Ski Area Operations at Colorado Mountain College

Earn a college degree in Ski Area Operations from Colorado Mountain College

Put your passion to work with a degree in Ski Area Operations at Colorado Mountain College — our program is one of two offered in the entire country!

With five major mountain resorts, including Breckenridge and Vail, about an hour from campus, the Ski Area Operations program keeps you close to the sport you love and well-versed on the latest industry trends.

The Ski Area Operations degree at Colorado Mountain College is the most comprehensive training program of its kind in the nation, and the only one in the heart of Rocky Mountain ski country.

CMC Ski Area Operations graduates are distinguished by their blend of technical and hands-on training. From home base in Leadville, they take their skills to work in mountain resorts all over the world.

Prepare for a job in:

  • Lift installation
  • Ski area design and management
  • Mountain operations
  • Safety management

In addition to an Associate of Applied Science: Ski Area Operations, you can earn certificates in:

Get real experience at world-class Colorado ski resorts

The best way to learn Ski Area Management is to experience it first-hand. Drive a snow groomer. Help build a new ski trail. Repair a gondola. Colorado Mountain College's epic locale and hands-on philosophy give you the chance to actively work on some of the most notable slopes in the nation.

Hands-on opportunities to:

  • Work on major ski competitions such as the World Cup races
  • Be involved in large-scale international events
  • Network with high-level ski and snowboard professionals
  • Intern at any winter resort in the world
  • Learn about the wide range of mountain conditions
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology

Required internships take students to their choice of any winter resort in the world. As an intern you are paid regular wages and can expect guidance and supervision from both ski area management personnel and your Colorado Mountain College Ski Area Operations instructors. Many students make contacts during their internships that lead directly to employment.

Program News

Colorado ski couple work the hill, South Korean style

South Korea is over 6,000 miles away from Colorado, but when it comes to the ski industry, it’s surprisingly close.

Nobody knows that better than Allison Kohn Marriner and her husband, Geoff “Salty” Marriner, both alumni of Colorado Mountain College Leadville’s ski area operations program. The couple was hired 15 months ago to join an international team of seasoned professionals producing the 2018 Winter Olympics and the XII Paralympic Winter Games at Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

CMC work backbone of Leadville ski joring course

The ski area operations program at Colorado Mountain College Leadville has been helping to make Leadville Ski Joring a success for over 20 years. To create the event course, the county deposits 250 dump truck loads of snow onto Harrison Avenue. Then two CMC faculty- and student-driven snowcats cruise from the campus, along the Mineral Belt, and to the top of Capitol Hill.

Every year students in the Grooming Lab class enter a lottery to have the honor of working the event. This year’s winning ’cat drivers are Brad Holmes and Matt Davis.

Graduate: Grooming Around the World

While Karen Bruce Gilliot was growing up in Belle Vernon, a little borough outside Pittsburgh, she skied at Seven Springs. It’s a Pennsylvania ski area that tops out at just less than 3,000 feet, and is about an hour drive from the Bruce family house.

Today, Gilliot lives, skis and works as a snowcat groomer in Les Arcs, a collection of four resorts in the midst of the French Alps. Surrounded by 10,000-foot peaks and with a view of Mont Blanc, Les Arcs hosted speed skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics. The resort has more than 150 lifts and covers over 260 miles of runs.