Spring break gets all the glory, but what about winter break? There’s no love there, but why not? In our ranking of the Most Beautiful College Campuses in the Fall, we said that college never looks more like college than in the fall. And most people would say that a college is never less college than in the winter, when students go home for the winter break, campus is snowy and cold, and everything grinds down to a quiet halt. When they’re wondering what to do over winter break, college students don’t usually think “stay on campus and play in the snow.”
Well, not at these colleges and universities – not at the best colleges for skiing, the snowiest colleges, and the best colleges with cold weather! How long is college winter break? At the best colleges for winter life, it’s never long enough, because there are more activities, events, and parties than anyone can possibly take in during a few weeks of winter break. If you want to know what to do over winter break, college winter break trips and events, snowboarding and skiing teams, and all sorts of snowy events are the answer. (Some of the most innovative colleges also have special winter break terms, but we’re talking fun here.)
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Ranking the Best Colleges for Winter Life
To find the best colleges for ski bums and dogsledders (yes, some colleges have dogsledding teams), College Consensus editors researched the colleges and universities in the snowiest areas of the US – New England, the upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, of course – to find colleges that embrace the cold. They don’t just embrace it; the best colleges for winter life are one with the snow and ice, finding joy and community in the coldest of climates.
Since a ranking like this one is unavoidably subjective, institutions are ranked according to their College Consensus score, not any winter-related order (though annual inches of snowfall might open some eyes).
Founded in 1769, Dartmouth College is one of the nine institutions of higher learning chartered before the American Revolution. Dartmouth is one of the finest colleges in the world and is a member of the Ivy League. But that’s not all – for those who love winter activities, Dartmouth has a lot to offer. It’s one of the best colleges with cold weather and offers a series of annual winter events such as the Dartmouth Winter Carnival. Organized by the Dartmouth Winter Carnival Council in conjunction with the Collis Center for Student Involvement, the Winter Carnival allows students to take part in a myriad of winter events including Human Dogsled Races and the Polar Bear Swim.
On the 7th to 10th of February, 2019, Dartmouth College will be celebrating the 109th Winter Carnival since the founding of the event back in 1911. As always, the students will be celebrating the winter season in style. Held only ten minutes away from the campus, the college’s legendary Winter Carnival begins with an opening celebration. The Collis Center for Student Involvement, alongside the Dartmouth Winter Carnival Council, sponsors an ice sculpture contest during the annual event. A total of 25 teams participate in the ice sculpture contest. The first 25 teams to complete the two-step application process get to participate. The winning sculpture gets to represent the year’s Carnival theme. (Not surprisingly, Dartmouth is not just an Ivy League School; it’s also one of the best mountain colleges, and one of the best colleges in the fall.)
Annual Snowfall: 71″
Middlebury College is one of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the United States. Located in the beautiful Champlain Valley of Vermont, Middlebury College was founded in 1800 and is chock-full of winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. Students get to enjoy these engaging winter activities at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl, which is owned by Middlebury and open to the general public every day of the year, except Christmas Day. The Snow Bowl makes Middlebury College an ideal option for those who love winter activities.
Middlebury College’s winter carnival suits anyone wondering what to do over winter break – college students and faculty alike – there are plenty of activities to partake in. Besides skiing and snowboarding, students can also enjoy snowshoeing and sledding at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl. It is home to some of the best trails, slopes, and hills in the region. The Middlebury College Snow Bowl boasts of hosting the only collegiate ski patrols in the nation. The Bowl’s renowned racing program, professionally staffed ski school, and full-service rental shops are some of the reasons for its popularity. Middlebury College is one of the best colleges for skiing and other winter activities.
Annual Snowfall: 84″
Founded in 1872, Virginia Tech (or Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) is the third-largest university in Virginia. The university offers winter sessions, and someone looking to join the college may be wondering what to do over winter break in college, besides eat in some of the best dining halls in America) Blacksburg, Virginia, the town that houses Virginia Tech, has a lot to offer when it comes to winter activities. There is plenty of skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding facilities in the area for Virginia Tech students to participate in. The annual Cadets vs. Civilians snowball fight is the highlight of the winter season at Virginia Tech.
This event attracts more than 1000 students. The event pits the members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets against the student body in a massive snowball fight. The Annual Snowball Fight is one of the school’s oldest traditions started over 100 years ago. The event marks the first major snowfall of the academic year. Virginia Tech’s Drillfield snowball fight is always epic to be a part of. Hundreds of students dressed in onesies and armed with makeshift shields turn the Drillfield into a battlefield on this day. What a better way to celebrate the cold season than a fun, frosty tradition.
Annual Snowfall: 26″
Established in 1850, the University of Rochester is a private research institute in Rochester, New York. The college is home to over 6000 full-time students at the undergraduate level with most of them living on campus. The student body and UR are very active throughout the year. During winter, the University of Rochester becomes one of the snowiest colleges in the country. There are a lot of winter activities at the university to make sure that students who love winter activities get the most out of the cold season.
The Winterfest Weekend Winter Wonderland is the main winter event at the University of Rochester. There are plenty of activities for students, parents, and community members to enjoy, a carnival of sorts. There are horse-drawn carriage rides and sled dogs to play with. This year’s Winterfest Weekend Winter Wonderland was held on Saturday, February 2nd, and was a fun experience for those who attended. It’s something to look forward to next year. Ice sculptures and other captivating of art were on display, and candy bars and a variety of foods and beverages were in plenty.
Annual Snowfall: 99″
Founded in 1919, Babson College is one of the most prestigious entrepreneurship-focused colleges in the United States. This private business school is located in Wellesley, MA. But a high-quality business education is not all that Babson College has to offer. Babson students have plenty of activities to engage in all year round. From skiing to sledding and snowshoeing, there’s a lot to do to take advantage of the record-breaking levels of snow the area has been experiencing in recent areas. If you are looking for one of the best colleges with cold weather, you should consider Babson College.
When it comes to skiing, one of the best things about Babson is its location. Babson College is located only 12 miles to some of the greatest powder in the state and has one of the best skiing teams in the region. The school’s men’s and women’s alpine ski teams compete nationally in the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association. When it comes to sledding, the Wellesley area offers the best terrain. It’s hilly and there are plenty of hills to choose from on campus whether you are interested in sledding or looking for a place to train for races. If you are searching for colleges with snowboarding teams, Babson might be a great choice.
Annual Snowfall: 43″
Reed College was founded in 1908 and is one of the highest ranked small colleges in the United States. This independent liberal arts college is based in Portland, Oregon, and provides a variety of athletics, fitness, and outdoor programs. At Reed, the cold season is not an excuse to stay indoors and get bored; there a ton of activities available. All outdoor activities and sports programs are offered in a fun, supportive environment. For most students, the highlight of winter activities at Reed College is a visit to the Mt. Hood ski cabin, which is owned and operated by Reed College. The ski cabin on Mt. Hood is perfect for college winter break trips at Reed College.
The ski cabin on Mt. Hood is open for Reed College students, faculty members, or alumni to reserve. The ski cabin is just minutes from cross country and downhill skiing as well as sledding trails in the area. Students can get to the ski cabin in a Reed College van or a personal vehicle. For directions and maps to the trails and recreation areas, students have to contact the assistant director of athletics, fitness, and outdoor programs or the cabin manager. This information is not available online for the security and privacy of the facility. Students are required to pack food, towels, and bedding.
Annual Snowfall: 3″ for Portland; over 100″ for Mt. Hood
Founded in 1893, Western Washington University is the northernmost university in the contiguous United States and one of the nation’s top Green Colleges. It’s located in Bellingham and is one of the six public universities in the state of Washington. WWU sits 50 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia, and less than one-hour drive to 10,778ft Mount Baker and North Cascades Mountain Range, the most popular ski areas in the region. The WWU Associated Students’ Outdoor Center offers a variety of outdoor-related activities and opportunities for all students, faculty, and the community. Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most popular and most successful winter sporting activities at WWU.
Mt. Baker holds the world record for most annual snowfall in a single season, so grab your skis or snowboard get ready to have fun. The WWU Ski & Snowboard club puts a lot of effort into furthering snowboarding and skiing as sports. WWU Ski & Snowboard club is fully run by students through a democratic system. Its non-profit club whose goal is to engage the local mountain community in search of the best deals and discounts for club members to make skiing and snowboarding fun and more accessible to club members. If you love winter sports and other activities, you’ll love WWU.
Annual Snowfall: 7″
The Ski and Snowboard Collective of Westminster College offers a place with students can learn how to perform maintenance on their skiing and snowboarding equipment. This is a necessity as starting only about a half hour away from the campus, people who love the snow can find a tremendous amount of winter activity waiting for them. Since Westminster College sits only a handful of miles from the University of Utah, students at WC can take advantage of all the same great skiing, snowboarding, and winter activities located in and around Salt Lake City.
To put that in perspective, the area contains 14 world-class ski and snowboard resorts very close by. If serious about what to do over winter break college students can discover passes that open up many of the most popular resorts to them for a single price. Some of the most famous resort destinations include Snowbasin Resort, Solitude Mountain, Deer Valley, and many more. Proximity to these and many other popular resorts makes Westminster College one of the best colleges for skiing, and definitely one of the best colleges for ski bums. Start with the Ski & Snowboard Collective, then venture out to enjoy the SLC winters.
Annual Snowfall: 62″
Located in Houghton, MI, Michigan Technological University was founded in 1885. Michigan Tech has done a lot of work to promote outdoor sports activities within the campus and around the community. For instance, the Mont Ripley ski area — a skiing resort sitting between the Houghton and Hancock — is owned by the Michigan Tech. From skiing to snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc., Mont Ripley accommodates all sorts of winter activities and is open to all. According to the Weather Channel, Hancock, MI — where the university’s ski area is located — is the third snowiest city in the United States.
Mont Ripley receives the most snow in the Midwest. The skiing area is just a mile from the Michigan Tech campus, which is very convenient for students. Michigan Tech’s Mont Ripley encompasses a tubing park, three lifts, a 440′ vertical drop, 24 trails, and 112 acres of skiable terrain. A short 45 minute drive away, Mt. Bohemia is often named the best skiing in Michigan, with more than 270 inches of snow a year – thanks to a lake effect that leaves perfect powder. The Michigan Tech Winter Carnival is also one of the largest in the US. It began in 1922, and since 1934, is has been coordinated by the Blue Key National Honor Society. The carnival features a lot of fun winter activities including sleigh rides, broomball, and a display of elaborate snow statues around Michigan Tech and the neighboring community.
Annual Snowfall: 200″
St. Lawrence University was established in 1856 by leaders of the Universalist Church. Today, SLU is a non-denominational liberal arts college based in Canton, New York. This vibrant learning and living community offer students plenty of options when it comes to participating in athletics and various sporting activities throughout the year, including winter. During winter, temperatures drop and snow begins to fall. So, if you love winter activities, you will have a lot to do around St. Lawrence University and the larger Canton area. The Outing Club and the Outdoor Program at St. Lawrence makes sure that you get the best out of the cold season.
At St. Lawrence University, students are encouraged to embrace winter, not endure it, and there are a lot of ways to do that. (Having some of the nation’s best dorms helps.) There are adequate resources for winter fitness and wellness activities, and students have access to lots of information about places to ski and snowshoe around SLU. The Robert Moses Nature Center in Massena and Friends of Higley State Park offer activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for SLU students on their well-groomed trails. The Titus Mountain Family Ski Center also offers wintertime wellness programs for faculty, staff, and students. The ease of access to these winter activities makes SLU one of the best colleges for ski bums.
Annual Snowfall: 110″
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The University of Minnesota Duluth places students in one of the snowiest colleges of the Midwest. As one of the best colleges with cold weather, students can expect to find a lot of variety in the area when it comes to winter activities. The college itself has programs geared towards those activities through its Recreational Sports Outdoor Programs. One of those programs is a waxing clinic for skis and snowboards. Another program includes snowkiting. What makes the University of Minnesota Duluth one of the best colleges for skiing and snowboarding is all the activities available in the surrounding area.
College winter break trips aren’t complete without testing out the outdoor winter adventures available in and around Duluth. Activities Nordic skiing, fat bike tours, ice climbing, and even dogsledding, believe it or not. There is no end to the fun and excitement a student can have in the area. Duluth’s location in the north part of the country brings it lots of snow and a great winter atmosphere. Don’t worry about what to do over winter break college students. Duluth will have everything a winter season lover could possibly want.
Annual Snowfall: 86″
Founded in 1874 by Thomas Nelson Haskell, Colorado College (one of Consensus’ Underrated Colleges Doing Great Things) is located in Colorado Springs, CO. This private liberal arts college is set at the base of the Rocky Mountains, about 6000 ft above sea level. The weather is relatively mild all year round and winters are not bone-chilling, which makes Colorado College one of the best colleges for ski bums. There are dozens of winter sports and activities to participate in during the cold weather. Students who like to partake in winter activities will definitely find their favorite outdoor pursuit at CC regardless of their athletic interest or skill level.
So, what kinds of winter activities can students participate in at one of the snowiest colleges in the nation? Well, there are plenty of options including ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing just to name a few. Nordic skiing, commonly known as cross-country skiing, is one of the best winter activities at Colorado College. You can do it almost anywhere within the Pikes Peak region – it’s very easy to learn and fairly inexpensive. If you love sledding and snowshoeing, you’ll love the Manitou Incline at the heart of Manitou Springs. This walkable mountain town is home to a vibrant community with a lot to offer in terms of arts and culture.
Annual Snowfall: 68″
Is the University at Buffalo one of the snowiest colleges? Buffalo certainly gets a lot of heavy winter weather, which means it also contains a ton of winter activities for students to enjoy. The Student Life calendar of UB offers many things to do during the winter. UB students take winter fun seriously, so students can expect both indoor and outdoor activities to celebrate the season. Some of those activities include hockey, cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing. Team UB even indulges in the Western New York’s Polar Plunge. Winterfest is an official annual celebration of winter at UW. Most of the activities will tie into that event.
UB also has the Schussmeisters Ski Club. This student-run club provides services and trips for both skiers and snowboarders. The club provides access to skiing and snowboarding opportunities on several different ranges in the area. The club is what helps to make one of the best colleges for skiing as well as one of the best colleges with cold weather. Buffalo answers the question of what to do over winter break college students ask every year. Outside of campus are all the winter activities Buffalo is well known for.
Annual Snowfall: 94″
Everything someone would want to know about the skiing and snowboarding activities at the University of Utah is right there in the name. The One Love Ski and Snowboarding Club make UU one of the best colleges for skiing. The club offers students the ability to pursue ski lessons, gear, ski events, and various other winter sports activities. The club welcomes skiers, snowboarders, and anyone who love the slopes. The club has over 300 skiers and snowboarders of diverse backgrounds. Over the winter, people can get to know like-minded individuals from all walks of life. This can foster learning new techniques and trying different approaches to winter sports activities.
In addition, the club hosts various skiing and snowboarding related events. These events include ski movies, discount gear shopping, and social events for snowboarders and skiers. For those who want to get serious about their skiing, the Ski and Snowboarding Club also sponsors and supports professional competitions. While the club does a lot to promote winter activities, people can also head to one of the seven ski resorts located within 40 minutes of the campus, like Park City. The club does offer discounted pricing to many of these resorts. Some of the season passes promoted by the club will give students access to things like unlimited access to college winter break trips and multiple ski resorts located in and around Salt Lake City and beyond.
Annual Snowfall: 62″
New Hampshire is home to a lot of winter activity, and the students of the University of New Hampshire can take full advantage of that fact. The Ski and Board Club is the largest registered club team on the UNH campus, according to ESPN. This makes it another one of the best colleges for ski bums. The UNH Ski and Board Club provide trips for students every weekend during the school’s winter session. Those trips go to Loon Mountain and Sunday River. Winter activities aren’t all off campus. Other winter activities on and off campus can suit anyone’s tastes, whether they’re looking for college winter break trips or simple fare like building a snowman.
When winter comes around, students can enjoy skating at Strawberry Bank; sledding down Wagon Hill; First Night in Portsmouth; and seeing the Wildcats play hockey. The club also runs and promotes winter events, and partners with merchandisers to provide name brand ski and snowboard gear and equipment at discounts for students. In addition, it hosts skiing and snowboarding movies, which should get people in the mood to enjoy one of the best colleges with cold weather. Beyond the campus, students can find a whole universe of New Hampshire winter activities, including varied winter activities like ice fishing, snowmobiling, and even dog sleigh rides.
Annual Snowfall: 48″
Located in Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University is a private research university established in 1870. The university’s outdoor education program encourages students to participate in various activities by providing the necessary support and resources. The situation doesn’t change during winter. In fact, students are encouraged to embrace the cold weather. With an average of about 125 inches of snow every year, Syracuse may well be the snowiest city in the United States. Both Syracuse University and the city itself offer a lot in terms of winter activities to help the students take advantage of the season’s excesses.
Did you know that the winter lasts five months in Syracuse? There’s no need to worry, though. There are a lot of fun activities to engage in, and you may even forget that its winter. Some of these events include snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and the Syracuse Winter Festival. The Syracuse Winter Festival is a tradition that was first organized in 1930. It includes a variety of indoor and outdoor winter activities such as snow sculptures, chili cook-offs, ice-carvings, and human dog sled races. The Syracuse Winter Carnival is organized by the Traditions Commission with the help of various student organizations.
Annual Snowfall: 124″
The University of Colorado Boulder was founded in 1876. It’s the flagship of the University of Colorado System and is located in Boulder, CO. This academic giant is not left behind when it comes to athletics and other sporting activities. Students have a ton of indoor and outdoor events to participate in throughout the year, including one of the nation’s best college recreation centers. The university has put a lot of effort into promoting winter sporting activities and is one of the most competitive institutions of higher learning when it comes to winter sports. CU Boulder offers men’s Alpine and Nordic and women’s Alpine and Nordic teams.
The University of Colorado Boulder also supports club teams including the student-run ski club, Freeride. Boulder was named in the top ten winter towns in the nation by the National Geographic Traveller a few years back. About 21 miles away from the campus is the Eldora Mountain, one of the closest ski resorts. Eldora is popular for its local, laidback vibe. CU – Boulder students can easily access the facility thanks to the university’s low-cost ski bus. Eldora Ski Resort offers nine lifts and three terrain parks on close to 700 acres of land. Everyone from snowshoers to cross-country skiers, snowboarders, and skiers are welcome to Eldora.
Annual Snowfall: 26″
Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is private research institute in Denver, CO. In the first two years of their time at the University of Denver, undergraduate students are required to live on campus. You’ll find students relaxing on the greens when you walk around campus in fall. During winter, the DU community enjoys the pristine beauty of the campus covered in snow. The cold season brings the first snow celebration; the community comes together for snowball fights and hot chocolate. Snow tubing is also a popular winter activity in Denver. The main event is the University of Denver’s Winter Carnival.
The Winter Carnival is one of the longest standing traditions at DU. It’s only on a single occasion that the event was canceled (the 1981 DU Winter Carnival was canceled due to poor skiing conditions). With the exception of 1981, this event has been held every year for the last 50 years. Popular winter activities such as après ski, ice skating, snow tubing, snowboarding, and much more are offered. A lot of new activities and favorite on-mountain traditions are offered every year during DU’s Winter Carnivore. The DU’s Winter Carnival is organized to accommodate everyone. There will always be something for you no matter what you’re into.
Annual Snowfall: 60″
The northern Vermont location makes the University of Vermont one of the best colleges with cold weather for those who enjoy winter activities. The student-ran UVM Ski & Snowboard Club (UVMSSC) exists specifically to make UVM one of the best colleges for skiing, as well as one of the colleges with snowboarding teams. The proximity of the college to several slopes makes it ideal for many winter activities. Students will have access to downhill, alpine, and cross-country skiing; snowshoeing at resorts and along local trails; ice skating at Cairns Arena and UVM’s own ice arena; and some of the most spectacular sledding you’ve ever seen on hills only a few minutes away from the campus.
Through the UVMSSC and UVM Outing Club, students gain access to on campus, off campus, and local venues. Students can also gain discounts on local winter activities. Activities go beyond the traditional winter sports as well. One of America’s best lake and river colleges, UVM is one of the best colleges for ski bums, but it can offer unique non-traditional winter experiences for the adventurous as well. For those who wonder just what to do over winter break college access doesn’t get any better. Students can look forward to ski resorts and touring centers numbering in the double digits, over 6,000 acres of alpine terrain, and over 1,200 trails.
Annual Snowfall: 81″
Montana State University’s ASMU Outdoor Recreation Program gives students the chance to enjoy winter activities in Montana. The main approach to winter activities at this college is to have fun but also use the outdoors as a classroom to develop learning and appreciation for what it takes to make outdoor activities work. For example, the college offers the Snow and Avalanche Workshop, which promotes fun but also gives presentations and discussions with professionals on the slopes.
The Bozeman area where the school is located also offers a tremendous amount of winter activities for college winter break trips. Those activities include skiing and sledding, hiking and ice fishing, sleigh rides and dogsledding, and, best yet, soaking in hot springs. Students can go out and snowshoe frozen waterfalls or spend time at any of a number of the resorts around the area. It only takes 15 minutes to hit the slopes and there are many slopes to hit in the area. Since the college has alpine and Nordic ski teams, there is a strong focus on ski training, competition, and skiing activities. This makes it one of the best colleges for skiing. If nothing else, students can stick around to cheer on the Bobcats.
Annual Snowfall: 86″
Colorado Mesa University’s Outdoor Programs has a strong focus on outdoor adventure with an educational slant. Outdoor recreation offered through the program varies, and all of it takes advantage of the areas open spaces and backcountry atmosphere. This is another rugged area so winter activities here can accommodate anyone’s tastes for winter excitement. As far as what to do over winter break college students can enjoy backcountry skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking and backpacking, and ice climbing.
That’s not all. The program has a tremendous amount of other outdoor activities designed to take advantage of the mountains, rivers, and terrain of the area. In addition, the program offers students clinics, equipment rentals, and free weekly outings. As the program also promotes learning and growth, the school offers accredited classes in skiing and various other winter sports. The program also lets students set up a full custom adventure trip with all the winter activities they can handle. For people who want to do a lot during their college winter break trips, this is one of the best colleges with cold weather to do it all at. All the winter activities outside of the university are available to students as well.
Annual Snowfall: 18″
Going to a university located in Alaska gives students the opportunity to attend one of the snowiest colleges and one of the best colleges with cold weather around. The university and Fairbanks give students access to a tremendous amount of winter activities and education. In a sense, every recreational activity in the area can represent a winter activity. The university primarily offers Nanook Traditions, which consists of a series of themed activities. The Winter Carnival is the main way the college does winter. This celebration of winter occurs every year and includes fun activities like mini snowman building, a winter triathlon, and dog mushing (!).
