No Ski Resorts Here: The Economist’s Livability Study & the Worst Cities to Live

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on June 10, 2009 11:26 am

The Economist just released its annual “livability” ratings, ranking the top (and bottom) cities to live in the world.  The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the wing of The Economist that undertakes these types of surveys, ranked cities under five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Well, in my own not-so-scienfitic study of their results, I’d like to add a sixth category: nearby ski resorts.  Of the top 10 places to live, only one, Perth, does not have a ski resort nearby.  All the others in the top 10 have ski resorts nearby.  Vancouver, the number one city in the EIU rankings, has Whistler just a rock-throw away.  Vienna, the number two city, is in Austria, home to more than 220 ski resorts.

However, with the bottom 10 places to live, my research found there is not one ski resort nearby.  Livability and skiing go hand-in-hand.  Sure, I’m blurring the line between causation and correlation, but what city is not enhanced by having a ski resort nearby?

My addendum to the EIU study:

The Bottom 10 Livable Cities and Nearby Ski Resorts:

Dakar, Senegal.  Elevation is obviously not a valued commodity in Senegalese culture.  The highest point in Senegal is not even named.  It’s near Nepan Diakha and juts up 1906 feet.  The unnamed point.  Somebody want to get around to that?

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.  The government discourages the English translation of “Ivory Coast”, preferring the French translation.  However you translate, Côte d’Ivoire means no skiingMount Nimba, the nation’s highest point (5,750 ft) is part of the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve.  It’s a World Heritage site with 200 endemic species, including the super cute duiker of the antelope species.  “Strict” nature reserve is exactly that.  Tourism, and the possibility of making any turns, is forbidden.

Kathmandu, Nepal
.  The world’s youngest republic has no ski resorts, even though eight of the world’s ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest, are in Nepal.

Douala, Cameroon.  Dubbed “Africa in miniature” for its cultural and geological diversity.  Africa in the miniature indeed, in that, save for a few questionable spots in South Africa, Cameroon, like all of Africa, has no ski resorts.  Its highest mountain, Mount Cameroon, rises 13,435 ft.  Promising number, but this is an active volcano, erupting last in May 2000.

Karachi, PakistanFredrik Ericsson is heading to Pakistan currently to ski Laila Peak.  If successful, he’ll be the first to do so.  Malam Jabba, Pakistan’s only ski resort, was recently recovered by the government from the Taliban.  Sharia law has no place for skiing, and Malam Jabba was, sadly, destroyed.

Lagos, Nigeria
.  Twice the size of California, but with 28 less ski resorts.  Nigeria gave the world Fela Kuti, but zero ski resorts. 

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  Papua New Guinea sits precariously on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a convergence of several tectonic plates.  It is a mountainous island with many active volcanoes.  Mount Wilhelm, (pictured right) the highest point (14,790 ft), was first ascended by Leigh Vial.  His diary of the climb notes snow on the top of Wilhelm, but no mention of chairlifts. 

Dhaka, Bangladesh.  Most of the country is less than 39 feet above sea level.  About half the country would be flooded if sea levels were to rise 3 feet.  Ski what?

Harare, Zimbabwe.  Mount Nyangani (pictured left), the highest point in Zimbabwe, has an average snowfall of once-a-century.  The last recorded snowfall was in August of 1935.  Wax up your skis?  Sure.  When you’re dead and gone, someone else can use them.

Algiers, Algeria.  Nicknamed “Algiers of the White”, not for any snow-type of white, but for the shining white of its buildings seen from the Mediterranean.  Mount Tahat is the highest mountain (9,852 ft) and one of Algeria’s most visited places.  Visited not for skiing, but for the “hermitage” of Charles de Foucauld (pictured top), a Catholic priest shot to death in 1916, beatified in 2005.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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