Altitude sickness is little documented but very real problem for skiers of all abilities and levels of experience during their skiing vacations. Often a stay in an idyllic, high altitude La Plagne chalets can cause the same problems as a hike up Kilimanjaro! Here we give you the lowdown on the symptoms and experiences of skiers with altitude sickness.
What with all the rich holiday food, the intense exercise and that bottle of mulled wine you saw off around the fire of your La Plagne chalet the night before, you may put your light head and nausea down to indigestion, tiredness or even a hangover. But often, the real culprit is altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness can be a real problem for skiers, especially in high altitude locations. It is a problem which is often overlooked but which can be extremely dangerous if you find yourself affected whilst out on the slopes. Even from the comfort of your La Plagne chalet it can be an extremely unpleasant experience.
Symptoms of altitude sickness include:
The effects of altitude sickness whilst skiing can range from the unpleasant to the extremely dangerous. You are unlikely to find yourself suffering too severely in your La Plagne chalet because skiing accommodation is often situated lower than the ski slopes themselves. But once up and ready to ski, especially at altitudes greater than 6,500 ft, you could get into real trouble.
There have been plenty of frightening reports of altitude sick skiers becoming disorientated and lost in the cold. The key, according to many health professionals, is hydration. Drinking lots of water, around 8 litres a day, can help you to fend off altitude sickness. Equally, avoiding large amounts of coffee and alcohol can help stop you becoming dehydrated and therefore altitude sick.
Ascending mountains slowly can also help to reduce the problem. Perhaps spending the first day of your skiing holiday on lower ski runs and then working your way up is advised, as this will allow your body to get used to the lack of oxygen. Above all, be sensible! If you feel unwell then avoid skiing, snuggle up in your La Plagne chalet and, if the symptoms persist, seek the advice of a local doctor who will be well versed in altitude sickness problems.