Lets face it: You came to CU to board Vails back bowls like the star of a Warren Miller movie.

Let’s be real for a second here.

We all know you came to the University of Colorado to ski. Or climb. Getting your bachelor’s degree is an added benefit of spending four years in Colorado’s outdoor playground — but it’s not the primary reason you’re here.

If your folks are paying the bills, though, you might want to come off as a little more academic than you really are.

Just borrow

One way to hide gear (see No. 4 on this list) is not owning it. The CU Outdoor Program can help with that — they rent tents, sleeping bags, snowshoes and more. Check their site, colorado.edu/rec-center/outdoorprogram , for pricing on rentals and a schedule of their outdoor courses through the semester.

So try these five tips for seeming like a totally on-the-ball brainiac:

1 Wear Glasses

Glasses make you look more studious.

Climbers, admit it: Cedar Wright looks like he reads Tolstoy on bivies just because he wears glasses.

Skiers, admit this: Glen Plake doesn’t look like a studious chap — even if he is — because he has a rainbow mohawk (Do unicorns and leprechauns live in his hair? That would be rad!) and doesn’t wear glasses.

But if Plake wore glasses, you’d take his mohawk as a sign of both rebellion and genius.

OK, his skiing is totally genius. But yours isn’t there yet, so get some glasses, you academic gaper.


2 Prepare excuses

When Mom and Dad call on weekends, you’ll probably be off climbing or skiing or playing in some other equally dangerous way.

Help the academic illusion when you get around to returning their calls by trying some of the following excuses for your wasted post-skiing state (these excuses can also be used for explaining a hangover):

“I’m tired from helping my friend Janey study for her psych test.” (Truth: We were so psyched about our first Cat-skiing day of the season at Steamboat that we couldn’t sleep, so we drove through the night.)

“I’m tired because I stayed up super late making sure my medieval lit paper would get the highest grade in the class.” (Truth: You bootpacked as high as you could in the Montezuma Bowl to maximize your shredding like 18 times today.)

“I’m tired from identifying and mapping sandstone all day during my geology field trip.” (Truth: You got off-route in Eldo. It rained and the topo you printed and pocketed got wet and blurred. You almost died on a 5.11 runout and rappelled in the dark.)

3 Lie to Grandma

Grandma loves you. So lie to her.

The theory: Grandma is your protectress within the fam. If she thinks you’re working hard at school (studying, not skiing), she’ll tell your aunts and uncles and cousins and parents all about it.

She’s so proud of you, sweetie!

The grandma-pride trickle-down won’t fool your folks, but it might stop them from embarrassing you by talking about your lackluster grades in front of the whole fam at Thanksgiving dinner. Your little lie will make the holidays more pleasant for everyone.

Just don’t forget to kiss Grams when you see her and compliment her pumpkin pie, liar.

4 Hide the evidence

Your folks sent you money for books. You used it to buy new snowboarding boots.


When the folks come to visit for Homecoming weekend, do some personal housekeeping. Hide your gear — especially anything newly acquired at the Sports Recycler or the Pro’s Closet — and dust off your desk so it looks used.

Wear baggy clothes to hide the fact that you’re super fit, but complain to them about gaining a Freshman 15.

And if you just have to go crack climbing before they show up, tape thoroughly so your hands aren’t gobied into hamburger, which you’d have to explain.

Oops… your rope is sticking out from under your sheets.

(Note: Wash all gear before spooning with it.)

5 Get one ‘A’

You’ll need at least one tangible take-home result from this semester to convince the ‘rents to let you come back in January (and this is a must, because otherwise you’ll miss most of ski season).

Here’s your plan: Sign up for a class you can ace. Like a journalism class. After that first “A,” tell the ‘rents you’re good at this and love it and want to major in journalism.

Pause for dramatic effect before you tell them you want to be a writer.

Now they have something completely different to worry about.

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