January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and it’s a great time for everyone to learn to ski, including college students. College is usually thought of as a time of experimenting, trying new things and finding yourself in the chaotic world. College is also undoubtedly one of the best times to start a new hobby, to dive headfirst into something that could blossom into a lifelong joy or in some cases, a lifelong obsession. The freedom you have as a college student is unmatched elsewhere in life, and starting off college with a new hobby is a great use of that freedom. This makes college one of the best times to try out skiing and snowboarding, and in Colorado, finding people to share the joy of the slopes with is incredibly easy, and is one of the best ways to make friends when starting school.
Of course, learning to ski in college, or starting to ski more, can be a little intimidating. If you’re from out of state, and have never been at altitudes or on peaks as high as the Rockies, just looking down on the groomers from the chairlift can be a vertigo-inducing moment. The feeling of being left behind by your friends with more advanced skills can also be a bit of a downer. But college is a melting pot of people, and there is probably no easier time in life to find other novice skiers to accompany you on those days when your friends are just a little too fast to keep up with. Because of the large amount of skiers—or people who wish to go skiing— in Colorado’s universities, there is also a good chance that you can find a ride up to the mountains. This not only saves gas, money and the environment, but also is incredibly helpful for those from out of state and without a car who still want to go skiing or snowboarding.
Skiing in college is more than just a fun activity, it’s one of the best natural ways to relax after a hard week of classes. The lesser-talked about therapeutic nature of skiing in college is honestly one of its greatest aspects. Skiing offers students a way to not only unwind and relax, but also to exercise and explore the beautiful nature of alpine Colorado. Nothing helps clear the mind of the stress that comes with tests, papers and GPA’s like gliding across the runs of some of the best ski resorts in the world. Homework and studying become distant problems when you’re sitting on a chairlift. Skiing in college also offers a great opportunity to travel across the state, and to get out of the college “bubble” that surrounds many institutions.
College offers a great opportunity to become involved in the wonderful wacky world of skiing, and to meet others who are either already passionate skiers or are also beginning their skiing and riding journey. It can be challenging to enter the sport for many broke college students. but luckily, being a college student in Colorado means having access to exclusive and wonderful deals that work to bring college skiers to the slopes for cheap. Some of these deals entice college students by offering discounted season passes or lift tickets for ski areas close to the state’s Front Range universities. For example, the Colorado Ski County Gems Card offers two 2-for-1 lift tickets or two 30 percent off single-day lift tickets at each of the 11 Gems resorts.
With discount options for hitting the slopes, college students in Colorado have access to some of the best skiing in the world at lower rates. This, combined with the great opportunity found in Colorado’s colleges to be surrounded by those also passionate about skiing, as well as the increased well-being and just general fun that comes from picking up the sport, makes choosing skiing as a new hobby in college a fantastic idea.
Justin Cygan is a fourth-year student at the University of Denver, where he studies International Relations and Journalism. Born and raised in Colorado, he learned to ski and snowboard at his home mountain of Loveland, where he still regularly rides today. When not chasing pow he can be found skateboarding, writing, reading, cooking and taking pictures in Denver and throughout the state. Justin is the proud father of a year-old aloe plant. Read more of Justin’s stories here.