College Bound, Mountain Loving, Die Hard Skier? Good News For You!

I can see it now, the furrowed brows, the questioning stares planted on the faces of parents across America when their outdoor loving offspring, soon to be high school grads announce the news, Colorado Mountain College is going to be offering a four-year degree.

Well, that is what happens when you turn your kids on to skiing and other high altitude adventures early on, the mountains get into their blood! And as for Colorado mountain locals, this will be a great opportunity for those wanting to stay close to home.

In all seriousness, this is great news. Earning your college degree living the lifestyle you love? Some will say, “distracting”. And for some, it would be and in that case, not the best choice. For others though (myself included), it is the polar opposite, creativity, productivity and motivation increase exponentially after a morning, afternoon, or even just an hour outside on a mountain trail.

Skiingmag.com’s article last month Colorado Mountain College to Offer Four-Year Program talks about this new program. Colorado Mountain College is looking to have up to five new four-year degree programs in place by the fall 2011.

Colorado Mountain College is one of the few colleges that does have campuses in the hearts of ski towns, and now the school is working to offer academic-oriented ski bums even more learning. CMC is currently a 2-year community college, but starting in 2011 students can earn a 4-year bachelor’s degree at the base of their favorite ski hill. They have 11 campuses including locations at ski areas such as Steamboat, Aspen, Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, Dillon, Leadville, and Edwards. On powder days you can literally ski in the morning and go to class in the afternoon.

Interesting term, “academic-oriented ski bums”. True though, there are more than a few highly intelligent career minded individuals who choose to spend all their free time in the great outdoors recreating in high altitude.

Colorado Senator Dan Gibbs pushed the bill because he thinks it’s important that people living in the mountains have the same opportunities for higher education as everyone else in the state. “We’re mountain people,” he said.

Summit Daily News article quotes the former president of the Summit County School District Board of Education about the effect on the Colorado mountain communities.

“Currently, mountain communities are exporting their residents because they can’t get four-year degrees in their towns,” she said. “This new law will stimulate our local economies by home-growing our own college grads who may become teachers or business owners in our communities. And we’ll increase rural accessibility. This will expand economic development in the mountain areas.”

So rejoice mountain people, the Colorado high country is on its way to being the next best place to earn your four year college degree.

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