Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The 14 Best US Winter Sports Colleges: Your Guide to Hit the Slopes

Nothing like a good winter sports college to make the best out of the snow season.

If you’re looking to combine your love of adrenaline-filled snow sports with a top-tier education, finding the best winter sports colleges is a must. 

Whether you’re an athlete with the Olympics in your sights or a regular Joe wanting to have fun on the slopes, these schools have all you need to explore your passion for winter sports. πŸ…

male and female college students holding snowboards and ski gear on to of a mountain slope
Find the best winter sports colleges and carve out your path to success. Photo: serrnovik/Depositphotos 

1. Dartmouth College

If you want to become an iconic winter sports champion, then Dartmouth should be on your radar because of its long-standing heritage. 

Formed in 1909 under the Dartmouth Outing Club, the college’s ice hockey and skiing programs have produced numerous Olympians and secured over 30 NCAA titles. πŸ₯‡

While the school is close to the White Mountains, a go-to skiing and snowboarding spot, athletes can rip through the Dartmouth Skiway β€” a sprawling 100-acre facility within campus grounds that has 30 trails. πŸ™€

Several winter sports competitions in Dartmouth can be the stage where you show off your moves, like the Dartmouth Winter Carnival or the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championships. ❄️

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 6 percent
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $84,000 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Hanover, New Hampshire

2. University of Colorado 

With over 20 NCAA championships under its belt, the University of Colorado (CU) proves that it’s the place to be when it comes to winter sports. πŸ†

And their prime location has much to do with the college’s snow-tastic success! It’s situated in a sweet spot where nearby ski resorts and ideal skiing conditions are found.

male and female college students in winter great having fun at the ski hill
Sustainability, skiing, and snowboarding: the University of Colorado is setting the bar for ecological winter sports strategies. Photo: Ethan Hu/Unsplash

For those conscious of their carbon footprint, CU prides itself on being an eco-friendly university committed to sustainable practices

The school’s Environmental Center is promoting greener habits on and off the slopes through carpooling and environment-friendly ski wax. βœ…

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 84 percent
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $30,000 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Boulder, Colorado

3. Middlebury College

You’ll find great company at Middlebury if you’re a fan of ice hockey. 

Its ice hockey, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing programs are all great, but the former takes the cake for having multiple NCAA Division III championships and several national championships in its name. πŸ‘ 

The campus has an Olympic-size ice rink and an outdoor center that students can enjoy with state-of-the-art snowmaking technology and a full-service gear rental shop. 🎿

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 15 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $64,800 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Middlebury, Vermont

4. University of Utah

National championships: check. NCAA tournament appearances: check. Conference titles: check. Need any more reason to believe why the University of Utah is one of the best winter sports colleges? πŸ†

The Utah Ski and Snowboard Center takes your game to the next level with its world-class weight room and video analysis lab.

college students wearing winter sports gear bringing ski gear towards the ski hill
The University of Utah’s prime location makes it the perfect place to perfect your skills in winter sports. Photo: Glade Optics/Unsplash

Students looking to race down the slopes with friends can hop on a car for a short drive to world-class ski resorts like Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude. 🚘

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate:  95 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $27,000 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Salt Lake City, Utah 

5. Montana State University

Montana State is a winter sports paradise!  Its snowboarding and ice hockey varsity sports programs are unbeatable (the men’s hockey team recently took the number one spot in the American College Hockey Association). πŸ†

But that’s not all β€” the school’s Snow and Avalanche Laboratory offers hands-on experience in snow science and engineering, allowing winter sports enthusiasts to explore new frontiers in this exciting field. πŸ’―

college student doing freeride skiing at a forest mountain slope
Montana State University has it all when it comes to winter sports, including a snow science research center. Photo: cppzone.mail.ru/Depositphotos 

And if you’re looking for a beautiful spot to hit the trails, the university’s Nordic ski center features a perfectly groomed 35-kilometer trail, plus an indoor ice rink that’s sure to impress. 

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 73 percent
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $19,000 per year (resident, on-campus)Β 
πŸ“Œ Location: Bozeman, Montana

6. University of Alaska Fairbanks

What makes the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) an awesome winter sports college is how it balances its desire for athletic achievements with a heart for sustainability. 

The college is home to the Ski Land Ski and Snowboard Area β€” the world’s only ski resort powered by geothermal energy. This allows students to maximize winter adventures while keeping their carbon footprint in mind. 🌍

student attending the best US colleges for winter sports in black winter sports gear riding a snowmobile on a mountain slope
Take your winter sports skills to the next level with the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s renowned athletic programs. Photo: dresscode9955/Depositphotos 

Students can even catch Division I ice hockey games at the Patty Ice Arena, which is the college’s NHL-sized ice rink with a 1,200-seat capacity. 

If that doesn’t put you on board (haha, get it? 😝), UAF is also a frontrunner in studies tackling snow science and avalanche safety

The university’s Geophysical Institute conducts research on topics such as snowpack stability, snow physics, and avalanche forecasting, contributing to the safety and advancement of winter sports. 🌨️

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 67 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $21,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

7. Colby College

Winter is more than just a season at Colby, it’s a reason to celebrate. What better way to feel festive than with the college’s beloved tradition β€” the Winter Carnival?

Students come together in this carnival to transform the campus into a winter wonderland, complete with snow-covered hills and ice rinks.πŸ”οΈ 

There are skiing and snowboarding competitions for those who love the thrill of the slopes and ice skating for those who prefer a more graceful experience. And for the creative minds, there are snow sculpting contests that bring out the artist in everyone! 🧊

For students looking to compete, Colby College has 32 varsity teams, three of which compete in Division I β€” Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and Squash β€”  and its 350,000-square-foot Harold Alfond Athletics and Recreation Center where they can practice. 

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 7 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $83,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Waterville, Maine

8. University of Denver

Get ready to bring your winter sports career to new heights with the University of Denver’s MA programs. 

Whether you dream of coaching amateur or professional teams, its MA programs can give you the edge to help athletes perform at their best and teach you ethical and responsible coaching practices suited for the big leagues. πŸ“š

male-college-student-cleaning-his-snowboarding-gear-indoors-with-an-orange-cloth
From stunning mountain views to world-class facilities, student-athletes can enjoy all kinds of winter sports at the University of Denver. Photo: yamasan/Depositphotos 

With a holistic approach to education, the university prepares you to make a difference on and off the field by engaging in sustainability and community activities.

Let’s not forget about DU’s reputation as a winter sports powerhouse thanks to world-class coaches, programs, and top-notch facilities. No wonder they’ve won countless national championships!

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 61 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $81,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Denver, Colorado

9. Michigan Technological University

Picture this: a 200-inch-thick layer of fresh, delicate snow each year, providing the perfect terrain for winning NCAA championships and national tournaments

This is the reality for students at one of the best US colleges for winter sports, Michigan Technological University. 🌨️

Plus, thanks to the 13 ski courses with an outstanding 200-foot vertical drop and a trail network that connects to the Michigan Tech Trails System, students have countless possibilities to discover their skiing potential.

And when they’re not on the slopes, the 24/7 gym on campus can help them stay active and agile. πŸ‹οΈ

Aside from building a great physique, MTU also knows that adapting to high altitudes and cold temperatures makes for better athletes. This is what you can find at its Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology. πŸ₯Ά

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 86 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $33,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Houghton, Michigan

10. University of Minnesota Duluth

Is your college search looking bleak? The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) brings some needed ice-spiration to your choices. πŸ’―

Winter sports reign supreme at UMD thanks to its exceptional facilities, such as the AMSOIL Arena and an ice skating rink.

college students wearing red blue and white uniform playing ice hockey in a skating rink
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, the University of Minnesota Duluth has the resources you need to step up your winter sports game. Photo: lsantilli/Depositphotos 

The skiing and ice hockey programs are no slouch either, with both the men’s and women’s teams consistently ranking among the best in the nation. 

So, grab your gloves and discover what it takes to stick the landing in college and beyond at UMD. πŸ’

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 79 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $27,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Duluth, Minnesota

11. St. Lawrence University

No winter is too cold when your campus has a ski hill and a snowshoeing trail that you can enjoy. That’s St. Lawrence University for you.

Not only does this college have a ski hill and a snowshoeing trail, but it also has its own ice hockey team that takes home national championships and accolades every year. 

Ice hockey at St. Lawrence is also a winning sport, taking home a total of two national championships.

