So the question often comes up here about college vs skiing choices and I thought it might be helpful to provide a reflection for people.
Skiing alone is not worth the sacrifices I made. I didn't get grad school out of the Air Force Academy like I wanted and I ended up in Albuquerque which was one of my last choices. However, the friends I made and the self discovery were well worth it. What I mean by this is that I am extremely glad I didn't go to college with all my old friends and close to my parents. I grew a lot as a person because of it.
So let's give the background information:
I grew up in Atlanta and began skiing in 6th grade( aroudn 11 yrs old). That however was onyl because some family friends moved to Breckenridge and I skied less then a year a week. I immediately fell in love with the sport and bugged my parents noon stop about it. So college rolled around and I was given a choice between Ga Tech and the Air Force Academy. Both are high ranked engineering schools ( well the academy is technically a liberal arts school now). I immediately chose the Academy and while there where several driving factors a big one was the proximity to skiing. (Full disclosure: both my parents where military but ask them 5 yrs ago and they would likely tell you neither of us would end up military and some how both of us did.) No one I knew would have predicted me going to the academy. I was infamous on my cross country team for losing stuff and kinda being the opposite of what you would picture for the military
The actual reflection:
Living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Limited number of local friends
I am now 5 months out of the academy and while I may eventually look back in 20 years and have additionally opinions I think I have some insight that can benefit the people that often come looking here for the answer about skiing vs education.
The Academy provided a unique situation that will certainly not be for everyone but I did chose it largely because of skiing. To provide the amount of skiing I did:
Freshmen year: aprox 20 days
Sophomore: aprox 25 days
Junior: over 30 days
Senior: aprox 50 days
To be upfront I did often put skiing before school and to be honest at the risk of sounding arrogant, I was lucky to be smart enough to pull it off. It's not something I would recommend.
If response shows interest I will elaborate on the subject