Perhaps you are considering attending Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado, but you are wondering “Is this really for me?” or maybe you need a few more reasons to use in your “I’m not going JUST so that I can ski/snowboard all the time” argument against your parents.  While I can neither decide for you whether CMC is right for you, nor convince your parents that you do plan to actually attend your classes, hopefully the following 43 reasons as to why Leadville is a great place to live and CMC- Leadville is a great school to attend classes at, will help you out.

  1. Leadville is the highest incorporated city (10,152 feet) in the United States.  At 10,152 feet, CMC- Leadville is the highest college campus in the country.  Leadville also has the highest airport (9,927) and golf course (9,680) in the country.
  2. Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,433) and Mt. Massive (14,421) reside in Lake County (the county that Leadville is in).  Leadville is also home to North America’s highest mountain pass.
  3. If Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive are not enough for you, there are more than 50 other 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado for your climbing pleasure.  Two of them- Mount Evans and Pike’s Peak, can be driven up.
  4. It snows 140 – 200 inches a year (depending on what website you look at), which can occur during any month of the year.  Some of the really dedicated manage to ski/snowboard every month of the year. 
  5. The record high temperature, which occurred in 1954, was 86 degrees.
  6. Leadville averages 310 days of sunshine a year.
  7. Leadville… well, pretty much Colorado in general… is GORGEOUS! 
  8. Leadville is historic.  It has seven museums and an opera house.  The Leadville Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961.  It includes 67 mines in the mining district east of the city.  There is also a Historic Walking Tour that goes through town.
  9. Camp Hale and the training site for the 10th Mountain Division are a 20-minute drive away.
  10. Scenic/Historic drives such as the Route of the Silver Kings and the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic National Byway
  11. There are lots of ghost towns to explore.
  12. Leadville offers several dining choices from a coffee shop; to Gringos, Subway, and Burrito Bus which are Leadville’s version of fast food; cafes and diners; Chinese and Mexican restaurants; pizzerias; and fine dining.
  13. Shopping opportunities include antique stores, bike shops, ski shops, bookstores, souvenir shops, and clothing stores.  There are also several art galleries in town.
  14. Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon, which are within 45 minutes of Leadville offer a vast selection of dining locations, a movie theater, Walmart, and Target.  The Outlets at Silverthorne includes Aeropostale, Bath and Body Works, Calvin Klein, Coach, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, Famous Footwear, Guess, Journeys, Levi’s, Lucky Jeans, Nike, Old Navy, Pac Sun, Rue 21, and Zumiez; among other stores.
  15. When you really want to get out of town, Denver is a mere 103 miles away, Colorado Springs is 128 miles away, and Grand Junction is 175 miles away.
  16. Skiing and snowboarding!  Monarch, Ski Cooper, Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain, Loveland, A*Basin, Keystone, and Breckenridge are all within an hour (in ‘perfect’ weather).  Ski Cooper’s Chicago Ridge, Copper Mountain, and Monarch all have snowcat skiing also. 
  17. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular in the winter on the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville.  During the summer, the Mineral Belt Trail can be walked, biked, or skated.
  18. Fishing, ice fishing, and hunting
  19. Mountain biking, road biking, four wheeling, snowmobiling, and horseback riding
  20. Rock climbing and ice climbing
  21. Whitewater kayaking and rafting
  22. Swimming at the Lake County Aquatic Center
  23. Sleigh rides, dog sledding, snow tubing, and ice skating
  24. Backpacking/mountaineering and hiking
  25. Several 10th Mountain Association Backcountry Huts are nearby
  26. The annual skijoring competition that happens in March.  From the skijoring website, “Ski Joring is a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps and rings.  The skier is timed through the course, and penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping any of the rings.  The competitors race for cash prizes and teams are made up by a random draw before the start.”
  27. The Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp, Leadville Trail Marathon, Leadville Trail Heavy Half Marathon, Leadville Silver Rush 50-Mile Mountain Bike race, Leadville Silver Rush 50-Mile Trail Run, the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race, LT100 10K Run, Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run, and 24 Hours of Leadville Mountain Bike Race all take place over the summer.
  28. The CMC rail jam which is organized by the Ski Area Operations Events Management class
  29. Leadville has been involved in 6 movies, a Super Bowl XXX commercial, The Ballad of Baby Doe (an opera), Jimmy Buffet’s Incommunicado, and 6 books.  The 6 movies were The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Silver King, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Silver City, Switchback, and Day of the Dead.  Books set in Leadville include Angle of Repose, Plague Year, Plague War, Denver Cereal, The Canary Trainer, and Born to Run.
  30. Nine athletes from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games studied at Colorado Mountain College.
  31. CMC graduates include: Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Pat Davison, NASA researcher and Professor Dr. Aileen O’Donoghue, E-commerce pioneer Michael O’Hara, Colorado Veterinary Technician of the Year Leslie Rockey, and US Dept. of Interior Conservationist of the Year Sherri Griffith.
  32. Famous residents include Jesse Fuller McDonald who was the mayor of Leadville before becoming the Governor of Colorado in 1905; Barry Sadler, an American songwriter; and Horace and Baby Doe Tabor.
  33. Each residence hall room has its’ own bathroom with shower. 
  34. On campus there is an 18-hole disc golf course, a 20-station fitness trail, and 8 kilometers of cross-country ski trails.  The 12.5 mile Mineral Belt trail can also be accessed from campus.
  35. On-campus events include concerts, films, mentalists, visits from authors, and basketball tournaments.
  36. The new Climax Center on campus offers an indoor rock climbing wall, a fitness center, and a gymnasium.
  37. Programs at the Timberline (Leadville and Buena Vista) campus include Ski Area Operations, Ski Patrol Operations, Slope and Trail Maintenance, Ropeway Maintenance Technician (America’s only certification in ski lift & ropeway maintenance!), Natural Resource Management, Historic Preservation, Resort Management, Geographic Information Systems, Outdoor Education, and Outdoor Recreation Leadership.  Professional Fly Fishing Guide, EMT, and Forestry Technician certificates are also available.
  38. Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of General Studies, Accounting, Business, Criminal Justice, Entrepreneurship, Office Administration, Paralegal, Early Childhood, Nursing, Biology, Chemistry, Information Security Specialist, and Physics programs are also offered.
  39. Class sizes are small
  40. Friendly faculty- A recent Student Engagement Survey rated CMC faculty & staff highest in Colorado for helpfulness, availability, and flexibility.
  41. The overall service area of Colorado Mountain College includes 15/25 of the top ski areas in Colorado.
  42. CMC grants associates degrees which can be transferred to other schools in the state.  They are also in the process of being able to offer select Bachelor’s degree programs!
  43. Colorado Mountain College is quite diverse.  Their 11 campuses serve 9 counties, with students coming from 45 states and 6 countries.