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Western student racing down a technical rock garden at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Mountain Sports

Supporting a lifetime of alpine adventures.

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There is no better place for Mountain Sports than Western Colorado University. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, you can snowboard, run trails, mountain and road bike competitively and recreationally in world-class terrain. This unique opportunity will prepare you for success beyond your time at Western, while supporting your passion for alpine adventures. To see our teams in action, check out the Mountain Sports Instagram and Facebook pages.

Alpine

Competitive skiier taking a sharp turn on the slope in front of a treeline and the lift

World-class skiing in your backyard.

Western’s Alpine team has an excellent advantage of training in gates multiple times per week at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The team competes in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) and travels to races throughout Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. The Alpine season culminates with regionals and a chance to qualify for nationals. Experienced coaching and great time on snow makes Western’s alpine program perfect for athletes looking to take their skiing to the next level and participate in amazing team camaraderie. 

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Need for speed

Alpine athlete Ella Engelhard competes in a home slalom race in Crested Butte, Colorado

Climbing

Top-down view of a rock climber reaching up to clip his rope into a carabiner while holding onto the wall with one hand.

The perfect training ground for climbers.

 Just minutes from campus, student-athletes can find excellent locations for bouldering, sport climbing, and traditional climbing. Climbing team members can chase improvement and accomplishments at any level of the sport. Western’s climbing team travels throughout Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico for competitions and to experience some of the most renowned climbing spots in the country.

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Climbing higher

A member of the climbing team scales a rock face during a trip to El Rito, New Mexico.

Freeride

Snowboarder

Expansive terrain for freeride skiing and snowboarding.

Whether you come to Western with a history of competing in the Junior Freeride Series or are an avid skier/snowboarder looking to dabble in competition, Western’s Freeride team and expert coaches are ready to help you succeed. Training at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, members of the Freeride team have opportunities to travel and compete nationally and internationally, depending on an athlete’s goals and commitment. The team competes throughout the spring in the International Free Skiers Association (IFSA) Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) events.

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Fresh air

Students from Western’s Freeride team compete in the Targhee Collegiate Freeride Series in Wyoming.

Mountain Bike

Mountain Biking

Train with one of the strongest Mountain Bike Teams in the country.

 With multiple DII national titles, Western’s mountain bike team is among the strongest in the nation. The team competes in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference (RMCCC) and practices regularly throughout the season, building for a strong showing at the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships. Whether you are focused on downhill or cross country, Western’s mountain bike coaches and fellow athletes will help you achieve your goals.

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Kicking up dust

A Western mountain bike athlete races down the trail in the local Pagan Pedal downhill race

Nordic

A woman with a ponytail and sunglasses nordic skiing and wearing a red, Western ski uniform

Join Western’s powerhouse Nordic Team.

 Western’s Nordic ski team is among the best in the nation, with both men and women landing spots on the podium at nationals in 2022. The team competes in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) and attends 10-15 races throughout the season. Along with competing for top spots on a national level, members of Western’s Nordic team have also represented the United States at the World University Games on an international stage. The Nordic team is a great place for dedicated athletes to hone their skills and pursue collegiate skiing with like-minded teammates.

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Endurance matters

Nordic skier Bria Rickert competes in a Super Tour race in Sun Valley, Idaho

Ski Mountaineering

People hiking up a snowy mountain with ski poles and ski's strapped to their backs at high altitudes.

A Ski Mountaineering program unlike any other in the U.S.

Between Monarch Ski Area, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the surrounding backcountry, Western is in the ideal location for ski mountaineering (skimo). Skimo, a rapidly growing sport that will soon make its Olympic debut, incorporates both uphill and downhill skiing in an incredibly adventurous and gritty race format. Western’s skimo athletes compete on a national level with opportunities to travel and compete internationally as well.

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The perfect combination

Skimo teammates Jack Breezley and Sam Burke climb a steep ascent during a race in Kicking Horse, British Columbia

Trail Running

Trail Running

Western is home to America’s most prolific collegiate Trail Running Team.

 The Gunnison Valley, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, provides incredible training grounds for the most prominent collegiate trail running team in the nation. The trail running team is perfect for student-athletes looking to challenge themselves with a variety of goals and support their teammates, whether they are after a podium spot or looking to complete a new distance. The team trains and races year-round, with training trips to some of Colorado’s most sought after trails.

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Trail blazing

Trail runner Meghan Forbes competes in the Cart to Cart half marathon in Crested Butte.

Mountain Sports News

Bria Rickert competes in a ski mountaineering race.

Western Skimo Athlete Brianna Rickert Aims for Olympic Gold

Read More about Western Skimo Athlete Brianna Rickert Aims for Olympic Gold
Western's Nordic ski team poses for a photo in Crested Butte after a competition

Western Nordic Wins At Home, Alpine Take On Powderhorn

Read More about Western Nordic Wins At Home, Alpine Take On Powderhorn
Mountain Sports Scholarship Fund: Bringing Outdoor Athletes to New Heights

Mountain Sports Scholarship Fund: Bringing Outdoor Athletes to New Heights

Read More about Mountain Sports Scholarship Fund: Bringing Outdoor Athletes to New Heights
Western Nordic Wins National Championship

Western Nordic Wins National Championship

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Western student athlete traversing a snowy mountain

Western Athletes Compete at Skimo World Championships

Read More about Western Athletes Compete at Skimo World Championships
Western trail runner competing

Trail Running Team Earns High Rankings in an International Race

Read More about Trail Running Team Earns High Rankings in an International Race
Nordic Ski team memer

Western Nordic Skiers Head to International Collegiate Games

Read More about Western Nordic Skiers Head to International Collegiate Games
Western adds Climbing Team for Fall ‘19 semester

Western adds Climbing Team for Fall ‘19 semester

Read More about Western adds Climbing Team for Fall ‘19 semester
Western trail runners to compete in Europe for 2nd straight summer

Western trail runners to compete in Europe for 2nd straight summer

Read More about Western trail runners to compete in Europe for 2nd straight summer
Western celebrates 10th annual Rail Jam

Western celebrates 10th annual Rail Jam

Read More about Western celebrates 10th annual Rail Jam

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Giving

Western Colorado University’s Mountain Sports program provides collegiate student athletes with opportunities to compete in trail running, climbing, mountain biking, road cycling, nordic skiing, alpine skiing, freeride skiing and snowboarding, and ski mountaineering. Our professional coaches and structured training give athletes opportunities to excel at the highest level in their respective mountain sport(s) alongside their academic pursuits. Giving to a Mountain Sports team provides enhanced opportunities for travel and offsets costs, such as team dues, that student athletes have to otherwise afford. Donors may choose to support athlete dues scholarships, or contribute towards other causes such as team travel.


Mountain Sports Summit Society

Donors who contribute $1,000 or greater are recognized as members of the Mountain Sports Summit Society. Summit Society members are a key part of the Mountain Sports family. Summit Society members will be informed of future opportunities for involvement as well as quarterly program updates. Give now and become part of the team!

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Take the Next Step

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Students pose for a photo on top of Mount Crested Butte in the summer

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We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.

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Colorado Hall with the Palisades in the background on a bluebird day.

Visit
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The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.

Alumni
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A group of four alumni look at an old photo that one of them picked up from a selection of photos that were printed and laid out for the Ski Team Social event.

Alumni
Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.

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A few students pose for a photo behind the Multicultural Center table at the Admitted Student Day Club Fair.

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Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.