If you're thinking about school to keep busy, find community college classes around where you are now that will be transferable to an array of schools.
Basing your school decision on proximity to the slopes is probably not the best idea. Think about it; if you're basing your decision on where to ride, you're not so much concerned with school, but with snowboarding. You won't get the most for your money if you're distracted like that. I live in CT, and I went to UConn, and during the winter of my sophomore year, I would go to a 9 AM class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, race back to my dorm, pack my car, zip to the nearest slope (2 hours away), ride for a couple of hours, zip back to campus, unload the car, change, and run to a 6 PM class. My GPA tanked. I didn't give two flying shits about school. I just wanted to be snowboarding.
After transferring schools and a whole mess of shit, I took a year off from school. I rode, relaxed, worked on some art and photography, fulfilled my mental and artistic needs, and then after a year went back to finish my degree. My GPA had never been higher. I found my courses to be more manageable, and more fulfilling. The material was easier to comprehend. My head was in the game.
I was able to pull my GPA up enough that I have some choices now for graduate school, should I ever choose to go that route.
I don't think that college should be the final decision on your career path. I don't think it can be. So many people have degrees now. To be set apart from that, you have to invest in even more schooling. I do feel that an education is valuable if, and only if, you have the thirst for the knowledge. If you are learning things you aren't interested in, you are wasting money. I know. I did it.
I learned more traveling and reading books than I did in college classrooms. But that's just what works better for me. I like to learn things. I get stuck on things and then try to find as much information as I can about that particular subject until I'm bored with it, and then I move on to something else. Some people find the structure of schooling is best for them. It's all preference.
If you want the education for yourself, and it's a goal you have, go for it. If you're not really into it and you're just looking for something to kill some down time, head to the library and educate yourself, or enroll in a few community college classes that interest you. Explore some things and get some knowledge before you commit yourself to something you might not enjoy in six months.
I would avoid online classes unless you're already enrolled in an accredited institution (like a state college) that offers online options. I took classes through UConn online, and they were OKAY. I didn't learn much. I just did what I had to in order to get by. But these schools like University of Pheonix, etc. are institution based on profit (check out PBS Frontline's episode College, Inc.). You might learn some stuff, and you'll end up with a degree, but you'll pay out the ass for it, and it's not going to guarantee you any kind of job placement.
Also, depending on your age, you could qualify for financial aid. I believe you have to be 24 to be considered an independent, so if you're under 24 and your parents make some loot, don't expect anything from the government. But, if you've got some kids, you can get a ton of money. Yea. Figure that shit out...
As far as fucking up things you love by turning them into a job... I don't think it's so much that. It's more along the lines of... You realize what the industry you want into is made of, and a lot of times it's a lot dirtier than you could have imagined. I transfered to a design school in NYC for a semester, and it disgusted me. I was studying photography and taking a real interest in darkroom techniques, and crafting great images, and my professors couldn't stand me. They loved the coked out gay kid who kept taking photos of him and his roommates, scantily clad in their bathtub because it was "edgy" and they liked his "aesthetic." Basically, they were trying to churn out fashion photographers because that's where the money is in that industry. Art is one of those industries that sucks the soul out of you as you get deeper into the commercial aspects of it.
My two cents...