My current series of articles offers advice on how to make a ski trip or vacation a fun experience instead of a stressful and fearful one for those who are new to winter sports. My last blog dealt with the “paperwork” involved with planning your trip and what to do when you get there. This time, we are following the Boy Scouts’ matra “Be Prepared,” so are not left out in the cold!
Preparing for your Trip
Dehydration, frostbite, hypothermia, fatigue, and improper gear and clothing can not only cause discomfort, but can be dangerous as well.
What you can do:
-If you will be skiing at high altitude, which I would call 4000 feet above sea level or higher, increase your water intake a few days before you leave. Drink frequently during your trip even when you don’t feel thirsty- you are. Most people do not drink enough as it is; the increase in altitude plus the additional physical exertion of skiing will bring you to dehydration faster than you think!
-Pack extra layers of clothing, and dress so that adding and removing layers is always an option. Technical clothing (such as thermal underwear) when fitted properly, is thin, and will help keep you warm, and you will not have to look like the Michelin Man. Having even one set will be worth the price.
– Your body loses 20% of its heat through your head. Wear a hat for warmth on the cold days, and wear a cooler hat for sun protection on warmer days. Sunburned scalps are gross. Mittens are warmer than gloves, and ski socks are worth the few extra bucks (I wear mine for several days straight).
-Sun protection is mandatory! All that snow reflects the sunlight and makes it more intense, even on the cloudier days and especially at altitude. Apply your sunscreen frequently, and wear some form of eye protection. Sunglasses are acceptable to ski in, but goggles are preferable, as they keep your face a bit warmer, and have a better chance of staying with you during a fall.
The above advice should have provided you with a sufficient packing and shopping list to stay warm and comfortable while you ski. Look for my next article that will provide some advice on ski gear, whether you own skis or not.
This will be Veronika Frenkel’s fourth winter with the ski industry. She has worked as a ticket checker, a mountain safety attendant, guest services crew, and as a waitress to pay the bills. She skiis for work, she skiis for fun, and she is always learning what the mountains have to teach her.
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