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Altitude Sickness.....

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Very in formative stickey at the top of this forum. Thanks for that post.

I am curious to know how many skiers here have experienced Altitude sickness??

How many have been with someone who has experienced this??

With our Utah trip coming up this problem has been in the back of my mind. We will be skiing 4 out of 5 days and I have been considering the order of which mountains to ski first, second, third and fourth?? Does it matter??

Would like to head right straight for Snowbird first, however, would this tire us out on the first day?? I rarely ski consecutive days and am curious to know how other skiers fare that are in moderate shape when skiing at altitude??

Thanks for your in-put, in advance.
post #2 of 18
I recently flew into Denver late at night and after baggage claim, getting a rental car, and driving to summit county I wasn't in bed until 3 AM. After a few hours of sleep I was on top of Breckenridge ~13,500 ft by 12 noon. I was winded more than usual but no bad headaches or anything. I made a point to drink water on the plane ride so I was hydrated.

From what I've read and experienced it sounds like altitude sickness is hit or miss. Hydration, sleep, altitude, fitness all the same as me, you may still get or not get altitude sickness.
post #3 of 18
I predictably get mild AMS, and am slower than most to acclimatize. I pretty much think the sticky nails it.

I also see you seldom ski consecutive days but are planning on 4 out of 5. Even at sea level that could be a stretch, putting altitude to one side.
post #4 of 18
If you've never been at altitude before, take special precaution to get plenty of sleep and hydration ahead of time and pay extra attention for warning signs your first couple of days. If you start to feel a mild headache or nauseous, lose altitude and take a break and hydrate more. Sudden onset of serious symptoms is rare. If you react to any symptoms instead of ignoring them you will most likely be fine. Although some people are more prone to problems than others, it can happen to anyone at any time.

Over dozens of trips to altitude, some in shape, some not; some acclimatizing, some pushing it like barnstormer; I've had a mild headache just once when hiking from the top of A Basin.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

We have 5 days to ski. We want to ski 4 out of the 5 days. 2 days on the hill, then a day off, then 2 more days on the hill.

Hopefully we can achieve this goal.
post #6 of 18
I've had mild headaches the first day, some trouble catching my breath and a little trouble sleeping for a day or so. Never been to Breck though - that's the highest lift you're gonna find so everything will be magnified.

Drink water, sleep and don't ski hard the first day if at all. Heading out there you might want to take a late flight and ski the next day.
post #7 of 18
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post

We have 5 days to ski. We want to ski 4 out of the 5 days. 2 days on the hill, then a day off, then 2 more days on the hill.

Hopefully we can achieve this goal.
Been there and know the feeling in terms of wanting to get as much skiing as possible. Particularly if you do feel any mild AMS symptoms your first day, just remember that you'll likely be feeling fine by the third, so taking a half day or a late start the first day or two to pace yourself so you're not sore by the time that altitude-wise you're 100% could be worthwhile. Unless you have fresh snow the first day, then all bets are off.
post #8 of 18
So far I guess I'd have to say I'm one of the lucky ones. I just took a 4 day trip to CO a couple of weeks ago where I flew into Denver from Ohio on Friday morning and was skiing at ABasin that afternoon. I did hydrate well before and drank a couple of water bottles on the drive up. Also, I did not ski hard the first day, which I think helped. I did better the 2nd and 4th day. I got back to the hotel late the 2nd night and didn't get enough sleep and I really felt it on the 3rd day.

I think it helped because I slept pretty low, 8500 ft., drank lots of water before coming out and while I was there, and I came out rested. I am definely not in shape, but I don't think that matters all that much.

OTOH, I believe my wife had mild headaches when we went to Steamboat 2 years ago. She'll have to watch for that again. I'll print off the article for her so she can start prepping 2 weeks before we leave to come out.
post #9 of 18
My first trip to Utah I had no problems. I slept in SLC.
Second trip I stayed at Snowbird and boy did I suffer. Symptoms weren't quite classic. No headache or nausea, but no energy either. Carrying my razor across the room left me feeling like I'd carried 100lbs up a flight of stairs in a hurry.
On the hill 12-15 turns and I was sitting on the ground gasping for air. Fitness wasn't the issue. In MI I skied 5-6 hours non stop Sat. and Sun. before going west, and had skiied about 50 days through the season.

If you are sleeping low and skiing high that should help a lot. All the standard advice concerning caffeine and hydration should help also.

I'll be using Diamox for my next trip plus planning 2-3 days for aclimatization.
post #10 of 18
Drink lots of water, don't drink any alcohol, get enough sleep, eat enough, take asprin.
post #11 of 18
Popping some aspirin helps with the early symtoms of AMS. However you may not be affected by it. Some people have a higher tolerance for altiude. Reasons for this are unclear at the moment - possibly genetic. Even high aerobic fitness is not a guarentee to be able to go higher. The good thing about it is that as soon as you descend the symptoms dissapear.
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
I am curious to know how many skiers here have experienced Altitude sickness??
I had some problems with the altitude after night skiing at Keystone the day that I flew in from Phila, Pa. I was dizzy, lightheaded and nauseated.
The mistake that I made was letting myself get dehydrated. I was fine and skied the next day after drinking a quart of water that night and another quart in the morning.
post #13 of 18
Ginkgo biloba, click here. It really works, Two friends were doubters last trip up to Beaver Creek, they took the stuff their Dr.s gave them, didn't work, they took the Ginko and felt much better. I've been using it for years
post #14 of 18
Diamox works well, but don't take it if you have sulfa allergies. Most people will do fine, but if you read Houston's book "Going Higher" it is amazing how many case histories take place at elevations of Colorado ski areas.

post #15 of 18
I had the fatigue Kazooski describes and the on-slope exhaustion, along with a mild headache the first time I went to Aspen. That was in the middle 1960s, when I had a primarily sit-down job and only skied 50 days a year. Next time was five years later, when I'd skied close to 100 days and did little sitting at my other job. Only had headaches. No real other issues elsewhere in the Rockies, Wasatch or Sierras in subsequent years, but five years ago, when I was in my early 60s, I had a real problem again at ESA I, despite staying overnights at the lower altitude. Since then, Diamox has eliminated any problems for me at places like Snowmass and Big Sky.
post #16 of 18
Taking the Ginkgo really helped my AMS (headache, nausea, fatigue). Stay hydrated at all times, I wear a Camelback and drink about 2 quarts of water or diluted Gatorade over the course of a day. Also hiking up to ski Alta's Baldy Chutes (11,000ft) on the first day is not recommended.
post #17 of 18
i have NEVER had a problem in utah

however, in colorado, i was so bad i could not turn over in bed without getting out of breath.
i have been to utah many many times, you really should not have a problem there
i do try to keep in shape all year, of course
post #18 of 18
Altitude in Utah should not be a big problem. A slight puffing when you climb stairs, maybe a slight headache (maybe), that is it.
Summit County in Colorado is where the fun is. I saw people frequently throw up and faint on the bunny hill at the bottom of the hill!
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