Altitude sickness – key tips from Aspen Colorado

Aspen swells with vibrancy as the snow melts and a plethora of warm-weather pursuits become available. Not only does Aspen offer fabulous outdoor activities and a backdrop of outstanding natural beauty, its diverse historical and cultural offerings is what makes this high-altitude destination so popular.

Summer Downtown Aspen - Jeremy Swanson

Whether you are gearing up for the hiking and biking trails or the headline jazz concerts you should be prepared for the possible onset of altitude sickness, otherwise known as acute mountains sickness (AMS) or “soroche”. High altitudes are stressful on the body, and the decrease in oxygen levels up high can produce debilitating effects and ruin your holiday.

Here are the top ten suggestions from Aspen Chamber’s VP of Sales & Marketing, Julia Theisen to help you to prepare yourself and allow your body to acclimatise so you get the best out of your holiday:

  • If time allows, break your journey and spend a night at a lower altitude in Denver (at 5280 feet). The key is to gain height slowly, whether you are hiking up a mountain or travelling. Stop to rest if symptoms emerge and return to a lower altitude if they persist.
  • Water is the number one way to help your body adjust to our high and dry air. You need to drink twice the amount of water as you would at home.
  • Monitor your alcohol consumption over your first few days. You will feel its affects faster than usual, so be aware & make sure to drink water as well.
  • Eat light and include lots of carbohydrates.
  • Take it easy and do not overexert yourself. Do not compete with others as everyone adjusts to altitude at a different rate.
  • Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of AMS, and look out for other people in your group.
  • Always dress in layers. The weather can change rapidly and you want to be prepared.
  • Remember sunscreen and sunglasses – in Aspen you are closer to the sun at 7,908 feet above sea level!
  • Take oxygen. In Aspen this is available either by can (from supermarkets/pharmacies) or try the oxygen treatment at Remede spa to help the process.
  • If you are feeling extremely ill please call 911 for medical attention.