As this is Fairbanks, AK, the winter sport and activity options of the surrounding area are nearly infinite. Ice fishing, ice-skating, ice climbing, ice sculpting, and just about any other activity that can have the word ice in it is fair game here. Other than all the winter activities, students can take it slow and spend some time just enjoying the atmosphere and viewing the Northern Lights. Adventurous students can join UAF’s Forty Below Club. This club consists of the brave students willing to go out in their underwear to take a picture in front of UAF’s temperature sign.
Annual Snowfall: 62″
College winter break trips at Western Colorado University typically involve the wild outdoors and programs suitable for those who like rugged terrain. Western has a number of programs to facilitate outdoor winter activities that take advantage of the landscape. The Wilderness Pursuits program provides opportunities for students to go mountain climbing, skiing, ice climbing, backpacking, and more. Students can even train to become part of the Mountain Rescue Team. The school also offers the Western Mountain Sports program, which allows students to take part in competitive skiing and snowboarding events. These events are part of national championship competitions, which makes the school ideal for those looking for colleges with snowboarding teams.
The rugged terrain of the surrounding area offers students opportunities not related to the campus as well. In and around Gunnison, students can expect to find winter activities of all types. Practically anything related to the snow is available, including sledding, skiing, snowboarding, winter trail rides, snow biking, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides are all possible activities in the surrounding area. Much of the activities will center on the Crested Butte area of the Rocky Mountains. For the adventurous, the Western Colorado University is the ideal place for winter break fun and excitement.
Annual Snowfall: 47″
The University of Wyoming is one of the best colleges with cold weather. The terrain of Wyoming offers more winter activities than many other schools. For students who enjoy more rugged winter activities during their college winter break trips, UW’s Campus Recreation Outdoor Programs is a good place to start. The school’s fall program features many activities centered on the Snowy Range of southeastern Wyoming. Students can enjoy the outdoors while engaging in winter activities of their choice. For example, the Outdoor Programs offer backpacking, fly fishing, snowshoe hiking, and even lessons in caring for skis and snowboards.
Whether skiing or backpacking through snowy mountains, students are guaranteed an adventure on their college winter break trips. When wondering what to do over winter break college students often dream of a more rugged winter experience. UW can provide that. However, students also have access to non-college sponsor to the outdoor activities and mountains close by. If a student finds the Outdoor Programs too tame, they can embark on an adventure of their own. Close by, students can find resorts, winter lodges, ice climbing, hot springs, and all the other winter activities they can think of.
Annual Snowfall: 58″
No one would think of Reno, NV, as one of the best colleges with cold weather or as one of the nation’s snowiest colleges. However, the University of Nevada Reno actually is a college with winter break trips and one of the best colleges for skiing. To that end, students can join the Outdoor Adventures Club, which promotes outdoor sports, skiing being one of them. The UNR Winter Sports Club promotes alpine, freestyle, telemark, and Nordic skiing. The club represents snowboarding as well. The club also promotes and sponsors competitive competitions.
What makes UNR one of the best colleges for ski bums is the proximity to a number of slopes that both skiers and snowboarders love. Within an hour out from campus, winter sports enthusiasts can find several slopes, including Squaw Valley. One of the telltale signs of the areas skiing chops is the fact that Squaw Valley once hosted one of the Winter Olympics. In addition, Mt. Rose, Boreal, and many other hot spots for cold fun are also within an hour of campus. As this is the Reno-Tahoe area, expect many other winter activities as well, including world-class ski resorts that offer just about every winter activity imaginable.
Annual Snowfall: 24″
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Are Snowboarding and Skiing Official College Sports?
