Snowmass Altitude Sickness: Complete Guide & 7 Tips To Avoid

Snowmass Altitude Sickness

As a popular luxury mountain getaway and ski resort, the altitude of Snowmass is an issue for many visitors. As a local Colorado company, we'll share everything you need to know about Snowmass altitude and seven tips how to avoid Snowmass altitude sickness.

Snowmass Altitude

The altitude of Snowmass sits at 8,104 feet above sea level. This is slightly higher than its popular neighbor, Aspen, which is at an altitude of 7,908 feet.

  • Snowmass altitude - 8,104 ft (2,470 m)
  • Snowmass Village altitude - 8,209 ft (2,502 m)
  • Snowmass Ski summit altitude - 12,510 ft (3,810 m)
  • Snowmass Mountain peak altitude - 14,099 ft (4,297 m 

Snowmass is a ski resort village in Pitkin County shared with Aspen, with approximately 1.5 million visitors per year.⁴ This upscale village is a popular destination during the winter months for skiing and winter sports, and also for the summer months for the cooler mountain climates and scenic hikes such as Maroon Bells. With its stunning mountain scenery, abundance of outdoor activities and proximity to Denver, it's a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

Altitudes of nearby destinations:

  • Maroon Bells altitude - 14163 ft (4317 m)
  • Aspen Mountain Ski Resort altitude - 11,212 ft (3,417 m)
  • Independence Pass altitude - 12,095 ft (3,687 m)
  • Mount Elbert altitude - 14,440 ft (4401 m)
  • Glenwood Springs altitude - 5,761 ft (1,756 m)
  • Crested Butte altitude - 8,909 ft (2,715 m)

Overall, Snowmass altitude is high compared to many other towns throughout Colorado and proper preparations should be taken.

Is Snowmass Aspen Considered High Altitude?

Yes, by all metrics commonly used, Snowmass Aspen is considered high altitude.

According to Mountain Medicine, high altitude starts at 4,900 feet, and Snowmass sits at over 8,100 feet.¹⁰

Can You Get Altitude Sickness In Snowmass?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Snowmass. 

Experts say that altitude sickness can start at around 5,000 feet above sea level.¹¹ At 8,100 feet, altitude sickness in Snowmass is a high risk.

The SnowmassAspen visitor guide indicates that around 20% of guests will get altitude sickness, specifically between 6,300 to 9,700 feet in which Snowmass is categorized in.

How Far Is Snowmass to Aspen?

Snowmass to Aspen is only a short 15 minute drive.

Denver or the Denver Airport to Snowmass is about 3 1/2 hours, depending on the time of day driving and traffic.

Snowmass Altitude Sickness

Snowmass altitude sickness typically affects people who live at low altitudes and travel to higher altitudes.

The higher you climb, the less oxygen there is in the air. Your body has to work harder to get enough oxygen, and this can cause problems if you don’t adjust to the altitude change slowly.

At the high altitude of Snowmass CO, your respiration can increase to combat less oxygen and the climate of Colorado is generally drier leading to fluid loss. Oxidative stress can be a burden on the body too.

Symptoms of Snowmass altitude sickness may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

The Snowmass altitude sickness symptoms can typically develop within 6-24 hours. Be alert of these symptoms, take as much precaution as possible during your trip, and seek medical attention if they worsen.

7 Tips To Avoid Snowmass Altitude Sickness

Snowmass is a beautiful destination for people who want to ski, relax, or explore the outdoors — but the altitude sickness can be brutal.

As a local Colorado company with years of experience, we'll share with you the top researched tips to help avoid Snowmass altitude sickness.

Here's 7 Tips To Avoid Snowmass Altitude Sickness:

1. Avoid Strenuous Activity

Strenuous exercise can make it even harder for your body to adapt to the lower oxygen level at higher elevations in Snowmass.

Wait until you're acclimatized before doing any strenuous activities like hiking or snowshoeing in the mountains, or playing hard on the slopes. If you feel fatigued or trouble breathing during your days, slow down and take some breaks.

2. Drink Plenty Of Water

When you're dehydrated, your body doesn't function at its best, and higher altitudes leads to increased respiration and fluid loss. In fact, Wilderness Medical Society estimates people losing water twice as fast at high altitudes.¹³ 

Fatigue and headache are common symptoms of dehydration. Drink plenty of water, experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

TIP: To maximize your hydration, add sea salt (electrolytes) to your foods, and take Zaca hydration chewable tablets to help increase water absorption.

3. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol does not help with acclimatization — rather it can cause further dehydration, lower sleep quality, and lower oxygen saturation in the body.¹⁴

With this combination of negative effects from alcohol, and a risk of increased hangovers, it's a terrible combo with altitude. You should limit alcohol the first few days or at least until you're clear of any signs of altitude sickness.

4. Maximize Sleep 

Sleep has been touted as the secret to recovery. It is also shown to increase blood flow and oxygen in the body.¹⁵ Target at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night as experts say to get full rest and maximize your potential to adjust.

It's typically harder to sleep at higher altitudes — one tip is to get optimal amounts of natural sunlight during the day and complete darkness when you sleep at night. This can help your natural circadian rhythms to maximize sleep quality.

5. Acclimate Slowly

If flying into Colorado from sea level, it's best to stay in Denver (5,280 ft) or Boulder (5,318 ft) for 1-3 nights to help you acclimate before going to the higher elevations at Snowmass.

Ascending gradually over several days instead of going straight up to the mountains in one day gives you body time to adjust. This also applies when arriving in Snowmasss at 8,104 feet. Take it easy for a day or two before hiking or skiing at higher altitudes.

6. Take Antioxidants

Oxidative stress is known to damage the body at high altitudes.¹⁷ Antioxidants were shown to be promising to fight off that oxidative damage.

In India, a study discovered that high altitudes can deplete glutathione by nearly 50%, which is the body's master antioxidant.¹⁸ Take antioxidants as an altitude supplement to help replenish your body's levels and combat oxidative.

7. Consider Altitude Medication

It's best to consult with a doctor if you want to take an altitude sickness medication, or if you start feeling severe symptoms of altitude sickness. While Ibuprofen can be found over-the-counter, most are prescription drugs.

In conclusion, follow these top tips to help avoid Snowmass altitude sickness — including avoiding strenuous activity, drinking plenty of water, limiting alcohol, maximizing sleep, acclimating slowly, taking antioxidants, and consider altitude medication.

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1. Snowmass Village Colorado Elevation,_Colorado
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3. Snowmass Mountain Elevation
4. Aspen Snowmass Demographics
5. Maroon Bells Elevation
6. Aspen Mountain Ski Area Elevation
7. Independence Pass Elevation
8. Mount Elbert Elevation
9. Glenwood Springs Colorado Elevation,_Colorado
10. Effects of high altitude on humans
11. Patient education: High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness)
12. A Guide To Altitude For Sea-Level Guests Snowmass Aspen
13. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
14. Effects of Alcohol
15. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
16. High altitude and oxidative stress
17. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
18. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione