for Backcountry skiing and snowboarding

Ken Roberts

Altitude

You don't have to be climbing Mt Everest to be affected by altitude.  If you're traveling from near sea-level, you can get impacted by minor symptoms, or life-threatening problems. 

Ken would typically start feeling the affects at 8000 feet -- first nausea and tiredness -- and especially when climbing uphill in the backcountry.  It would slow him down and take a lot of the fun out of it.

Tip -- Talk to a doctor about getting a prescription for acetazolamide (Diamox).  It's effective for lots of people -- not against the full impact of high altitude -- but it can help reduce many of the symptoms.  Before Diamox, it would usually take Ken 2-3 days to acclimatize to a mountain area, especially in regions with higher bases and summits.  This was affecting our decisions about which regions to visit on trips.  With Diamox, Ken can often go up to 11000 ft or more on tours the first day.  (But usually you have to more cautious about how high you sleep at night).

Transporting all that gear

It seems scary the first time you do it.  But we pack up skis and tents and all kinds of assorted gear and check it as baggage with us on our airline flights.  

We put the skis in padded bag(s), and the other gear in big duffle bags.  We do some elementary things like padding clothing around bindings, and protecting things with edges and points.

We've done this a lot of times for a number of years.  Our skis have never had any damage.  The only other thing that ever got damaged was an electric razor packed without its case at one end of a ski bag.  And nothing ever got lost by the airline for more than a day.

more . . .

see also

  • Training for travel -- If you're a flatlander, it can be a challenge to stay in shape to get up those hills.

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