Safe Skiing

Altitude Sickness

Symptoms and Description

One of the least-discussed, - mentioned, or - whispered problems with skiing the great high-altitude resorts in the towering mountains is. . . the altitude blahs. Otherwise known as mountain or altitude sickness (MS), in one way or another this affects almost all skiers from lowland

Read more...

Fortunately, much can be done to prevent altitude sickness, and to ease its symptoms, even for skiers who haven’t ventured higher than the top of the Empire State Building in 10 years.

One major cause of the problem, according to mountaineering authorities, is rapid change in altitude. High-speed travel can bring it on. Consider that skiers can fly from sea level in the morning

Read more...

Dr. Judith Brown, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, says that even under normal conditions the average person doesn’t drink enough liquid. To maintain body fluid levels at high altitudes she recommends drinking water rather than other liquids because it’s rapidly absorbed by the body.

“The more sugar something has, the more

Read more...

Here are some additional notes on avoiding the altitude blahs:

Alcohol depresses respiration - critical for acclimatization - especially during sleep. Drink water or pure juice, not alcohol, on your flight out. After you arrive, minimize or avoid the convivial drinking at the noisy bar, the wine with dinner, or the friendly nightcap for your first two or three days - until you adjust fully to the altitude.

Unless

Read more...

It is, frankly, a foolishness akin to an ostrich hiding its head in a snowbank for any high-altitude resort not to help skiers - in some discreet way, of course - recognize that the elevation may cause difficulties. I found it a pleasant surprise to read skier-friendly advice about altitude problems and how to avoid them altogether when I was staying at the Vail Athletic Club Hotel while skiing Vail - base elevation

Read more...

The cold, not the altitude, is the cause of frostbite. When outdoors, especially on windy days for prolonged periods, exposed skin may suffer mild “frostnip” or the more dangerous “frostbite” without any sense of pain. The first sign of trouble is white skin, especially around the face and ears. Wise skiers check each other occasionally for the telltale warnings on cold, cold days.

To treat

Read more...

Hypothermia is rare on the ski slopes. It’s most apt to occur on long back - country ski or snowshoe trips and can develop even in temperatures well above freezing. The victim is often a thin person who becomes chilled, physically exhausted, and wet. This results in a dangerous drop in corebody temperature, manifested by a rapid increase in pulse and respiration and a loss of physical control. This is more a matter of the body

Read more...

Light clouds skidded across the sky. It was a cold, cold day to sit in a swaying chairlift for the 10-minute ride to the summit. Some skiers hunkered down in the chairs, trying to shrink inside their clothing and keep from turning into frozen statues. Others, however, appeared quite at ease - if not completely comfortable - skiing on a day when the base lodge was crowded

Read more...

First, turn up your own body furnace. This is done with calories, lots of fat and juicy calories. Calories provide the fuel your body needs to maintain its heating system.

Between the activity level of skiing and the body’s need for heating energy in cold weather, skiers bum up calories at an astonishing rate. To try to maintain comfort on the slopes by following a low-activity, low-calo - rie,

Read more...

The body is normally covered with a natural oil. This invisible layer helps the cells retain moisture and this, in turn, helps the body stay warmer. If you insist on showering, or bathing, every day, do so as soon as you come off the mountain, so that the body oils washed off by the soap and water will build up again overnight. When the weather is brutal, it’s better, if you don’t mind, to bathe every second or third day.

Read more...

Layers

Of course, converting to a long-energy, cold-weather diet is only the foundation of keeping warm. Next comes clothing.

Dress in layers. Two lighter garments that trap air between them hold in more warmth than a single thick one. The two garments also have another advantage: When you get too warm,

Read more...

Outerwear usually consists of a warm turtleneck and the ski outfit itself. A two-piece garment, pants and jacket, is superior to a single-piece. The single-suit may look sleek, and certainly is, but it’s either all on or all off. On the other hand, a two-piece outfit with a jacket that consists of a water-resistant outer layer and a removable inner liner (which may be kept on in cold spells

Read more...

Either was by hand or with the washing machine set for warm - never hot - on the delicate cycle. Immerse the garment and squeeze out all the air before washing.

Dry only at a mild temperature, intended for delicate fabrics, in a drier. Toss in a tennis shoe during the drying

Read more...

On the coldest of days, wear a neck gaiter or face mask. If the wind blows, you can pull up the gaiter to cover your face. It will hold in the heat better than a suede face mask. If the weather turns warm, I gratefully pull off my polypro neck gaiter and stuff in inside

Read more...

Here’s a rundown of the most common synthetics used in winter and outdoor clothing:

Thinsulate: A polyester blend made by 3M that consists of 35 percent polyester and 65 percent olefin. It’s spun into a thin insulation for use in hats,

Read more...

Do you know your ability on skis?

