Preparing for weather and altitude

Filed in Expert Articles, General Information by on November 10, 2013

Summer weather in the Vail Valley is generally pleasant with warm dry daytime temperatures in the seventies, and cool evening temperatures usually in the low fifties. It is always cool in the shade, and often hot in the sun.

The climate here is dry, and the sun is very intense. To function normally at altitude and in the dry climate, drink extra water. If you are physically active drink no less than three quarts of water per day. Remember not to drink from mountain streams. Although the water is clear and clean, naturally occurring bacteria can wreak havoc on your digestive tract.

Symptoms of dehydration include headache, irritability, and restless sleep. The simple cure is to drink more water or sports drinks, especially if you’ve overexerted yourself.

The sun at high altitude is intense. Use sunblock liberally on any exposed skin, and reapply to shade your face. A brimmed hat is wise. Light colored clothing absorbs heat less than dark colors. Sunglasses greatly reduce fatigue from the glaring sun, and are a must for bicycling.

The weather changes quickly in the mountains so make sure you are always prepared with a windbreaker. Always have a jacket or fleece for evening activities. A hat will also help you keep warm.

Take food on all outings. Snacks like granola bars, trail mix, or carrots are good fuel during activities.

Be sure to take care of yourself and your family at altitude. Ask yourself and others how they feel. If you’re hot, cool off in the shade, and drink water. If you’re breathing too hard, take a slower pace. If your cold, take off damp clothes and put on dry ones. If you feel weak and sluggish, have a snack along with some sports drink.

Our bodies become challenged at high altitude. Set realistic expectations for your own decreased physical performance. By listening to your body, and taking steps to be prepared, you greatly increase your chances of feeling just fine at altitude.

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