The West’s mountain towns, from Jackson to Taos, Silverton to Park City, Truckee to Ketchum, tend to float to the top of what I’ll call Listicles of Happiness: Those inane rankings of the “best towns” in the nation, whether it’s the best small towns, the best ski towns or, a recent favorite to hate, “20 Colorado Mountain Towns That Are Paradise in Winter,” the writers of which have some fetish for stoplights, or the lack thereof. Judging from these lists, we mountain townies are a joyous bunch, working high-paying jobs that not only allow us to follow our passion, but also to go fly fishing on our lunch break, mountain bike after that (without stoplights to slow us down!), and then, fueled by a runner’s high, party long into the night....

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