Downgrade yourself and you might never face those challenges that could make your skiing a more exciting and rewarding experience. To overrate yourself, on the other hand - as too many of us are inclined to do - will, sooner or later, get you into trouble, usually trying to keep up with some friends on a black diamond covered with moguls and cruddy snow with a storm

Read more...

Another way to evaluate your ability is against a definition of skill levels.

Here’s one widely used:

Level I: Total beginner. May or may not have ever put on skis before.

Level 2: Has skied a few times. Can make wedge or snowplow turns and stop fairly easily.

Level 3: Can get on and off a chairlift

Read more...

Low Intermediate: Is beginning to link parallel turns and can actually ski and stop with only minor problems. Recommended skiing: Green and blue trails. Should remember to take an occasional lesson, either private or with a peer group, to keep improving.

Intermediate: Can ski parallel on blue runs; has some ability to handle moguls, crud, or heavy snow; on a steep pitch, though, does more

Read more...

Safety on the mountain is a twofold responsibility: that of the individual skier or snowboarder, no matter his level of ability, and that of the ski resort. To inform skiers of their own obligations on the mountain, the National Ski Areas Association has renamed and revised the original “Skier’s Responsibility Code.” It’s now known as “Your Responsibility Code.” It says:

1. Always

Read more...

If a skier runs into serious difficulty skiing beyond an area’s boundaries, someone will be along to help him. In the United States, this task usually falls to a resort’s ski patrol or, if he’s waaaay over there, to a trained mountain rescue unit. No matter that he got in trouble through his own idiocy; he will be rescued. There’s growing sentiment, however,

Read more...

It’s standard practice in the United States to print, on the back of each lift ticket, a release stating that the skier accepts and voluntarily assumes the risks of injury, and, in turn, releases the resort from all liability while he’s skiing. Is this binding?

In a case in Wisconsin, the courts upheld the validity of such a release

Read more...

You’re excited about your first ski trip of the season. You’ve checked everything. It’s all there. Even the spanking-new, warm, waterproof gloves you’ve needed for two years.

But before you snap on those skis for your first run, have you calibrated yet? Yes, calibrated, not celebrated.

A few skiers - not many, but a few - somehow have the impression that

Read more...

Only in the past few decades has the ski industry developed bindings that actually release the foot in a slow, twisting fall as well as in a high-speed impact. But the finest bindings must still be checked for proper setting from time to time.

So, what do you do to keep your bindings working

Read more...

How sharp and smooth are your edges? You can tell with a fingernail. Brush your nail lightly across the edge. If the edge is sharp, a slight amount of your nail will peel off.

Run your fingers up and down the edges. Do you feel rough spots? Ever tumble head-over-moguls when your edges got caught? Having rough edges is one reason you fell.

You can keep your edges

Read more...

Usually, the only care your boots need is a nightly airing and drying. Some skiers pull the inner lining loose every evening for better airing. Others won’t touch the lining unless it’s soaked from snow getting inside the top of the boot.

One problem with older boots

Read more...

No pair of skis at any ski area in the world is immune from the highly contagious disease called: OH, SHIT. SOMEONE STOLE MY SKIS.

The only prevention is locking them.

Many skiers have the odd idea that if they separate their skis in the racks they won’t disappear. They will and they do if they’re either new skis, or skis with new and valuable bindings, when the pros are at work. Here’s why:

The average

Read more...

Warning: Do you really need it? (Of course. Why do you think I bought it?) Here’s a list of accessories that range from the helpful to the necessary.

1. Goggles. The double-lens ski goggles resist steaming up inside better than the single-lens kind. Most important, especially at high altitudes, according to Dr. Barry Chaiken,

Read more...

2. Car racks. It’s fairly standard for a set of car racks to carry four pairs of skis. If your rack doesn’t lock in the skis, follow the old adage: Man, don’t let ’em out of your sight.

3. Combination boot and traveling bag. This has space at each end for a boot, while the large interior can be filled with clothing.

Read more...

Ratings - Part 2

Low Intermediate: Is beginning to link parallel turns and can actually ski and stop with only minor problems. Recommended skiing: Green and blue trails. Should…

Mountain Manners

in Kids
However, the fact that they did spend time in various ski schools did not eliminate what I feel keenly is the responsibility of all parents of kids on the…

Nonskiing Necessities

in Kids
Apres-ski boots: These are an important adjunct on a ski trip. The best are those that slip on quickly and are both warm and tolerably lightweight. Laceup…

CROSS-COUNTRY

The ancient grandfather of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, is alive, healthy, and more popular than at any time in his 4,000-year history. True, no longer…

Information

European tourist offices can provide you with general information, as well as specific information about individual resorts. Contact them at: Austrian tourist…

Who Pays the Piper?

If a skier runs into serious difficulty skiing beyond an area’s boundaries, someone will be along to help him. In the United States, this task usually falls to…