Utah is tops in schools for skiers
Okay, okay, we get it. Everyone knows that Utah has the best, most accessible skiing on the planet… well, maybe not everyone. But people who ski must be in-the-know unless they’ve stuffed their heads into thick ski socks that reek with the funk of rear entry boots. Still, Utah is the de-facto ruler of skidom, so it stands to reason that college students looking for a school where they can learn and ski flock to Utah. And if they don’t, then they should, because Utah universities rank highest in the nation for those who like to slide on snow.
Back in November, 2011, ESPN ranked the best “ski schools” in the nation. Want to stab a guess as to who won? Surprise, surprise, it was the University of Utah, ranked #1 for the campus’ close proximity to killer snow. While being within a half-hour drive to Park City, Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude are all reasons for the U of U to make the grade, it also doesn’t hurt that pro skiers like Tom Wallisch, Suzanne Graham, Grete Eliassen and others call themselves Utes. When you’re rubbing elbows with the best skiers in the world while cramming for that math final, the school gets some serious mountain cred.
However, ESPN’s writeup goes on to feature other schools in Colorado, Vermont, Montana and New Hampshire, while completely overlooking the fact that many other Utah universities have equally sweet ski cultures. You’ve got Utah State University and Weber State – both a stone’s throw away from Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, as well as Westminster College, which prides itself for fostering a skier community every winter when classes are in session. Many people noticed that such schools were absent from ESPN’s list, so the Huffington Post, along with Liftopia.com, conducted a survey to see which colleges and universities are flying under the radar for students who want to ski and snowboard nearly every day. Of course, Westminster College made the list.
According to the Huffington Post’s findings, Westminster has everything the University of Utah has: proximity to world class ski resorts, respected credibility, etc. And like the U of U, Westminster’s student body also includes a roster of pro skiers (more than 70), including members of national ski and snowboard teams and even Olympians. But having these guys and girls hitting the books at your college isn’t enough. The college also has to work with them to ensure their class schedules don’t conflict with training and tight competition calendars.
Another reason Westminster ranks high is the Winter at Westminster program, a sort of “study abroad” alternative that caters class schedules around time on the slopes. These lucky skiers get season passes to two ski areas, and actually earn credits to ski or ride over 70 days a season, all while carrying a full academic load.
Another feather in Westminster’s headband? Their snowboard team just swept the national championships, which you can read all about in the Salt Lake Tribune.
So this writing was just a big commercial aimed at prospective college students to just go ahead and come to Utah. If you want to have a serving of powder skiing alongside that helping of academic knowledge you’re ingesting, then enrolling in a Utah institution of higher learning is most definitely the way to go. Just be sure to leave the rear entry boots at home.