10 Easy Hydration Tips for Skiers & Snowboarders

These 10 easy hydration tips for skiers and snowboards will set you up for a great day on the snow! I know we get bombarded the the “water guilt” a lot in social media channels (maybe your doctor?) and most of us are aware that we are in a water deficit.

I have complied my favorite tips for water consumption and the recommended amounts. Try these 10 easy tips might to make reaching that extra 1.5 liters of water per day a little easier.

These photos happened to feature “hydration” but they were actually for a hat company that photographer Lisa Seaman took. We were at New Moon Cafe in Keystone, Colorado. How do you stay hydrated when you are out skiing and snowboarding?

The Mayo Clinic and other authorities suggest an adult male (for ideal hyrdation) should aim to consume 3.7 L/day and women 2.7 L/day (not all of which has to be water by the way). Another common suggestion found is the “8 cups a day”. When at high altitude you need to consume an additional extra 1/3 of that suggestion.

When at altitude this is even more imperative that we meet those hydration goals to prevent ski injury, help combat fatigue, and decrease the risk of serious injury. At high altitude we are not only combating lower oxygen levels, but also an increased respiratory rate (even at rest) which means we are loosing even MORE hydration.

In 2015 I did a literature review about ski injury prevention for skiers and snowboarders (recreational not pro athletes) the studies overwhelmingly concluded that hydration & nutritional deficits lead to injury. The main point that I still contemplate today is that the risk of falling significantly increased when the skier was dehydration. These falls were also correlated that severity of that fall was more serious with dehyrdation (total tear or tendon separation).

With all these considerations I have complied my best tips & tricks to stay hydrated to share with you:

  • Pack a Collapsable Water Bottle. These are not new and likely the easiest way to keep water on you at all times. They are inexpensive and a lot of the resorts have started to sell them.
  • Herbal Tea in a Collapsable Cup. One of the most comforting & inexpensive ways to hydrate on the hill is to pack some herbal tea and a collapsable camp cup (easily fits even in a small females ski pocket). Water can be tiresome, and the warmth will help with any evaporative stress you might be feeling (dry throat/lungs/nose from being at altitude).
  • Pack Hydrated Snacks. A few years ago I started packing my own lunches to avoid the daily resort food – a primary reason being hydration. It would not cut it to just eat nuts & granola bars – I would often feel worse. I now pack a lettuce wrap w/ protein, and a bag of berries (and maybe one dehydrated snack) . Here are the other hydrated foods I have had luck packing in my front pockets: apples slices (with lemon to prevent browning), strawberries retain most of there shape, blue berries, goji berries (*I rehydrate them in the hot herbal tea), carrots, celery, pickles, olives and rice wraps with julienned vegetables.
  • Check Your Coffee Consumption. I LOVE coffee and it pains me to even write this…consider cutting back your consumption at least the first 48 hours at elevation. Try limiting yourself to 8oz in the AM and replacing the habit with herbals/decaffeinated drinks. I actually keep a bag of “half calf” in my cabinet for when I return from traveling. Even after being gone a week coming back to elevation can feel dehydrating – I replace the fully leaded for the half calf for the first few days.
  • Watch Alcohol consumption. No surprises here – except that dehydration from excessive alcohol consumption is an especially painful state of punishment while in the mountains. Most sources say one drink has double the effect at elevation.
  • Lower Burner. When winter hits, the dryness can feel depleting – try filling up sinks, and a big pot of water on the stove and let it simmer. Adding moisture to the air may at least give the effect that you are more hydrated.
  • Pay Attention to Breakfast & Dinner. Similar to the on the hill nutrition thought, be aware of what dinner consists of – can you add some well hydrated fruits & vegetables to your meals?
  • UV protection. The UV exposure at elevation is no joke – and significantly increases dehydration levels especially if you do get burned. Wear a 30 + SPF and other UV protective goggles, gloves and layer to lessen the effect. If you forget immediately start rehydrating (remember you are evaporating even more from your skin up high), and finding some aloe (mountain burns can be worse than a rough beach vacation burn).
  • Find an Electrolyte Drink you Like. I put this one in here with caution. Supplements and electrolyte drinks can be hard to find a quality one that actually serves your body. Recently coconut water has gained a lot of popularity as a hydration cure – which it does to an extent. From what I have found they contain a lot of potassium (one necessary nutrient) but not much else . Do your own research and always read your labels (careful some of them contain caffeine?!).
  • Healthy Water Habits Start at Home. Habits are difficult to change and ingrain so if you have issues hydrating at home it might be hard on your ski vacation. Start now by creating healthy triggers (an actionable thing you can manipulate that precedes a behavior) to build new habits before your trip – I have a mason jar by my contacts so in the morning the first thing I see is a cup of water! Cheers!

I hope some of these tips are new for you and help you stay hydrated on the hill. Do not forget to subscribe to stay in touch this ski season and let me know what helps you stay hydrated!

Best – Emily

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