Skiing Safety Tips | Jeanine Barone

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Even with the most well-planned winter vacations, mishaps and misadventures can occur. Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding near your backyard or in the backcountry, you can have a collision with another skier or with a tree or other object, resulting in head trauma or other ills, such as a torn ligament or tendon. Some people go backcountry skiing and find themselves in avalanche-prone areas with potentially fatal results. Even staying at a cushy resort that’s at high altitude can result in potentially life-threatening health problems, whether you’re fit or not.

For example, it’s important to recognize the first signs of altitude sickness: you become nauseated, develop a headache, lose your appetite, and have trouble sleeping.

To reduce the likelihood of developing altitude sickness in the first place, make time in your vacation schedule to ascend slowly to your destination, especially if you live at sea level. For example, if your ski resort is 8,000 feet or higher, spend at least two days at 5,000 feet before moving higher. And, then  if you intend on going even higher, say 10,000+ feet, spend at least three days at 8,000 feet first. Most people don’t do this, of course.

Once you’re at altitude, even if you’re healthy, drink plenty of fluids to reduce the likelihood of dehydration, avoid taking sleeping pills or tranquilizers, exercise lightly at first, and schedule some rest days.

If you’ve had problems with altitude sickness before or even if you haven’t and you plan to travel above 12,000 feet, discuss with your physician about taking Diamox, a prescription medication that could prevent altitude sickness if you take it before you arrive at high altitude and can also help you recover from altitude sickness. Your physician will discuss potential side effects and whether you are a candidate to take this diuretic.

But staying prepared for winter sports and activities also means contingency planning with a reliable medical transport membership program such as MedjetAssist. Sure, there are plenty of insurance plans, some even through your platinum card. But what makes Medjet different from the rest is that they can arrange a medical transfer to the hospital of your choice anywhere in the world regardless of the medical emergency and with no exclusions for pre-existing conditions (if you’re under 75 years old) so long as the member is 150 miles from home.  And this is whether you’re vacationing in the U.S. or you’re at an international locale.

 Jeanine Barone is a travel writer whose articles can be found in National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveller (UK), and dozens of other top-tier magazines and newspapers. She’s also the author of a new travel tips e-book, The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel, which provides more than 200 tips to help everyone from novice travelers to road warriors, whether they’re traveling on business or in the backcountry. This e-book is available for the Kindle, Nook, iPad and as a downloadable pdf from Barone’s blog: