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
The Terrain: It’s impossible to beat having tens of thousands of lift-serviced acres at your fi ngertips, especially when these mountains are complemented by the high-alpine serenity of Lake Tahoe. 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 covering all Tahoe has to offer, but Mammoth Mountain is roughly three and a half hours away if you need a weekend change of scenery.
The Team: SNC is the dominant program on the USCSA circuit and typically features athletes capable of winning national titles at NCAA champs, too.