The 5 Best ‘Big’ U.S. Colleges to Attend for Skiing and Riding

Mark Kuligoski |
UVM Ski Club, Credit: UVM Ski Club Website

There are plenty of great colleges in the US, but ones located near ski resorts should jump to the top of the list for any skier or rider. Considering the location, distance, and number of ski resorts in the area, the top five are in no specific order. 

The University of Vermont – Burlington, Vermont

The University of Vermont. Credit: The University of Vermont Facebook

The University of Vermont is on Lake Champlain in picturesque Burlington, VT. UVM has just under 12,000 students and over 100 different majors. Not only does it have a vast selection of degrees, but it also has plenty of mountains to choose from! Within an hour’s drive, you can visit five different ski areas.

  • Smugglers Notch Resort 
  • Stowe Mountain Resort
  • Bolton Valley Resort
  • Mad River Glen (Skiers Only)
  • Sugarbush Resort

The University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah. Credit: The University of Utah Facebook

The University of Utah is located in the booming city of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake is going through a renaissance now, and it’s the hot place (pun intended) to be. With over 100 different majors to choose from and 34,000 students, you’re bound to meet your new best skiing and riding buddy. Salt Lake City is the ideal location. At the base of the Wasatch Range, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyon are easily accessible and are home to some of the best mountains with “The Greatest Snow On Earth.” Within an hour’s drive, eight ski resorts are at your fingertips. 

  • Brighton Resort
  • Solitude Mountain Resort
  • Snowbasin Resort
  • Snowbird 
  • Alta Ski Area (Skiers Only)
  • Deer Valley Resort
  • Park City Ski Resort
  • Sundance Ski Resort

Related: Ski Bumming 101: How to Ski 100+ Days a Year as a College Student in Salt Lake City, UT

Montana State University – Bozeman, Montana

Montana State University. Credit: Montana State University Facebook

Montana State University has a student population of 16,703 students and over 250 majors, minors, and certificate programs. While it doesn’t boast the same accessible ski resorts as the previous two colleges, it has some high-quality options, including skiing the most vertical drop in Montana at Big Sky Resort. Bridger Bowl Ski Area is located 30 minutes north, both great options to “Ski The Cold Smoke.”

  • Big Sky Resort
  • Bridger Bowl Ski Area
  • Showdown Montana
  • Red Lodge Mountain

University of Nevada, Reno – Reno, Nevada

University of Nevada, Reno. Credit: University of Nevada, Reno Facebook

University of Nevada, Reno, has a student population of 20,194 people with over 145 undergraduate degrees to apply to. This major city is ideally located to take full advantage of the Lake Tahoe ski areas. Within an hour’s drive, you can access six different resorts, and just over an hour, you can access the mountain with the most vertical drop in California, Heavenly Mountain Resort.

  • Mt. Rose
  • Diamond Peak Ski Resort
  • North Star California Resort
  • Palisades Tahoe
  • Borreal Mountain California
  • Heavenly Mountain Resort

University of Montana – Missoula, Montana

The University of Montana. Credit: University of Montana Facebook

The University of Montana is on the state’s western side, in the northern Rocky Mountains. The University has 7,223 students and over 250 majors, minors, and certificates offered. Within a half-hour drive, you can be on the slopes at the Montana Snowbowl, or for the more adventurous ones out there who like to put in some miles for the best skiing, cross the border to Idaho, and take advantage of Schweitzer Mountain’s uncrowded slopes.

  • Montana Snowbowl
  • Discovery Ski Area 
  • Whitefish Mountain Resort
  • Schweitzer Mountain

These top five large schools are excellent for academics, skiing, and riding. Each college makes it even easier to get out and ride by offering ski and snowboard clubs with like-minded individuals. Attending college can be financially stressful, so check out the local mountains and colleges to score discounts on day and season passes.

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