Altitude - Hydration, Fatigue and Nutrition
Bonne Santé is based in the Espace Killy region where Val d’Isère and Tignes are located between 1550 and 2100 metres above sea level - the Grande Motte Glacier, which rises to a lofty 3450 metres, and is accessible during winter and summer months is also within the Espace Killy area. Your body won’t be used to being at such high altitudes, so you need to take time to acclimatize, stay hydrated by increasing the amount of water you drink, make sure you rest to avoid fatigue and ensure you eat the right nutrition.
Here we have outlined some tips and further information to keep you safe at altitude.
In the winter months, Skiers and Boarders are particularly at risk of dehydration – not just because of the altitude but the weather conditions are often dryer and they are often working hard in high, dry cold altitudes. The dry air means you will be losing moisture from your mouth and nose and despite the cold, when you are skiing/boarding you will sweat in your clothes. However, whilst most people know to drink more water in hot weather, they don’t automatically do the same in cold.
Good hydration is essential to reduce fatigue & aid muscle recovery. The key to success at altitude is to hydrate regularly, above all else. Dehydration exacerbates symptoms of altitude sickness and diminishes appetite further, so if you feel the start of a headache, try warding it off with a carb-loaded beverage such as, juice mixes or soups, combine water and carbs; the more per meal, the better. Aim to drink 3-4 litres of water a day.
Our tips to stay safe and hydrated
- Monitor colour of urine (if it looks darker than usual, drink more water)
- Sports drinks help keep energy levels up and boost fluid retention
- Caffeine and alcohol do not count but if you do drink them, make sure you balance the effect by drinking a glass or small bottle water
Remember in the Alps:
- 1 Drink at Altitude can equal 2/3 drinks at sea level – so you need to double or triple your fluid intake
- Alcohol dehydrates the body and at high altitude it severely reduces reaction times
- When your body starts to cool, and you start to feel cold because you have stopped exercising, this may be sign of dehydration, so please drink. If hot and sweaty, remove the ‘wettest’ layer to stay warm and grab some water.
At Bonne Santé we know that when people arrive at higher altitudes, their bodieswill be working harder than ever before. They also don’t recover as well. So, iIf you’re out for a long trip, pace yourself.
Reduce the intensity of your days on the mountain and you’ll be able to go at it longer and avoid injury. It’s always better to take it easy for the first 3-4 days, otherwise, you risk burn out. Make sure you are nourishing yourself properly when the day is done. Let your muscles recover. Hydrate (Don’t skip straight to apres ski – we know just how tempting that can be!), think WATER and drink it).
Remember in the alps:
- you will get more out of your days if you’re mindful of what you do with your downtime - use your head
- If it’s too cold to breathe, head indoors, get a hot chocolate and enjoy the marshmallows
- If its too hot to breath, head indoors, grab some water, and an ice cream or lolly
- at altitude, your body is working overtime even when you doing nothing
- Fatigue causes:
- Poor biomechanics
- Aches and pains
- Poor concentration
- Poor neural firing
Give yourself time to recover, with plenty of rest and sleep built into your training regime.
Don't forget nutrition and hydration!
Rest & Sleep
Hydration & Nutrition
Your body may significantly increase the amount of calories that you burn in the Alps due to higher altitude, especially winter sports on slopes such as skiing and snowboarding. This is due to:
- Cold temperatures
- Heavy equipment
“What’s the best food to eat on high altitude treks, climbs, expeditions, skiing and snowboarding?” we hear you ask… The short answer is: whatever tastes the best and will be something you will want to eat regularly. You’ll also need to acclimatise to working out at higher altitudes, so that you will be able to resume fairly normal eating habits. Eating to match exertion levels, and then some, is crucial in order to maintain lean muscle mass, keep sharp, and stay at a healthy body weight.
Remember: Food = Fuel
Here are Bonne Sante’s tips:
- Eat a good breakfast
- Eat a mix of carbs and protein for lunch and supper
- Re-fuel by having regular snacks (avoid junk)
- Have something to eat as soon as you come off the slopes (skiing/Snowbording), trails (hiking/cycling), and climb – it helps repair the body and prevent fatigue