Top Three “Must Know” High Altitude Tips

This Memorial Day Weekend promises to be the best ever in Mammoth Lakes. With the bike park opening and the ski area still operating, you can ski, mountain bike, hike, fish, and rock climb all in the same day if you want to.

Here are the top three high altitude tips to ensure this Memorial Day Weekend is your best ever in Mammoth Lakes!

1. Layer

Mornings are still cool, with lows in the upper 40s. That means you’ll need extra layers to keep warm. However as the day heats up, and as you warm up with activity, you’ll want to shed some of those layers to keep comfortable. When layering keep the following in mind:

  • Use multiple thin layers. Consider the following recipe for layering: a thin polypropylene or merino wool under layer, a fleece jacket for the mid layer, and a light wind breaker on top. As you warm up, shed your top layers.
  • Avoid cotton, especially in the back country. Unlike synthetic fabrics and wool, which wick moisture away for your skin and stay warm when wet, cotton holds moisture (such as sweat) next to your skin. With cotton, you may cool down more than you want to. Opt for merino wool or synthetic fibers. Need layers? Check out Mammoth Mountaineering Supply, Alpine Approach, Kittridge Sports, Footloose Sports, or Mammoth Out Door Sports.

2. Hydrate

This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how quickly you can dehydrate at altitude, especially if you’re enjoying a margarita slope-side, or a toddy on the golf course.  Make sure to drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol consumption to one or two drinks.

My personal favorite way to rehydrate and replenish is with Coconut water, available at Vons, the Shell gas station on the corner of Old Mammoth and Main St, and at Sierra Sundance Whole Foods store.

3. Wear Sunscreen (under your nose)

We’ll just categorize this under the heading “high altitude tips nobody tells you.” It only took one time with me. My first time skiing at altitude, I slathered on the the sunscreen like I was at the beach. Bad move. The UV rays from the sun reflected off the snow and burnt under my nose and chin to a crisp. It was VERY painful and NOT sexy.

  • Remember: If you’ll be around snow or snow fields (including on hikes, mountain biking, and while fishing), apply sunscreen under your nose and chin.

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