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 approved by a doctor familiar with altitude complications, sleeping pills, sedatives, or tranquilizers should be avoided as cures for sleeplessness or mild attacks of the blahs. Like alcohol, they depress respiration; this can exacerbate high-elevation illness.

Smokers, if they can, should drop the habit when skiing. Smoking affects the intake of oxygen and this, in turn, can bring on MS.

Dr. Fred T. Darvill Jr., author of Moutaineering Medicine, recommends a “high carbohydrate intake” before you start a trip to the mountains, as well as for the first few days after you arrive, to ease your passage into a soaring ski experience. Dr. Stephen Bezruchka, author of Altitude Illness, also suggests “a low-fat, low-salt, and high-carbohydrate diet.” However, he calls a good appetite a “sign of acclimatization, so eat what appeals to you. The widely touted high-energy foods may not be palatable up high. Thin people may welcome some fat in the diet to help keep insulation from melting away.”

Jet lag is only a minor cause of mountain sickness, hut if it’s a problem try the “Feast-Fast Jet Lag Diet.” This was developed at a U. S. Department of Energy lab. For information, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, 1L 60439.

Racing off to the mountains the first day to ski your butt off can push even a healthy athlete into the blahs, a disease that respects neither ego nor muscles. Take it easy for the first two or three days on those high slopes, and relax at night with a bit of extra sleep. In other words, remember the three basic rules for avoiding altitude problems:

Acclimate!

Acclimate!

Acclimate!

Your ski holiday will be a helluva lot more fun.

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