Skip to main content

How to beat altitude sickness on your next ski or snowboard trip

Drink plenty, rest plenty, and be early

Man standing on a snowy hill trail taking in the view while cross country skiing
Alessio Soggetti / Unsplash

Skiing and snowboarding are exhilarating winter sports that attract many people to high-altitude destinations around the world. However, the thrill of shredding down snowy slopes can be overshadowed by altitude sickness, which is a condition caused by lower oxygen levels at high elevations.

Symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue can quickly dampen your adventure. Fortunately, with the proper preparation, you can minimize the risk of altitude sickness and ensure your mountain getaway is memorable for all the right reasons.

Arrive a day early to acclimate

The key to preventing altitude sickness is giving your body time to adjust to the lower oxygen levels. This process, known as acclimatization, can’t be rushed. When you ascend too quickly, your body struggles to adapt, increasing the risk of altitude sickness.

Plan to arrive at least a day before trying any strenuous activity. Use this time to relax and engage in light activities like walking. This gradual approach gives your body a chance to adapt to the altitude and reduces the likelihood of developing altitude sickness.

Hydrate a lot

At higher altitudes, the air is not only thinner but also drier. This can lead to rapid dehydration, exacerbating the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your trip. Aim for around 1 to 1.5 liters more than you usually drink, and avoid or limit diuretics like caffeine and alcohol, as they can dehydrate you further. If you struggle to remember to hydrate, try carrying a reusable water bottle with milestone markings.

Get plenty of rest

Sleep is crucial for recovery and adaptation. The stress of high-altitude exposure can tire the body more quickly, making adequate rest essential.

Prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. This might mean going to bed earlier than usual or taking short naps during the day. Also, consider the comfort of your sleeping arrangements, as a good mattress and a quiet environment can significantly improve sleep quality.

Watch what you eat (And don’t drink too much)

What you eat plays a significant role in how your body responds to high altitude. Meals rich in carbohydrates are recommended because they’re easier to metabolize at higher elevations and provide steady energy.

While it might be tempting to enjoy après-ski drinks, alcohol can worsen the symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s a vasodilator and can lead to dehydration, both of which can exacerbate altitude sickness symptoms. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and balance it with plenty of water.

Ski lift at Brian Head ski resort
Brian Head Ski Resort / Brian Head Ski Resort

By arriving a day early to acclimate, staying well-hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and watching your diet, you can significantly reduce the risk of altitude sickness on your ski or snowboard trip.

Remember, the goal is to enjoy the mountain experience safely and comfortably. Paying attention to these tips not only helps in preventing altitude sickness but also enhances your overall experience, ensuring that your time on the slopes is as enjoyable as you imagined.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Joseph
Sarah is a lover of all things outdoors. With a bright sense of adventure and a heart for the mountains, she is always…
Keep your digits defrosted this winter with these gloves and mittens
Warm and waterproof gloves and mittens are what you need for winter sports
Person walking in snow with snow gear on

Winter is in full swing, and if you're anything like me, you've probably almost worn through your first set of gloves already. Or perhaps you've discovered that the old faithfuls you've been storing in the loft are finally ready to be let out to pasture. Either way, it's time for a new set of gloves before you hit the slopes.

Let's face it, the only thing worse than cold hands when you're ripping around the mountain is cold wet hands. All the best snowboard gloves now feature heavy-duty waterproofing and dependable durability, or so the labels say. But how do you differentiate between a pair of gloves that will keep your hands cozy and keep you on the slopes and a pair that will spend all day hanging over a heater because you've already had to stop and buy a hot chocolate just to get some feeling back? Well, we've got some good news for you — you don't have to. That's because we've done it for you with these breathable, waterproof, and highly durable gloves and mitts.

Read more
Your winter gear deserves serious protection: The best ski and snowboard bags
Pack your snow-riding equipment in these bags
A house covered in snow in the winter

Winter is still here, and that means skiing and snowboarding season is too. While a good bag is excellent for getting your gear to the mountains and ski resorts, it's also a great way to store your ski or snowboard until the weather turns cold again and the ski resorts reopen. Keep moisture and dust off your gear so when you pull it out next season it'll be ready to go.

In addition to a good waterproof duffel bag, ski and snowboard bags are essential for travel to avoid dinging and denting your expensive equipment, and many are padded, offering additional protection. This is especially if you plan to travel. Not sure where to go? Colorado is a great ski destination and you can even stay in Hunter S. Thompson’s cabin while you're there. Wherever you decide to go, here are our picks for the best ski and snowboard bags you can buy, covering soft shells, hard shells, and rolling models for both snow sports.

Read more
A fan-favorite ski competition in Jackson Hole has been canceled, and you already know exactly why
Kings and Queens 2024 is no more
A professional skier makes a jump-drop from a high cliff against the blue sky leaving a trail of snow powder in the mountains. Caucasian ridge in the background. Photo from the slopes of Mount Elbrus. The concept of extreme sports and recreation in the mountains in winter. Copy the space


Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a big-mountain playground with few peers. The stats speak for themselves: a 4,139 vertical drop, 2,500 inbound acreage, and a 458” average snowfall put it at the pinnacle of North American resorts. Not only that, but the famed Aerial Tram carries 100 people to the top in only nine minutes, with stunning 360-degree views.

Read more