People who reside at low altitude are often surprised—and unprepared—when they experience altitude sickness while skiing at higher altitudes.
The term altitude sickness is a general term used to describe the minor symptoms that typically develop above 8,000 feet after arriving at high altitude. The symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and numerous others.
It is estimated that up to 50% of all skiers will suffer from at least mild altitude sickness, so knowing how to avoid altitude sickness while skiing is vital before hitting the slopes. Being based in Colorado, we at Zaca have a lot of experience with altitude sickness.
If you are doing some skiing, boarding or winter sports at high elevation, follow these simple tips to avoid altitude sickness.
How to avoid altitude sickness while skiing? Don’t rush it!
Altitude sickness is caused by the decrease in barometric pressure at higher altitudes. This causes the oxygen levels in your blood to drop and results in symptoms like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and insomnia.
When you go to an altitude where there’s less oxygen, it takes your body some time to adjust. Acclimatization is the process of the body adjusting to altitude.
Take a day (or two) to acclimate and rest. When you arrive at a high-altitude ski resort — especially if it's above 8,000 feet — take a day to acclimate your body before hitting the slopes. Remember, the mountain slopes will only increase your high altitude exposure.
In Colorado, some will even stay in Denver for a night to help acclimate before heading to the ski towns such as Vail, Breckenridge, Aspen and Winter Park.
Dehydration can be one of the main causes of altitude sickness.
At higher elevations, your body loses more fluids than it does at lower elevations. The air is drier up there so your body sweats more to cool down.
At the same time you might not feel extra thirsty, so many will become dehydrated. You have to force yourself to drink more water than usual when you’re at higher elevations.
Drink lots of water before, during and after you arrive at the mountain — this will help give your body the time and hydration it needs to acclimate to the thinner air. To maximize hydration, make sure to use a lot of sea salt which contains electrolytes, or an electorate product.
You might not like to hear, but in addition you should stay away from alcohol for first day or two at high altitudes. Alcohol is a diuretic and can cause the body to lose fluids to become more dehydrated than normal.
Although if you want some liver support for drinking, check out our Zaca chewables.
Dependent on your altitude sensitively that can range between people, it's a necessary precaution to simply take some high altitude pills.
Many don't realize the science behind altitude sickness and ingredients that can help.
One study shows that glutathione highly decreased in body when exposed to high altitudes.¹ Glutathione a master antioxidant responsible for fighting free radical damage, which you're highly susceptible to at higher altitudes with the oxidative stress.
Another study shows that in a high altitude environment, dihydromyricetin (dhm) lessened the biomarkers of fatigue and improved physical performance. Hence, that would help your skiing too.²
In conclusion, follow these three tips to give your body a great chance to avoid altitude sickness while skiing.
If you want to use high altitude pills or tablets, try our zaca chewables that are sold throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountains for all sorts of altitude usages. They contain glutathione, dihydromyricetin (dhm), and glutamine that each have studies done related to altitude sickness!
1. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
2. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude