America’s top 10 college ski racing programs — for slopes beyond the race arena BY BRYCE HUBNER
U.S. News & World Report famously publishes its “Best
Colleges” rankings each fall. We recently examined the 2011 list
and found the absence of ski-specific criteria unacceptable.
With that in mind, we evaluate the 10 best NCAA and USCSA
college ski teams by a nontraditional standard: access to phenomenal terrain. Because sometimes you gotta put the books
and the race skis away and study with a snorkel instead.
1. Sierra Nevada College Incline Village, Nevada
The Terrain: It’s impossible to beat having tens of thousands of
lift-serviced acres at your fingertips, especially when these moun-
SAMON EVANS ( 2)
tains are complemented by the high-alpine serenity of Lake Tahoe.
UAA physics lesson
Sierra Nevada College boasts super-easy access to more than
a dozen hotspots. Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Heavenly
Mountain Resort are within a 40-minute drive. Kirkwood, Sugar
Bowl, and Northstar are also stone’s-throw destinations. Perhaps
best of all, the SNC ski team trains at Diamond Peak, a mere five
minutes from campus. You probably won’t come close to cov-
ering all Tahoe has to offer, but Mammoth Mountain is roughly
three and a half hours away if you need a weekend change of
The Team: SNC is the dominant program on the USCSA circuit
on Alyeska’s Headwall.
and typically features athletes capable of winning national titles
at NCAA champs, too.
2. TIE: University of Colorado, Boulder;
University of Denver
Boulder, Colo.; and Denver, Colo.
The Terrain: The two most accomplished schools in college ski
racing tie for second, and they’re behind SNC only because their
campuses are a little farther from the slopes. Some 22 miles up
Boulder Canyon, CU’s nearest quality option is the quaint and
cozy Eldora Mountain Resort, where 12 lifts serve the more than