Snowboarding and skiing are definitely official college sports of some universities. For people looking for the best ski colleges or snowboard colleges, it’s important to investigate the extent of the school’s skiing or snowboarding offerings. While some colleges with skiing or colleges with snowboarding teams, not all colleges have these activities as collegiate sports.
Some universities offer these activities as purely recreational. This means that prospective students need to ask themselves if they want the best colleges for skiing competitively or are they simply looking for colleges near ski resorts.
The same questions apply to those looking for the best colleges for snowboarding. Both types exist, so there are a lot of options to choose from as long as college seekers show care when they’re doing the choosing.
For those looking for the best ski colleges that have an official ski team, there’s a full list to consider on the NCAA official skiing programs list. The NCAA has one championship for men and another for women.
There are three conferences based on region. To easily find the ski colleges that have a place in the NCAA programs, prospective students need only look at the NCAA’s official directory for men’s skiing institutions or women’s institutions.
Similarly, the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) comprises 175 member colleges. The USCSA maintains a real-time list of skiing colleges and snowboarding colleges with active teams.
Many of the best colleges for skiing may have teams and more local competitions. So, even if someone wants to compete but not compete in the larger venues offered by the NCAA or USCSA, there’s still the possibility of participating in team skiing or snowboarding competitions at some universities.
While snowboarding doesn’t hold the widespread popularity that skiing does, many colleges with snowboarding teams exist. So, for those looking for the best snowboarding colleges specifically, rather than for skiing colleges, they’re certainly possible to find.
One more thing to look for, especially when seeking the best skiing colleges, is to check if the skiing programs offered are Nordic or Alpine ski team, or both. Some colleges only have one or the other, so ski buffs would do well to check first.
Some great ski schools that didn’t make our ranking include:
- Montana State University
- Colorado Mountain College
- Western State Colorado University
- Sierra Nevada College
Can I Get a Scholarship for Skiing or Snowboarding?
As many ski colleges have skiing as an official college sport, it’s possible to earn a scholarship for colleges with skiing. If there’s a ski team, there’s likely a ski scholarship. In addition, general sports scholarships can also apply to skiing and snowboarding as well.
So, applicants seeking a skiing or snowboarding scholarship should also take some time to see what other scholarships can help them get into the best skiing colleges or the best snowboarding colleges in the country. As these sports have a high level of competitiveness, some of the larger universities may even have recruiters actively looking for skiing and snowboarding athletes.
Applicants should also look through the websites of the top skiing colleges or the best snowboarding colleges to see if the universities themselves offer scholarships or information about scholarships that can help someone enroll. The NCAA itself offers scholarships to student athletes, which makes it a good place to start looking.
When seeking colleges with snowboard teams, applicants may have a harder time trying to find scholarships specifically for the sport. Once again, a general sports or student-athlete scholarship may work. Not all colleges with snowboard teams take part in college snowboarding at a national level. Scholarships for college snowboarding do exist. The best colleges for snowboarding may also list scholarship opportunities on their websites or by contacting their recruiters.
Are There Any Colleges with their Own Ski Resorts?
Many colleges near ski resorts are out there, but are there any colleges with their own ski resorts? Yes. Some colleges own a ski resort, or are located in a ski town where they have their own ski area. Michigan Technological University is one such school, and so is Dartmouth. However, colleges near ski resorts and ski towns tend to have discounts and deals specifically for students, as well as frequent and easily accessible transportation to local ski resorts.
For example, Brigham Young University has around 15 nearby ski resorts resorts within a two-hour drive or less surrounding it and the University of Utah has seven or eight ski resorts within 40 minutes in any direction. Applicants can seek these schools based on which resorts sit closest to them, if they have a resort preference. Some of the most popular ski resorts are only a short distance away from many of these colleges.
The top skiing colleges and snowboard colleges have multiple ski resorts surrounding them. By necessity, these schools, especially the ones that compete nationally, would need these resorts for training, practicing, and competing.
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