Your biggest enemy on the slopes

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on December 23, 2010 12:59 pm

It’s something you might be good about off the slopes. But 50% of skiers and riders reported that they don’t think much about it. It’s an issue that was big enough to warrant a seminar at the 2010 NSAA (National Ski Area’s Association) Conference: Hydration.

It comes up again and again; skiers aren’t great about hydrating. And staying hydrated at high altitudes while you work every muscle in your body all day is more important than you know. Altitude alone dehydrates. The website High Altitude Living reports: “At 6000 feet above sea level, you exhale and perspire twice as much moisture as you do at sea level. Over the course of a day, that can make a difference of a quart or more a day. At higher altitudes, it gets even more pronounced.” NSAA just published an article in which 2000 people were surveyed about hydrating on the slopes. About half of them said they don’t drink much water during the day and doctors and nutritionists see this as a big problem.

Dr. Robert A. Johnson, Chief of Palliative Care at Kaiser Medical Center, Walnut Creek, and an avid cross trainer, is well aware of the significance of under hydration. Research has clearly shown that “dehydration can reduce aerobic endurance” which could increase the likelihood of an untoward, avoidable accident on the slopes. Low water index means low energy people! You want full throttle up there, we know you.

The signs of dehydration you should look out for: Lack of perspiration, dizziness, nausea, headache, insomnia, irritability and fatigue. Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, which can lead to dehydration. Sipping water throughout the day, rather than slamming a bottle all at once will do better to keep you full of fluids.

You can’t rehydrate by simply having a glass of water at lunch. A lot of skiers reported consuming alcohol at the end of the day, with practically no water intake at all. Thunder Jalili, Ph.D. an associate professor of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports Science, has been skiing since he was 14. He suggests you drink at least 16 – 24 ounces of water before you start out.

There are many electrolyte enhanced waters out there, buy some!  Or keep some EmergenC or ZYM in your back pack; electrolyte tablets are an easy fix. 

Drink more water!  This means you!