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High Altitude How-Tos

Here in Colorado Ski Country USA, the views aren’t the only thing that will take your breath away…

What is altitude sickness?

For some guests, the transition from lower elevations to the high country can lead to altitude sickness. It’s believed that this is the body’s response to lower levels of oxygen and changes in air pressure. Altitude sickness can occur within hours, or even after a couple of days in the mountains. Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or sleep disturbances.

Preventing altitude sickness

To avoid altitude sickness, exercise in moderation when first arriving in the high country. Eat foods high in carbohydrates such as grains, pasta, fruits, and vegetables, and avoid salty foods. Limit alcohol consumption.

Hydration helps

Hydration is important, even in winter. When you combine high altitude, wind, sun, and physical exertion, your body uses and loses lots of fluids. A good tip is to drink before you get thirsty. Try to drink plenty of water before skiing and snowboarding, drink small amounts while you’re on the slopes, and replenish once your day is done. Dehydration can lead to early fatigue and staying well hydrated will actually help to keep your body warmer and reduce the effects of altitude.

Pro tip: If your lodging offers a humidifier, use it!

The Colorado sun sizzles, even in January!

When you’re in the mountains, the higher elevation and UV light reflecting off the snow increase your risk of sunburn. UV light penetrates the clouds even on powder days, so whether it’s a bluebird day or overcast, always  apply sunscreen!

Remember to follow these sun safety tips the next time you’re on the mountain:

  • Apply generous amounts of SPF 30+ sunscreen on exposed skin (and ears) every two hours.
  • Wear goggles or sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.
  • Wear pants, long sleeves, and gloves, even on warm days.
  • Don’t forget to apply SPF lip balm!