How to prevent altitude sickness on your USA ski holiday

Fantastic, deep & guaranteed snow often comes from skiing in high altitude ski resorts, such as most of those in Colorado, USA. 

How to prevent altitude sickness on your ski holiday in America

These resorts offer amazing snow conditions and often the snow starts falling in September and continues into June the next year.

Breckenridge ski resort Colorado, USA, for example, has its base at 9600 feet or 2926m and goes up to 12998 feet or 3963 m. This leads to great snow conditions throughout the season, but the air is thinner up here and less oxygen is available. Coming from lower elevations people can experience some symptoms of altitude sickness at this altitude. Usually symptoms only last for a couple of days and are mild, but it's worth knowing what you can do to try to prevent even minor symptoms bothering you on holiday. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and insomnia.

Want to learn more? Ask Chalets USA

Here are some things you can do  (and get the kids to do) to prevent altitude sickness:

1. Water

Drink lots of it! - 4 liters a day is recommended and you really do need to drink much more than at sea level. Camelback hydration packs are great for carrying water easily whilst skiing or stop frequently at one of the many free water stations available at restaurants on the mountains and just grab a quick drink.

2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Perhaps not exactly what you want to hear when you're on holiday, but alcohol & caffeine do dehydrate you. So it will probably lead to a more enjoyable ski trip if you can stay off the booze and limit your coffee stops at least for the first day or so.

3. Carbs

Go for high carbohydrate, low fat meals and buy or take healthy snacks with you (such as granola bars). There are some really delicious granola bars around - I love the ones with oats & honey, but there are also bars available with chocolate chips, m&ms etc. to make them interesting. Also avoid salty foods as they  dehydrate you too.

4. Take it easy, especially on day 1

Chances are you're skiing for a few days at least and you may be tired from travelling. So there's no need to overdo it and ski from first lift until closing lift on the first day. The higher altitude means it's harder to breathe and you need to let your body get used to it. Even if you're very fit, you can still feel the effects of altitude if you push yourself too hard too quickly. There's a reason world class athletes train at altitude!

5. Rent an oxygen concentrator

Another option is to pre-order an oxygen machine to help your body adjust to the altitude. Some Breckenridge clients have tried this & wanted to pass on the message:

"Oxygen concentrators we arranged ourselves might be worth suggesting to people who have not been to Breckenridge before. Having been 3 times in the past and once having a child with altitude sickness, we order machines in as a preventative measure. We stopped all altitude sickness using the machines around an hour each day. One member of party needed it as soon as they arrived and got over the 'blip' quickly by using it." Reed, UK.


6. See a doctor

Seek medical assistance if symptoms persist or get worse. Altitude sickness can become very serious and can be fatal. If you experience symptoms which just keep getting worse & worse, you should go down to a lower elevation and get medical help immediately.

Follow these 6 steps to prevent feeling the effects of altitude, but do take this illness seriously and if in doubt get medical help immediately.

Ask Chalets USA about your USA skiing holiday today!

We live in the USA, know the ski resorts & accommodation and visit them regularly.

We can give you expert advice and save you time & effort finding the right USA ski holiday for you.

Happy Skiing!

Helen & Rob Brown
Chalets USA

UK Tel 01223 655642
US Tel 303 482 1961

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