Mountain Safety Tips

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WELCOME TO THE MOUNTAINS!

Below are just a few tips to help you avoid common problems & make your vacation more enjoyable. Please read these tips to protect yourself no matter what physical condition you are in.

ALTITUDE:

People react to high altitude in various ways. Many people experience no ill effects, while other notice symptoms at elevations as low as 9000 ft. Being able to prevent, recognize and treat altitude sickness is necessary when traveling to the mountains.

ADJUSTMENT:

Traveling from sea level to heights exceeding 9000 ft. can cause a fraction of people problems adjusting to the change in altitude. Symptoms usually occur within 72-hours after arrival and usually are contained by a two to six day span. Lack of oxygen is more prevalent in the winter season as air pressure is lower. Be aware that regions with lower humidity can have a greater effect on the body in elevated altitude. The combination of decreased oxygen and cold stress greatly increases the risks of altitude and cold injury problems one may be susceptible to.

COMMON SYSTEMS:

Headache, insomnia, Nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, low-grade fever, heavy feeling in chest, decreased or loss of appetite, dizziness or light-headedness.

ACCLIMATING TIPS:
  • Upon departure from home & at your destination: Drink plenty of water & juices (more than usual).
  • Stay away from caffeine & coffee. Don't overdo caffeine as it dehydrates the body.
  • Eat lots of carbohydrates & less salts - Carbohydrates require less oxygen for metabolism than fats & proteins.
  • To increase oxygen, keep your windows slightly open.
  • Alcohol consumption in a thinner atmosphere can be dangerous. One alcoholic drink at high altitude affects you like two at sea level-Use moderation or avoid alcohol.
  • Hydrate, rest & descend if symptoms become worse.

 

PARENTS:

Kids tend to order sodas; water and juice is much better! Please pay attention to your kids and make sure that they drink ample fluids

SUN EXPOSURE:

Sunburn occurs rapidly due to a thinner atmosphere in higher altitude settings. Reflections from snow and water add to burning - even on cloudy days. Do not be surprised and miserable on vacation by quickly getting a severe sunburn! Even if you are tan or dark skinned from sun exposure at lower altitudes, you will still burn at elevations higher than 7,000 ft.

PREVENTION/PROTECTION:

Don't forget to wear sunscreen. SPF 15 is usually adequate. Frequent application is more important than the strength of the product. Beware of burning your eyes, this can be extremely uncomfortable. Everyone should wear ski goggles or sunglasses to avoid pain, injury or permanent damage to the eyes.

Mountain conditions can change rapidly. A perfectly blue-sky day can turn windy and cold within a matter of moments. Always be prepared for Mother Nature's best and worst!

  • Layer your garments so that you can remove or add something as you become overheated or cool down.
  • Make one layer wool or polar fleece that will 'wick' dampness away from your body and ultimately keep you warmer. Synthetic thermals (polypropaline or silk) work well as your first layer.
  • Use one pair of good ski socks rather than several pairs of regular socks. You want room for those toes to wiggle.
  • Ski mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves, but what ever your preference, make sure they are waterproof.
  • Hats are a great way to stay warm since a lot of body heat is lost through your head. And on warm, sunny days it's real easy to burn your scalp, so keep it covered.
  • Ski areas are notorious for being casual. Most dining out experiences require little more than jeans and a flannel shirt or a warm sweater. But that's your call - just make sure you pack your snow boots so you can get around on snow-packed sidewalks and streets.

 

WHAT TO BRING & WEAR

Skiing and snowboarding are invigorating sports. Your enjoyment will be directly affected by your physical comfort - or discomfort. Here are some tips on what to bring and what to wear. Dress properly to withstand cold temperatures and to negate the effect of the wind. Dress for warmth, but remember, temperatures can vary significantly. When you dress, keep in mind that you can always peel off a layer or two if you feel that you are dressed too warmly.

  • Your Body

    Wear layers - 2-3 medium layers are usually warmer than one bulky garment. Air trapped between layers insulates. Keeping your torso warm allows it to send its excess heat to your less well-insulated extremities. Make sure your outer layer is a fabric that is relatively waterproof and windproof.

  • Cover Your Head

    Your head is an escape valve for more than 50% of your body heat. Keep your head and ears covered with a hat or helmet. A neck gator or scarf is a good piece of clothing that keeps cold air from getting on your neck.

  • Your Face

    You'll be amazed how much warmer and comfortable you feel if your face is protected. Use a face mask or pull your scarf or neck gator up over your mouth and nose. Use lip balm for your lips.

  • Your Eyes

    Goggles help protect the face and keep eyes covered and work well when it is snowing or very cold. On a bright sunny day, dark goggles or UV protecting sunglasses, covering all sides of your eyes, work also.

  • Your Hands

    Your hands should be covered with well-insulated, waterproof, and breathable material. Mittens may better protect your hands than gloves. Glove liners help. Hot packs, little heaters for your hands, use them inside your gloves or mittens.

  • Your Feet

    Wool socks are warm and also absorb moisture. You can get wool-blends in a lightweight yet extremely warm material made especially for skiing, snowboarding, or hiking.

 

KNOW THE CODE - Skier/Snowboarder Safety:

'Your Responsibility Code' was established in 1966 by the National Ski Areas Association as a code of ethics for all skiers & riders on the mountain. Ultimately safe skiing and snowboarding on the mountain is each person's responsibility. Following 'Your Responsibility Code' will help all skiers and snowboarders have a safer mountain experience.

Your Responsibility Code
  • Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. Part of your responsibility, as a skier/snowboarder is to be in control at all times on the slopes. Be aware of your speed and the speed of those around you to maintain safe skiing on the slopes.
  • People ahead you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. When approaching other skiers and snowboarders on the slopes, remain a clear distance from them when passing. Watch for skiers making quick turns to the right and left in front of you. Keep distance from the skier or snowboarder in front of you to allow for enough room to stop or swerve if they make a sudden turn or stop.
  • You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above. If you need to take a rest or wait for friends on the slopes, select a spot on the trail where you can be clearly seen by someone approaching from above. Do not stop in the middle of a trail - move to the side.
  • Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail look uphill and yield to others. Keep an eye out for skiers up the hill as you enter a trail. It is your responsibility to make sure the trail is clear before entering or beginning again.
  • Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment. Safety straps and ski stops are required to make sure a lost ski or snowboard does not injure another skier.
  • Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of all closed areas. Obey the closed trail signs. Trails are closed due to avalanche danger, unstable conditions or exposed rocks and terrain. Prior to using any lift, you must have knowledge and the ability to load, ride and unload safely. Stay within your ability and board lifts carefully and safely. Ask lift operators for help if unsure about loading and unloading procedures.

 

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