Is Skiing the Key to Living Longer?

Jack Conroy |
Is skiing the key to living longer? Data may have the answer. (Photo: Joris Berthelot)

Life expectancy has been falling over the last several years.  Since 2014 the average life expectancy at birth has fallen from 78.9 to 78.6.  Seeing as life expectancy is an important measure of the overall health of the population, this is a rather concerning statistic.

However, life expectancy does vary throughout the country. 

A recent analysis of numbers given by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation gave a list of the top 50 counties in which life expectancy was the longest.  If you look closely at the list, it looks like skiing plays no small role in extending your life.

Right off the bat, number one, two, and three on the list are Summit, Pitkin, and Eagle counties in Colorado.  These three counties house many powerhouse ski resorts such as Aspen, Breckenridge, A-Basin, Copper, Keystone, and Beaver Creek.  Moving down to number seven on the list San Miguel County, also in Colorado and home to Telluride.

It turns out many counties known for skiing tend to have longer average life expectancies. (Photo: Mauro Paillex)

San Miguel is followed up by Fairfax County in Virginia, which, while not much of a ski town now, is in the process of approving proposals for one of the largest indoor ski areas in the world.  Rounding out the top 10 is Douglass County, Colorado, which is close to many of the Colorado ski resorts mentioned above.

(MORE: Teton County, WY is the Healthiest Rural County in the Country)

Continuing into the rest of the top 50 we have Teton County, Wyoming with Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee to name a few, Summit County, Utah with Park City, and about a dozen other Colorado counties all surrounded by plenty of snow and mountains.  This is to say… it seems like skiing might be the secret fountain of youth that no one knows about yet… It seems unlikely that such a high concentration of ski towns would end up on that list by chance, so that must be it!

Skiing definitely promotes a healthy lifestyle (or at least the exercise to compensate for an unhealthy one) and keeps people outside and exercising during the cold harsh months of winter.  While it may not be the sole source of longevity, it definitely can’t hurt, and might even help.  So, get out there and get after it this season and justify the sick day at work knowing that your adding years on to your life!



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6 thoughts on “Is Skiing the Key to Living Longer?

  1. Seniors are ‘forced’ downhill when they need specific senior care, assisted living, or nursing facilities which are rare in the high country. Seniors leave altitude when their health deteriorates.

    I’m a senior. If my season pass expires I hope to have my ski boots on.

    Who knows for sure.

  2. Probably has to do more with economics, ie people who ski tend to be better off financially and those who are better off financially tend to live longer

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