slopes. Don’t stress if you’re just starting out as the club serves to encompass both beginners and experienced riders as they all unite on a quest for fresh powder. The club is stoked to venture around the Idaho ski scene with trips to Brundage and Sun Valley in the mix with these mountains all located just a few hours from campus.


#7 Oregon State University

OSU Benny Snowshoeing

Oregon State mascot, Benny, snowshoeing up the mountain. | Photo: OSU Cascades

Mt. Bachelor Aerial

Aerial view of Mount Bachelor, Orgeon. | Photo: Ric Ergenbright

Oregon State University enjoys a quiet location in the small town of Corvallis, OR where they welcome over 26,000 students to their campus. The campus is situated just under 3 hours away from Mt. Bachelor and Timberline Lodge mountains so students can enjoy all that the winter season has to offer. Oregon State is pleased to announce that they rank first amongst all the PAC-12 Conference schools in their sustainability efforts.

OSU-Cascades were proud to send two athletes to the USCSA national championships in Sun Valley, Idaho in the club’s founding year this past winter. In partnering with the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, OSU is able to offer students the opportunity to compete in both Alpine and Nordic skiing competitions. Don’t stress if you’ve never raced before as experience is not a requirement to enjoy the race course during the winter season.

Check out the compelling story of a couple members of the ski team in their video.


#6 University of Washington

University of Washington Sledding

University of Washington students enjoy sledding down the steps on the fresh snow on campus. | Photo: University of Washington/Uphoto

Timberline Lodge Ski Powder

UW students enjoy fresh powder within a few hours of campus. | Photo: Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon

The University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the west coast located right in the heart of the capital city, Seattle. The Washington Huskies are regarded as highly competitive in athletics as they offer 21 varsity teams competing in the PAC-12 Conference for their 42,000+ student body to partake in and enjoy.

The Huskies definitely have a love for snow that’s united on campus in a number of thriving communities dedicated to the quest for fresh powder. The Husky Snowboard Team is dedicated to connecting riders of all levels and enjoy shredding the mountains of Whistler, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Baker just to name a few. The Husky Ski Team offers a great way to hit the slopes at least four days a week as they practice at the Summit at Snoqualmie during the week and make the trek to compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom races on the weekends against other schools in the USCSA. If that’s not enough for you, then you can share your knowledge of the slopes with the youngsters starting out in the Husky Winter Sports ski and snowboard school where students provide lessons for free!


#5 Montana State University

Montana State Bobcat Skiing

Montana State mascot, Champ, enjoys the fresh mountain powder. | Photo: Kelly Gorham

Moonlight Basin Aerial

Students can enjoy the spectacular views of Moonlight Basin. | Photo: Moonlight Basin

Montana State University is located in the town of Bozeman where they make home to over 14,000 students. MSU offers 15 varsity sports, including skiing where the Alpine and Nordic Ski team compete in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Skiing Association and the NCAA Western Region and have produced 13 national championships.

Montana State University is highly regarded as a ski-centered university with their admissions department deeming their school location the “Dream Town” for skiers and riders. Since the MSU campus is smackdab in the middle of Bridger Bowl and Moonlight Basin, 25 min. and 45 min. away from the university respectively, students have the luxury of enjoying the slopes daily. It probably helps that there exists the unspoken rule at the university that it’s acceptable to miss class when there’s over 10 inches of fresh snow. Seems like a snow junkies dream school to me!


#4 Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College Human Dogsled Race

Students enjoy the Human Dogsled Race held on the Dartmouth Green. | Photo: Dartmouth College/ Jeff Woodward

Dartmouth Skiway

Dartmouth College is one of two colleges to own their own ski area. | Photo: Dartmouth Skiway

Dartmouth College is among the elite universities in the Ivy League with just over 6,000 students in attendance. Students are involved in over 350 organizations, teams, and sports on campus with athletics and the Greek system ranking amongst the most popular within the student body.

Can you imagine skiing right in your backyard? Well if you’re studying at Dartmouth College that dream just became a reality, as they are one of ONLY two schools to own their own 100-acre ski area located just 20 min. from the main campus. No wonder why they have won three NCAA ski titles and hold the record for churning out the most Olympic skiers out of all the Ivy’s. In addition to their personal ski area, Dartmouth students can enjoy the nearby slopes of Killington, Okemo, and Attitash mountains all under 2 hours away from the main campus. Not only do you get an Ivy League education, but you also have access to your own skiable snow… seems like a no brainer to make the choice to go Big Green.


#3 University of Vermont

UVM Rally Ski

University of Vermont‘s mascot, Rally, takes to the race course. | Photo: UVM Athletics

Stowe Mountain Powder

The UVM ski team uses Stowe Mountain as their home facility. | Photo: Jeff Wise/Stowe Mountain Resort


Located in the heart of Burlington, the University of Vermont is home to just over 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students involved in over 100 student clubs and organizations. In particular, the UVM Ski team has been a dominant force in competition as they have won 6 NCAA Championships with their most recent championship coming from their 2012 season.

The UVM Ski & Snowboard Club is quite popular as the vibe on campus is pretty centered around tearing up the slopes on the weekend. You can even rent skis and snowshoes on campus if you’re worried about going over your dorm room storage capacity with all your riding equipment. With some prime ski resorts including Stowe, Sugarbush, Smugglers Notch, Killington, and Jay Peak located just 1-2 hours from campus, there are plenty of opportunities for UVM students to grab their gear and hit the slopes.


#2 University of Utah

U of U Swoop cliff jump

The Utes mascot, Swoop, takes on the cliff jumps of Snowbird. | Photo: University of Utah/Lawrence Boye

Park City Ski Powder

University of Utah students can enjoy lots of fresh powder that comes each winter. | Photo: Park City Mountain Resort

The University of Utah is situated just minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, which puts the school in close proximity to some of the best mountains in the country. As one of the more recent Pac-12 Conference additions, the school has clearly proven its prestige as one of the top 100 universities in the world, serving 30,000 students in 100 undergraduate and 90 graduate majors. The Utes ski team has won 11 NCAA Championships, finishing in second place this year for the third straight year.

The U Ski and Snowboard Club brings together over 1000 boarders, skiers, telemarkers, and sliding snow sport enthusiasts under the name One Love. Their mission is to unite the feuding sides of skiing and boarding into one community that celebrates their pure passion for riding to form ONE LOVE. They enjoy the nearby fresh powder found at Snowbasin and Park City in particular.


#1 University of Colorado at Boulder

Boulder mascot snowboarding Eldora

Chip hits up the slopes of Eldora. | Photo: Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado

Vail Snowmobile Mtn View

CU Boulder is just under 2 hours away from the beautiful peaks of Vail. | Photo: The Ski Channel/Shannon Quirk

University of Colorado at Boulder has been known to showcase their supreme skiing abilities on the mountain as they have won 18 of their 24 NCAA championships in skiing alone. The Pac-12 Conference member has around 1,500 students of their almost 32,000-person student body participating in 34 intercollegiate club sports annually.

CU Boulder is so close to so many reputable and quality mountains that it makes sense they dominate the skiing scene. If you are a die hard skier/rider then you need to check out the Epic Pass, which for $689 gets you unlimited access to: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Canyons, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Arapahoe Basin, and Eldora. An added bonus is that you’ll also receive five FREE days of international shredding at Verbier, Switzerland and Arlberg, Austria. With Eldora just a 45 min drive away and mountains like Vail, Beaver Creek, and Breckenridge around 2 hours away, CU Boulder offers a great way for snow junkies to get their education and hit fresh powder at the same time.