Top 5 Study Abroad Destinations for Skiing and Snowboarding

by Justin Reiter

There are countless opportunities to study abroad all over the world. However, the opportunity to study and ride world class resorts exists only in a few select locations. Studying in these locations is afforded to those who are willing to think outside the box and place a focus on not only academic studies abroad, but also adventure. Studying abroad in one of the following locations will present challenges, but also huge rewards off campus.

Justin shredding in El Colorado, Chile
Justin shredding in El Colorado, Chile. Photo by Josh Wylie

The first two of these unique study abroad destinations lie in the southern hemisphere. With the opposite seasons taking place when compared to the northern hemisphere, students looking to study abroad during the summer months will challenge their summertime brain and feed their winter time hunger for snow by choosing these locations.

Santiago, Chile

The capital city of Chile, Santiago, offers up the chance to study abroad at the University of Santiago, the University of Chile, or with a host of program providers. Both Universities are strategically located within one hour of two of Chile's premier ski resorts, El Colorado and Valle Nevado. Both lie just east of the capital and at the gateway to the Chilean Andes. The mountains are as diverse as they are expansive. El Colorado offers more mellow terrain, and good value for study abroad students on a tight budget, while Valle Nevado offers up some of the best terrain in the world, as well as world class amenities. The University is also two and a half hours away from Portillo and a short flight from Ski Pucon, Thermas de Chilan, La Parva, Coralco. Opportunities for Spanish language intensive programs are also available in Santiago for those looking to boost their language skills during their time studying abroad in Chile.

Queenstown, New Zealand

The University of Otago based in Dunedin offers students studying in New Zealand access to nine of New Zealand's South Island premier ski resorts. Students can venture from Dunedin on the coast into one of the Christchurch-Canterbury, Mount Cook Mackenzie, Queenstown-Wanaka ski centers. Ski resorts are an average of three hours away from Dunedin and offer all types of terrain and views.

Innsbruck, Austria

Having hosted the winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976 Innsbruck Austria is no stranger to Winter sport. Innsbruck boasts 310 miles of trails in over 25 surrounding ski villages. While studying abroad in Austria, students can easily access all of the resorts through a free bus system that transports skiers and riders. The University of Innsbruck is one of Austria's oldest and most renowned educational institutions, and provides study abroad opportunities for international students.

Vancouver, Canada

Another Winter Olympic alumni site offering world class skiing and riding is Vancouver, Canada. Within five hours drive, students have access to six different ski resorts. The closest being Grouse Mountain, a mere 15 minutes away. Just two hours outside of Vancouver, skiers and riders have access to Whistler Blackcomb Resort, one of the world’s most epic destinations for skiing and riding. Overall, the six resorts surrounding the Vancouver area offer a lifetimes worth of adventure. On the educational side Vancouver is home to three different universities, for study abroad students to choose from: The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and Thomson Rivers University. A host of study abroad programs are also offered by non-university providers too.

Hokkaido, Japan

Five ski resorts encircle Hokkaido University in Sapporo, one of Japan's oldest school's, with impressive course offerings which enhance this powder paradise. The overall prowess of the University, the close proximity of five resorts, and the amount of snow that falls in Hokkaido make studying in Hokkaido a most unique and rewarding experience for skiers and snowboarders alike.

Whether you’re looking to ski or snowboard, these five destinations offer not only snow adventures, but quality study abroad programs that will help you to go for the gold!