Hey, Spike! introduces Summit County’s Grey Guys to the Blue Zones (column) | SummitDaily.com

Hey, Spike! introduces Summit County’s Grey Guys to the Blue Zones (column)

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Hey, Spike! has rounded up a couple of strong examples to amplify the recent four-part series about longevity directed by Summit Daily editor Ben Trollinger and written by reporter Deepan Dutta.

Summit County's active seniors are representative of those "gray hairs" living in regions known as "Blue Zones," pockets of extreme longevity found in places like Sardinia, Greece and Costa Rica.

Why do Summit and other prosperous Colorado mountain counties have the highest life expectancy in the country?

Blue Zones Project speaker Tony Buettner will provide answers on Tuesday, Feb. 27, during the Summit Daily News' "The Longevity Project" event at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event begins at 6 p.m. For ticket info, visit BreckCreate.org/event/the-longevity-project/

Buettner will share diet and lifestyle habits to help keep you spry past age 100.

Buettner is a senior VP at Blue Zones, a Minnesota-based team that puts research by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner into action.

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Dan Buettner is the New York Times bestselling author of "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest;" "Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way" and "The Blue Zones Solution."

A group of senior athletes calling themselves "Gray Guys" recently got into the Zone when they skied into the backcountry of the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. They were hauling in supplies earlier this month to the Jackal Hut in preparation for a larger group's stay.

"We call ourselves the 'Gray Guys,' because many of us are in our 50s, 60s and 70s," offers Dr. John Warner, the longtime Breckenridge dentist and former two-term mayor.

A group of eight, including John, skied from Camp Hale, the historic WWII training site, up Ranch Creek Road to the Jackal Hut.

On Feb. 3 the first "working" group to ski in with supplies was comprised of Josh Wheintz, Dave Jefferson, Pete Joyce, Brady McMillan, Todd Rankin, Tim Crane, Larry Crispell and John.

A rewarding "fun" trip followed a few days later, where a larger group toured the Copper Mountain Triangle route.

Here's John's description of that trek:

"We started our trip from Copper Mountain, skiing to Janet's Cabin on Feb. 7, then on to the Jackal Hut on Feb. 8. The next day they skied over to the Fowler/Hilliard Hut near Ptarmigan Pass, and then on Feb. 10 we skied lots of new snow from Fowler/Hilliard back to Janet's Cabin. Yesterday, we came out from Janet's after some great morning skiing on the slopes above."

He adds:

"Everyone did fine, and a big thanks to Scott Downen, who helped us navigate the low visibility travel from Fowler/Hilliard Hut to Janet's Cabin. It was a big day — 11 miles in 8+ hours."

The five-day larger group expedition included Dave Jefferson, Larry Crispell, Tim Crane, Scott Yule, Scott Downen, Pete Joyce, Brady McMillan, Yves Piecoup, Todd Rankin, Brett Gray, Mike Shambarger, Chris Tennal, Dennis Kuhn and John again.

Another example is a group of alpine skiers from Watertown, South Dakota, including former Summit Sentinel editor Brad Johnson, who recently dropped into Summit County for four days of skiing. The group stayed in Silverthorne while skiing Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain.

Brad's buddies included Dr. Ken Johnson, Dr. Henri Lanctin, Milt Carter and Mark Messerli.

Brad took the group on a tour of some of his old haunts, including Pug Ryan's in Dillon, where he said some of his best stories were uncovered back in the 1980s. They also visited Lynda Colety's Moose Jaw in Frisco, which Brad says "seems to be stuck in a time loop as it never seems to change."

They took a trip to Montezuma, where Brad lived for a few years. He noted there are a few more houses, but the character remains intact. The multiple blasts for avalanche control work at Loveland, Arapahoe and Breckenridge reminded him of the days in the early '80s when dynamite regularly went off on the main drag through Montezuma.

"While the skiing at all resorts was great, the best day was at Copper Mountain on Saturday with the nearly 10 inches of fresh powder," Brad reports.

"This was the second annual trip for the group and we'll be back next year — lord willing," he adds.

Miles F. Porter IV, 73, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to milesfporteriv@aol.com