by Joel Condren, owner of 8200 Mountain Sports

Ski vacations at Wolf Creek are GREAT. Fall Big Game Hunting is a spectacular experience. Summer Hiking & Biking has unlimited opportunities.  Clean air, blue skies await your arrival.  A great many of you will drive all night long in order to get here and make the most of your time on the slopes. Keep in mind as you travel to southern Colorado, most likely you are gaining an incredible amount of elevation from your hometown. Gaining elevation faster than your body can adjust to the thin air at high elevations causes what is commonly referred to as Altitude Sickness. Basically, your body is robbed of oxygen. However, there are several things you can do to help reduce or even eliminate the symptoms. Start by drinking plenty of water before leaving home. If you have the time, allow your body to acclimate with an extra day of rest in South Fork (elev. 8200’) prior to heading up the ski area (elev. 10,400’ to 11,900’). Drink more water than you normally do. Also, eat foods that are high in carbs and low in salt. Drink even more water. Try to avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. I know, I know, what fun is that? But trust me it will help. Have I mentioned you need to drink more water? Mild symptoms of altitude sickness may include shortness of breath, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Severe cases of Altitude Sickness are rare but can be serious. If you experience trouble breathing, confusion, loss of motor skills, or blue/gray lips and/or fingernails seek immediate help. Prescription medications are available to help you adjust to high altitude; consult your doctor. Additionally, local ski shops often carry a non-prescription herbal supplement and canned oxygen. Both have helped numerous high altitude sufferers.

[Joel Condren is the owner, founder and head fishing guide of 8200 Mountain Sports. Joel lives in South Fork and has enjoyed educating others about all the outdoor wonders of the area for the past 18 years.]