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SuspiciousFishI graduate from CU in 2010 and met my Wife there then moved to Utah after graduation and she finished her degree at the University of Utah so I am pretty familiar with both. First off, UofU and CU are about as different as you could imagine with schools. Here are the pros and cons of each:
CU is a giant school and is kind of like Disneyland. Its really pretty, there are tons of people and you get nickle and dimed on everything. If you lose your buff card they charge a bunch of money to replace it, parking is really expensive etc. If you go to CU its really important to find a close group of friends or its really easy to get lost in the crowd. We had a saying at CU that you make tons of acquaintances but very few friends. Most of the students at CU are rich kids from Cali, the Midwest and the East Coast.
It sounds like they have improved things but when I went there class sizes were huge and you basically just had lecture halls with TA recitations once a week. I did Business and once you get to Jr and Sr year it gets better with smaller more specialized classes. CU is basically a giant clean slate for you to find friends and interests which is something I liked because I hated my High School class and needed to get away from all that. As for campus life, CU really has a lot to offer. There are tons of clubs and activities and Boulder is fun to check out. Denver is really a central hub for music too with more concerts and festivals than I can even list. The bus system is really good and your card gets you access to the RTD system which means free trips to Denver, DIA etc. On the flip side, most kids just end up getting into the Party scene and spend their time drinking and smoking instead of actual constructive activities. I used to get some strange looks when I was out in the alley waxing my skis at 9:00pm on a Friday then going to bed to catch a pow day instead of partying.
As for skiing, you will need to look hard to find a good ski crew as most kids there are more into the occasional ski trip to Keystone to do blue groomers all day and rock the nicest gear around campus. Thats not to say there arent some dope skiers there, you just have to get lucky or use the internet to get a crew. I was actually in the same dorm hall at Hallet as Nick Martini although I really only chilled with him a couple times. I-70 is a shit show during the weekends but if you can work your class schedule to have Tuesday and Thursday off you can actually get some really good skiing in. Campus is fun as hell for urban skiing when it snows too and you can even hike Chautauqua and build a booter. At the end of the day, the mountains are at least a 2 hr drive so keep that in mind.
UofU is about the opposite of everything I said about CU. Its known as a 'commuter campus' which means most students leave at the end of the day so campus life is actually pretty sparse. Its a quiet campus that is nestled up against the Wasatch mountains with no real night life and SLC really does not have much to offer aside from a few sketchy clubs and some breweries. SLC is not very Mormon aside from the LDS headquarters but you really do feel the presence of the Church everywhere. It sounds weird but its almost like you can literally feel the energy from the temples etc and it makes even non Mormons have this kind of standoffish attitude. We lived in UT for about 6 years and never really made any friends. So unless you already know people, trying to make friends may be a challenge there.
However, if your ok with this, UT is an amazing state for outdoor stuff. Park city is literally 25 min from campus and Alta/Snowbird probably about 35 min so if you are serious about skiing this is the place to be. There is a ton of hiking, mtn biking and jeep trails too and Moab, Bryce Canyon and Zion are really awesome. Utah has some cool lakes as well and the Great Salt lake is interesting although you really only go there once just to see it. Utah literally has an Ocean, Mountains, Deserts and lakes all in one State.
One really bad thing about SLC is the pollution during the winter, the city is basically in a bowl surrounded by mountains so the inversion is horrible. There are days when its literally worse than LA and almost as bad a China. Schools cancel recess and there were some days I could not see 2 traffic lights ahead because the smog was so thick, you can literally taste that shit when you walk down the street. You are also stuck in this little valley with a huge desert to the West and miles of open high plains past the Wasatch to the East so its easy to feel trapped and isolated in the Salt Lake Valley. The views of the mountains are the best in the US though.
So thats the rundown. CU has tons of campus life but can be really pretentious and impersonal, if you can manage it though you will have a ton of fun and never be bored. UofU has little/no campus life but tons of outdoor activities and the best skiing in the US literally minutes away. If you have any other questions just let me know too.
peterkskisGo where you get money or you will pay later. Not a bad idea to stay in sate for tuition because if you want to pick an actual major you wont have as much time as you think to ski. Also no college debt means more skiing later and not having to work 9-5 to pay it all off instead of living some where theres great skiing and not worrying about $500/mo in loans.
benniebooIn Utah, after your first year, you can apply for residency and get in-state tuition rates. That first year may hurt, but in-state and scholarships can make the next couple years significantly easier.
bennieboowhere are you from?