A-Basin Altitude: Quick Guide & 6 Altitude Sickness Tips

A-Basin Altitude

Skiiers and snowboarders popularly visit A-Basin as one of closest and most convenient ski resort nearby Denver. As a local Colorado company, in this quick guide we'll delve into everything you need to know about Abasin altitude and our top six tips to avoid Abasin altitude sickness.

A-Basin Altitude

A-Basin, the nickname for Arapahoe Basin, sits at a base altitude of 10,780 feet above sea level. Reaching a summit of 13,050 feet, A-Basin is one of highest skiable resorts in North America.

A-Basin Altitude:

  • Abasin Altitude (Base) - 10,780 ft (3,286 m)
  • Abasin Altitude (Summit) - 13,050 ft (3,978 m)

For locals in Colorado, even more so for visitors coming from sea level, these elevations of A-Basin have a high risk of altitude sickness.

How High Is The Top Of Arapahoe Basin?

The highest elevation at Arapahoe Basin reaches 13,050 feet. At this summit height, Arapahoe Basin is Colorado's third highest ski area, just below Telluride's summit elevation.

Is A-Basin Considered High Altitude?

Yes, A-Basin is considered high altitude.

According to Mountain Medicine, Arapahoe Basin's base elevation of 10,780 feet is considered "high altitude". Arapahoe Basin's summit is considered "very high altitude" due to exceeding 11,500 feet.⁴

How Far Is Arapahoe Basin From Denver?

Part of the appeal of Arapahoe Basin is its short distance from Denver, as one of the quickest ski resorts to get to.

At 64 miles away, it's approximately a 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Denver to Arapahoe Basin.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness At A-Basin?

Yes, there's a high chance you can get altitude sickness at A-Basin.

Similar to Leadville Colorado that also exceeds 10,000 feet, it's noted that approximately 40-50% of people experience altitude sickness in altitudes as high as A-Basin.⁵

A-Basin Altitude Sickness

A-Basin altitude sickness is from the atmospheric pressure decreases, resulting in a lower concentration of oxygen.

This change in oxygen levels at high altitudes is a significant factor contributing to altitude sickness, including oxidative stress and dehydration. 

Symptoms of A-Basin altitude sickness may include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleeping problems or insomnia
  • Feeling ill

Symptoms of A-Basin altitude sickness usually develop within 6-24 hours upon arriving. Make sure to be prepared when visiting Arapahoe Basin, and read our top tips below.

6 Tips To Avoid A-Basin Altitude Sickness

Renowned for its exceptional skiing and snowboarding opportunities, Arapahoe Basin is a popular ski resort located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. With some of the highest heights of Colorado resorts, altitude sickness is a common concern for visitors locally and from afar.

As a Colorado based company with a decade of high-altitude experience, we'll share with you everything we've learned summarized in tips to help you avoid altitude sickness.

6 Tips To Avoid A-Basin Altitude Sickness:

1. Acclimate Gradually

The common factor of altitude sickness is ascending to higher elevations faster than your body can adjust to the decrease in oxygen levels. Acclimating gradually by ascending slowly is one of the best steps to helping acclimatization.

As example if flying into Colorado from out of state, it's best to stay a night or two in Denver at 5,280 feet to help acclimate before ascending higher. Once you get in the mountains, Keystone is a great place to stay to help you acclimate lower than A-Basin at 9,280 feet.

2. Get Proper Hydration

The dry mountain air and lower oxygen levels can lead to increased fluid loss through respiration. Wilderness Medical Society estimates the fluid loss at these high altitudes can be twice as quick than at sea level.⁶

Drink plenty of water to help your body cope, half you body weight in ounces of water each day is commonly recommended.

TIP: Add sea salt (natural electrolytes) to your food/drink to help enhance hydration, and take Zaca's hydration chewables to aid in water absorption.

3. Limit Intense Activity

Engaging in strenuous activities immediately after reaching A-Basin will put extra strain on your body. It's advisable to limit intense exertion such as skiing or snowboarding during the first day to allow your body to adapt to the altitude.

For Colorado locals with less of an altitude adjustment, you might be safer to ski the first day at A-Basin but you might want to have an easy day and not ski too intensely.

4. Get Plenty Of Sleep

Quality of sleep is essential to help your body adjust and recover. Sleep can also aid in oxygen and blood flow.⁷

Ensure you get enough sleep to support your body's adaptation, 7-9 hours per night is optimal. To help get optimal sleep, get plenty of sunlight during the day which can aid in melatonin production at night.

5. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol can exacerbate high-altitude problems — leading to dehydration, fatigue, and lower sleep quality just to name a few.⁸

Avoid or at least limit alcohol consumption at A-Basin, until your body is fully acclimated.

6. Take Antioxidants

High altitudes are known to cause oxidative stress which can be a major burden on your body.⁹ Research has even shown high elevations to deplete glutathione, the body's master antioxidant, by 45%.¹¹

Take antioxidants, such as glutathione, to replenish and fortify your body's antioxidant levels.¹⁰

Arapahoe Basin is a beloved destination, but comes with the high-altitude risks. With years of experience in Colorado, our top tips can help you avoid A-Basin altitude sickness for a better skiing experience — including acclimating gradually, getting proper hydration, limiting intense activity, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding alcohol, and taking antioxidants.

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SOURCES:

1. Arapahoe Basin Elevation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arapahoe_Basin
2. Ski Mountain in Colorado | A-Basin Altitude
https://www.arapahoebasin.com/the-mountain/winter-101/
3. Highest Ski Resorts In Colorado
https://snowbrains.com/the-top-15-highest-ski-resorts-in-colorado/
4. Effects of high altitude on humans
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_high_altitude_on_humans
5. Patient education: High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness)
https://www.uptodate.com/contents/high-altitude-illness-including-mountain-sickness-beyond-the-basics
6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
https://www.livestrong.com/article/360485-how-to-train-for-high-altitude-hiking
7. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
https://www.orthocarolina.com/media/sleep-the-secret-ingredient-of-injury-recovery
8. Effects of Alcohol
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.HYP.29.6.1278#
9. High altitude and oxidative stress
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17482529/
10. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8868315/
11. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11320641/
12. Arapahoe Basin Altitude - Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Ski Resort
https://www.onthesnow.com/colorado/arapahoe-basin-ski-area/ski-resort