Alta Altitude Sickness: Must-Read Guide & 6 Steps

Alta Altitude Sickness

Whether you're an avid skier seeking or an outdoors lover, Alta offers an unforgettable experience. However, with some of the highest elevations of all the ski resorts, altitude sickness is a threat to your trip. In this must-read guide, we'll cover everything about Alta altitude and our top six steps to avoid Alta altitude sickness.

Alta Altitude

Alta altitude sits at 8,560 feet above sea level.

  • Alta altitude - 8,560 ft (2,610 m)

Alta Ski Resort is the main attraction in the area, with over 500,000 visitors per year. Alta Ski Resort goes to an elevation of 11,068 feet at the mountain summit.

  • Alta Ski Resort base altitude - 8,530 ft (2,600 m)
  • Alta Ski Resort top elevation  - 11,068 ft (3,374 m)

Located in the stunning Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Alta Ski Resort is renowned for its world-class skiing and breathtaking alpine beauty. As one of the oldest and most beloved ski resorts in North America, and skiers only allowed, Alta offers a unique and unparalleled winter sports experience.

As one of the highest altitude ski resorts, you'll want to be well prepared on your trip to Alta.

How High Is The Top Of Alta?

The elevation at the top of Alta Ski Resort is 11,068 feet above sea level.

Alta is the third highest ski resort in Utah just below Brian Head and Snowbird, and among others in Colorado including Breckenridge, Loveland, Telluride, and Aspen.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness At Alta or Snowbird?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness at Alta or Snowbird.

Located only a few miles down the road, Snowbird has almost an identical summit elevation to Alta around 11000 feet, as both located in Little Cottonwood Canyon of the Wasatch Range part of the Rocky Mountains.

50% of people are reported to feel altitude sickness at heights above 10,000 feet, in which Alta and Snowbird far exceed.⁵ Oxygen levels at these resorts can get as low as 13%, which is significantly decreased from sea level.⁶

Alta Altitude Sickness

Alta altitude sickness, known also as acute mountain sickness, is the result of decreased oxygen levels in the air.

The decreased amount of oxygen available to the body leads to physiological, oxidative stress, and even dehydration. Typical symptoms of altitude sickness can start with headaches and fatigue.

Symptoms of Alta altitude sickness may include:

  • headache
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • weakness
  • nausea or vomiting
  • difficulty breathing or increased respiration
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • dizziness or confusion
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling ill

These symptoms commonly develop within 6-24 of arrival in Alta. Be on high alert for any of these signs of Alta altitude sickness.

6 Steps To Avoid Alta Altitude Sickness

As a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and skiers alike — altitude sickness is your biggest threat on a trip to Alta.

As a company based in Colorado, we have over a decade of high-altitude experience. We'll share are best and must-read tips to help you avoid Alta altitude sickness to have a pleasant experience.

Here's Our Top 6 Steps To Avoid Alta Altitude Sickness:

1. Get Plenty Of Sleep

High elevations such as at Alta can wear the body down and cause you trouble sleeping or even insomnia. Sleep is not only vital for recovery, it can increase blood flow and oxygen.⁷

To counteract the high-altitude effects, you'll want to get at least 7-9 of sleep that experts recommend. To help optimize your sleep, a simply step you can take is getting plenty of sunlight during the day which can help stimulate melatonin production in your body naturally.

2. Maximize Hydration

Respiration increases as you go up in altitude, and fluids have been shown to decrease twice as fast than at sea level.⁸ This is a bad combination that can lead to extreme dehydration.

Drink plenty of water during your Alta trip, it's commonly recommended to take in at least have your body weight in ounces of water.

TIP: To help maximize your hydration, you can add sea salt to your food, which contains trace electrolytes and minerals. And take Zaca hydration chewable supplement that can help enhance water absorption via glutamine.

3. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol is not your friend at Alta elevations. Among many issues, it can lead to dehydration, decreased sleep quality, and lowered oxygen saturation.⁹

While you may want to enjoy some apres-ski drinks, it's best to limit alcohol consumption for a few days or until you feel good.

4. Avoid Strenuous Activity

Avoiding strenuous activities when you first arrive to Alta is going to be important for your body's ability to acclimate. Prevent overexertion such as skiing or hiking for 1-2 days, as it will make it harder for you to adjust and recover.

Engaging in moderate activities with frequent breaks your first few days is okay, such as leisurely walks or sightseeing, which can be enjoyable while minimizing the strain on your body.

5. Gradually Acclimate

The speed at which you ascend is a big factor in altitude sickness. The faster you go up in altitude, the most of a shock it will have on your body, so it's better to acclimate gradually.

For example, if you're flying in from sea level type of elevations, it'll be best to spend a night or two in Salt Lake City at 4,265 feet. As a halfway point, your body can begin to slowly acclimate before ascending to Alta at 8,560 feet, rather than all at once.

6. Supplement Antioxidants

At the high altitudes of Alta Ski Resort, the body is exposed to increased levels of oxidative stress.¹⁰  Antioxidants are essential compounds that help combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.¹¹

One study even shows glutathione, the key antioxidant in the body, to be deplete by 45% in high altitude conditions.¹² Supplement antioxidants including glutathione to increase your levels and support your body's antioxidant defenses.

In summary due to the high Alta elevation, follow these top researched steps to avoid Alta altitude sickness — which includes getting plenty of sleep, maximizing hydration, limiting alcohol, avoiding strenuous activity, acclimating gradually, and supplementing antioxidants.

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1. Alta Elevation,_Utah
2. Alta Ski Resort Elevation
3. Highest Ski Resorts In The World
4. Highest Ski Resorts - Alta Elevation
5. High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness) (Beyond the Basics)
6. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
7. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
8. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
9. Effects of Alcohol
10. High altitude and oxidative stress
11. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
12. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione 
13. Snowbird Utah Elevation,_Utah