A recent National Geographic blog reports that ski town suicide rates show a marked difference when compared to the rest of the region.
Experts say that easy access to firearms, isolation and a sense of rugged individualism are likely factors in giving the Rocky Mountain West the grim designation of "The Suicide Belt." But journalist Kelley McMillan says it is even worse in western ski towns.
"When you drill down into the data, these towns have suicide rates that are higher than Colorado's average and far higher than the national average," says McMillan, who found some ski town suicide rates were as high as six times that of the rest of the country.
It's hard to pinpoint why this is the case, but McMillan says lack of social support, income inequality and high levels of substance abuse are magnified in ski town culture. She spoke to experts who think these may be among the contributing factors