I've heard more than a few sermons on the subject - and yeah, one 'way' is obviously easier than the other. However, while the stairway to heaven is a more spiritual avenue in this life - it is a choice to live a spiritual life or a more materialistic 'fast' life that is more embedded in the physical reality of our existence.
Neither way leads to eternal damnation because we are eternal beings - just as God is. People created the concept of hell and brought evil into it. When in fact, it could be argued that people who choose the 'highway to hell' are people who take life by the horns and enjoy the 'hell' out of it (along with all the rewards & consequences that go along with their choices/lifesyle, etc).
This is not necessarily an insult to God - since he gave us the opportunity to experience this kind of existence; and he certainly isn't going to experience these things for himself - in fact, he can't, won't and absolutely refuses to. He doesn't do this because he keeps himself 'pure' as our baseline - untouched, by whatever painful things may happen to us while we are here.
That is what our ultimate purpose is in this life: to find our own 'truth' and express it in this existence. You can think of it as God expressing himself/herself through the personality of YOU. And, we're not all called to become spiritual gurus painstakingly ascending the 'highway to heaven'. :)
This is a good NDE video of a gentleman who gives a really good description of 'what we are really like' and that we have 'nothing to fear' after our body dies. Many NDE experiences are wrapped up in beliefs and/or non-beliefs - but, this is the best one I've found that describes the reality of our lives and who/what we really are, the best. It is nothing but a refreshing relief.