The teams can thank the university’s Appleton Arena, a huge on-campus rink that can seat 1,000 spectators, for providing the best space to practice. 🎿

The university is nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, and this prime location (with an annual snowfall of 200 inches) makes winter sports a fun campus activity. ❄

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 42 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $78,000 per year (resident, on-campus)
πŸ“Œ Location: Canton, New York

12. Colorado Mountain College

If you’re looking for a college that can heighten your passion for skiing and snowboarding, then your answer is Colorado Mountain College.

This college lets you pursue degrees in ski and snowboard business, avalanche science, and ski area operations. It also has multiple campuses near the best ski resorts in the world. πŸ‚

female college student wearing green winter gear skiing on a hill covered in snow
Join the winter sports program at Colorado Mountain College and become part of a community that shares your passion. Photo: Fede Roveda/Pexels

Workshops on avalanche safety, ski and snowboard tuning, and ski patrol training are available, making Colorado Mountain a one-stop shop for competitive, adventurous, or ambitious students.

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 100 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $18,000 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Aspen, Colorado

13. University of Wyoming

Sign up and join the ranks of elite skiers, coaches, and racers at the University of Wyoming’s International Nordic Ski Training Program β€” participate in international exchanges and take your skills to the next level. 

With a state-of-the-art indoor training center, top-notch coaching staff, and access to some of the best ski trails in the region, you can compete at the highest levels of collegiate competition! 🎿

UW is situated right in the heart of Wyoming, where winter sports are a way of life. You’ll get to experience local traditions like ice fishing, dog sledding, and cross-country skiing with your fellow athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. πŸ›·

So, what are you waiting for? Come join the Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls and start living your winter sports dreams! 

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 94 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $13,000 per semester (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Laramie, Wyoming

14. University of Vermont            

Step into the frosty paradise of the University of Vermont where students are greeted with fantastic student clubs and facilities, like the Gutterson Fieldhouse.⛸️

To prove that its all for helping student-athletes become great, the school offers discounted lift tickets and equipment rentals through the ski and snowboard clubs. 

male-players-wearing-white-and-blue-uniform-playing-ice-hockey-in-a-rink-at-PyeongChang-Olympics-2018
With top-notch coaches and state-of-the-art facilities, student-athletes can hone their winter sports skills at the University of Vermont. Photo: zhukovsky/Depositphotos  

These top-of-the-line amenities boost your chances of competing in the Olympics (and other world championships). Did you know that there were 12 UVermont students who competed in the Winter Olympics last 2018? πŸ₯‡ 

If that’s a path you want for yourself, you can join the Ski and Snowboard Club or the Nordic Skiing and Biathlon Club to enjoy a different level of training and competition sprinkled with other social activities like fundraising and game nights.Β 

πŸ“š Acceptance Rate: 59 percent 
πŸ’° Tuition and Fees: $36,000 per year (resident, on-campus) 
πŸ“Œ Location: Burlington, Vermont


All of these winter sports colleges are the best at what they do

The right choice is a matter of which of these schools has the best combination of education, extracurriculars, facilities, equipment, and yes, even financial aid.

So, why wait? Take the leap and chase your winter sports dream now!

The Best US Winter Sports Colleges: Frequently Asked Questions

Are there available scholarships for winter sports athletes?

Yes. Winter sports athletes can receive scholarships from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for skiing, subject to various academic requirements

For instance, snowboarders must meet a minimum GPA to be eligible for scholarships and join a college team. Maintaining a high academic record is important for all NCAA sports scholarship recipients to participate in their collegiate sports programs.

Aside from the NCAA, the Women’s Sports Foundation, the National Nordic Foundation, and the United States Ski and Snowboard Foundation also offer financial assistance to student-athletes. 

Yes. US colleges and universities have winter sports teams, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, and figure skating, among others. These teams participate in intercollegiate team competitions such as the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) Championships. In fact, some colleges are known for their winter sports programs and have gained a reputation for producing top-notch athletes in these sports.

NCAA recognizes a diverse range of winter sports, including skiing (both alpine and cross-country), snowboarding, ice hockey, and figure skating. Each of these sports has its own set of guidelines and requirements for eligibility and scholarship opportunities. 

Yes. Winter sports athletes have a variety of career options available to them beyond becoming professional competitors such as coaching, instructing, and sports journalism. 

Other popular paths like sports marketing, event management, and product development are interesting options too. 

Aside from that, athletes can use their personal brand to explore fields such as public speaking, entrepreneurship, or social media influencing.

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