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Ski to your degree: We rank the top 10 colleges for skiers

Published: 11/19/2014
BY FREESKIER MAGAZINE-- College rules—big time. Out-of-this-world parties, gorgeous babes, no parents, spontaneous adventures and plenty of bad (good) decisions to be made along the way. Of course, you might learn a thing or two in the classroom, as well.

Here at FREESKIER, though, it’s our duty to inform you that while you’re hunting for your “perfect fit,” there is one thing, and one thing only, that should weigh heavy above all other factors—namely, how easily will you be able to go skiing at kick-ass resorts if you attend a certain school?

To aid you in your quest for higher shreducation, we’ve compiled a copious amount of data and plugged these numbers into an elaborate algorithm (crafted with the aid of one Christopher Steiner, of zrankings.com. Steiner was a staff writer at the Chicago Tribune and Forbes Magazine; he’s published two books including Automate This, which focuses on the power of algorithms.), that yielded a comprehensive list of the best colleges for skiers. If you’d like to see how the intricate algorithm breaks down, keep reading. If not, skip ahead to see the top ten colleges for skiers in our great nation.

The Scientific Method
We began with 30 schools and narrowed them down to the 10 best, based on 16 factors—each one weighted based on a carefully calculated order of importance.

We multiplied each of these factors’ percentage of its category’s maximum score by the category’s weight factor and summed the results. Head spinning yet? We then reset scores on a 0-99 basis, based again on percent of maximum. The top school scored a 99 according to these criteria. Some categories were scored in steps. For example, 18 nearby resorts isn’t twice as good as nine; so we awarded points based on different tiers: 2-3 resorts within 100 miles was 30 points, 4-5 resorts was 40 and so on to where all schools with 14 or more resorts within 100 miles received the maximum of 100 points. In the case of things like weed legality, we awarded 100 points to schools where you won’t be imprisoned for being at the right party and 0 points to schools where you may find your life diverted, away from skiing, by the state’s judicial system. At any rate, we began with thirty schools, and via this formula, devised a definitive list of the top 10 colleges for skiers.

#1 — University of Utah
The University of Utah is the undisputed king of ski colleges. Located in Salt Lake City, almost every ski area in the state is located within 100-miles, each of which offer up Utah’s abundant, bone-dry snow. The closest resort—Snowbird—is a quick 16-mile drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon, so if you schedule your classes right, you can be nipple deep all morning and still make it back in time for Biology 101.

#4 — Westminster College
Those looking for a more intimate collegiate experience than nearby University of Utah should consider Westminster. Academic help is there when you need it, thanks to a 9:1 student-to-teacher ratio and modest population of 2,295 undergraduates. When it’s time to play, however, Snowbird and Alta are a mere 16 miles away, while resorts like Park City and Canyons are also 26 miles up Interstate 80.
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