Photo credit: Courtesy of Wasatch Magazine

There are few places in the world where you can finish a day of classes and still have time to hit the slopes to ski the greatest snow on Earth. Easily accessible outdoor activities are what draw many students to the U.

Rob Jones, co-manager of Outdoor Adventures, said the U’s proximity to the mountains is what attracts countless students. There are outdoor activities close and available year-round, such as skiing or snowboarding in world-class resorts or rock climbing in one of the Wasatch Mountain range’s 3,800 plus climbs.

This is why the U was ranked 19 in the top 20 U.S. colleges for outdoor adventurers, according to the Outbound Collective, an online collection of outdoor-related articles.

In order to help fuel students’ obsession with nature at the U, Outdoor Adventures rents gear for every activity. The gear center is the largest collegiate rental program in the nation, and it is funded by the campus recreation fee, included in student fees.

“[Students] ought to take advantage and come see what we have to offer,” Jones said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for people to get out and experience the best that Utah has to offer.”

Jason Ottem, who recently graduated with a masters of accounting, came to the U from Wisconsin because of the opportunity to ski while in school. Ottem visited Utah for annual ski trips with his dad and one day met an out-of-state student who chose the U for the ski community. Since Ottem enrolled he has met many out-of-state students like him.

“It is literally on the foothills so you can go biking down in the valley or you can go up to the mountains and go hiking and skiing,” he said. “It makes it perfect for students.”

Students such as Ottem often come to Utah for one outdoor activity and become involved in another. The U’s parks, recreation and tourism program offers classes for all students to learn about activities such as yurt camping and whitewater kayaking. Once students complete courses, they can continue to take trips with the Outdoor Adventure Center

For all outdoor sports, the U also publishes an outdoor magazine, Wasatch Magazine, which provides gear reviews, profiles on extreme sport athletes, survival tips and more.

With snowy winters and warm summers, Jones said it is no surprise that people come from all over to attend the U.

“Look out your window,” he said. “This state is unique in that it offers everything. It offers high altitude mountaineering, it offers climbing rock in some of the best rock in the country, it offers world-class river running, you know, the greatest snow on Earth. Let’s face it, it’s true.”

c.webber@dailyutahchronicle.com

@carolyn_webber

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