Go Ski & Be Happy


Photograph by  joedesperado ©2012-2013

“Planning a skiing vacation? The sheer pleasure and excitement that humans experience on skis, a snowboard or other downhill mountain paraphernalia,  undoubtedly enhances one’s happiness, producing more serotonin than perhaps any pill can.    This is based on personal experience, hitting the slopes with buddies.  Funny, how science often proves, what we know to be true, as really true.

It’s official.  Plan your ski vacation now and, barring any unforeseen circumstance, you’ll increase your happiness levels, according to an article published  in Springer’s Journal called “Applied Research in Quality of Life” by Hyun-Woo Lee and colleagues from Yonsei University in the Republic of Korea.

According to the release dropped this week   “… even one-off skiing trips can give you a valuable boost in pleasure and well-being.”  So there’s no reason to delay your ski-vacation,  even it’s the only one you are planning this wintery season.

How wonderful is life when science and skiing cross paths and participants get an all-inclusive, paid snowboarding vacation,  in resorts in the French Alps,  Switzerland’s St. Moritz,  Zermatt or Davos,  Colorado’s  Aspen,  Vail, or   Copper Mountains, or perhaps Mt Baker, Washington …… ok… that’s not in the study, though,  can’t we dream of the places that “science meets pleasure. ”   Where we get to go on vacation to prove something that we already know.   The bottom line is clear.  If you want your family to love you and feel that real holiday spirit, then plan your ski vacation now.

A slightly more interesting perspective, or prospective ski study, would be to figure out the difference between what your mood level is from the time you get to the ski-lift,  reach the top of the mountain,  select the black diamond, or not,  and make your way down the slope to the bottom.

Perhaps all you need is your Jawbone or some other monitoring device to do this.   There seems to be no need for MRI’s or fancy scientific equipment.  Perhaps just a simple questionnaire or voice activated recording,  with geo-location capabilities, of course,  that triggers you with a complex question, such as “how are you feeling right this moment.”  Say or press  “1” for ecstasy  “2”  excited  “3”  fearful  “4”  happy  …..  You get the idea.

Any info. on how to apply for a scientific grant to do this study?  I’m in the mood to ski.   What about you?   Think about it.   Each run is always different.   Perhaps we can study ski resorts around the world,  run by run,  resort by resort,  and then do an overall comparison of where people experience the most happiness on each mountain. More specifically we can propose to identify exactly where on each slope we felt the happiest.   Was it in Copper, while in one of the bowls, or in Vail as we finished one of the long, wide runs of Riva Ridge, Born Free, Simba,Lodgepole, or Bear Tree? You got the picture.

One thing is certain,  as long as you make it down the run,  you always arrive at the base a lot happier than you were when your first got into the line to go up the mountain.   It’s after the run that eyes are sparkling,  smiles are bigger,  and there is an overall sense of feeling really good.   And isn’t that what vacations are about anyway?

So how many runs would it take to turn that frown into a smile?   Perhaps just visualizing the run could do it as you avoid any possible frost bite,  standing in line,  strained muscles,  and freak accidents.

Nah, that’s not living.    To live,  as an adult, and be truly happy and fulfilled requires us to turn to a more child like state. “Adult playfulness can influence people’s happiness, while activities and socially convening around a sporting activity such as skiing have positive psychological outcomes and contribute to overall well-being,” said Hyun-Woo Lee.   Just writing this article and thinking about skiing has put me in a better mood.

Now what if we studied the impact of who you went skiing with on your happiness level.  I mean, would it make a difference whether you took the run with a lover,  your spouse,  your entire family, or a group of friends.

Happy Trails! Oh, and Holidays from VacationDiggs!

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