Going to get all edumacated? Just because you’re heading off to school doesn’t mean you can’t also head off to a snowboard heaven. So, check out these schools and cities that we’ve found to be among the best for some type of education, and offer some of the best college snowboarding and riding, best snow, best night life, and best people in the country. This is definitely not your average college guide. We’re here to educate you on why these schools are the best for enjoying our favorite sport, snowboarding, and not really what they’ll offer you as far as education (just don’t tell your parents about that, ok?).
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Best Snowboarding Colleges in the USA
University of Nevada, Reno
The UNR campus is situated in Northwest Reno, a couple minutes walk from the casinos of downtown. Given the variance in traffic, it’s about half an hour to a full hour drive from Lake Tahoe, and all the snowboard resorts surrounding the lake. Considering that some of the best snowboard parks, big-man black diamonds, and insane backcountry, are all contained in this area, it’s a virtual heaven of shred and makes our list of snowboard colleges.
Oh, on that whole edumacation deal, UNR offers some great programs, including some best-of-the-country rated departments like the journalism, mining, engineering, and education programs.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Can you say Park City, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude? How about 30-45 minutes away from a good education? Killer snow, killer resorts, a good film school and great graphic design program. Also, the University of Utah has a good College of Engineering, most notably the School of Computing, and U of U was one of the original four nodes of ARPANET, the internet’s granddaddy.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of some of the resorts close to Salt Lake City, like Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude. These resorts are world known for many reasons, including light, fluffy, airy powder. Apparently the air and water vapor contained within the Salt Lake City valley, thanks to the great Salt Lake, create the “Lake Effect”, which creates light and fluffy snow. When that snow falls in the nearby mountains, it’s heaven-on-snow.
Even if you aren’t a powder hound, you can appreciate the soft and fluffy stuff, as softer landings can make learning tricks in the park much less painful. And, there’s hidden benefit of being a park kid at a powder resort: count on most people riding the powder on powder days, leaving the park all to you.
Western Washington University, Bellingham
No, I’m not talking about Washington DC, or even Starbucks, oops, I mean Seattle, Washington, I’m talking about laid-back Bellingham, bro. Just a short drive from Mt. Baker, and a scene that’s straight-up Washington, it’s a good school that has your bases covered. I mean, honestly, if you can ride Mt. Baker all the time, and say you’re going to school, what more do you need?
Ok, gotta keep the parents happy. Western Washington U has grabbed some notoriety for it’s bang-up Philosophy program, and the College of the Environment has a sweet new bachelor’s degree offering in emergency planning and management.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Truth be told, there really isn’t a lot of riding around Boulder. About half an hour away is Eldora, offering up 52 runs from 12 lifts, or so. Other than Eldora, Colorado’s big resorts are a road trip away. Still, having a bus line shuttle you from downtown Boulder to Eldora is handy. Honestly, if you’re heading off to school to shred, Boulder might not be at the top of your list.
But if you’re into nightlife, small-town feel in a decent-sized city, a laid-back scene, and close-by shred, Boulder will fit the bill. The University of Colorado, Boulder, offers a great education, and will keep the parents happy. There are a few other small colleges and universities in the area, but UC Boulder is the happening place to study in Boulder while sneaking in some shred. Maybe leave out the bit about the shuttle to the mountain, don’t get a car, and they’ll think you’re focused on education rather than snowboarding. Just a thought.
University of Denver
Like Boulder, you’re gonna be taking a mini road trip to hit a resort. But fret not young grasshopper, light and fluffy Colorado snow is worth the trip. Following the speed limit, you’re looking at about an hour or a little more on the road before you hit killer resorts like Loveland, Keystone, Arapahoe, Winter Park and Eldora. That’s kind of the name of the game – cities are built in valleys, resorts are built on mountains. The amount of snow, shred, and resorts near Denver, though, make the move out to ‘Rado well worth it. Just make sure you talk your parents into giving you that beat up Subaru you’ve basically destroyed since they gave it to you at 16.
With more people come more schools. Denver, being a much larger city than Boulder, offers a few more options in the education department. This variety gives you the chance to study what you want when you’re not out snowboarding.
My intent here is to persuade you to choose shred over school, cause that’s what’s really important in life, isn’t it? Ok, kidding. School is important – if you want to keep on riding for years to come, get an education, get a decent job with decent pay, and buy a pass every year.