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High Altitude Info
High Altitude Info
Telluride and Mountain Village are both high altitude towns, with Telluride resting in the canyon at 8745 feet and the Village perched at 9545 feet. For most individuals, making good self-care choices will allow you to feel great while visiting the high altitude climate of the San Juans. The Center for High Altitude Medicine recommends taking a transition evening at an "in-between" elevation, such as Ridgway or Ouray, on your way to the Telluride area if possible. This advice is especially important if you have a pre-existing medical condition that will increase your chances of suffering from altitude sickness.
The most common physical difficulty with visiting the Telluride area is dehydration. Start increasing your water intake the week before you come to Telluride. The amount of water an individual needs to consume to stay hydrated varies with each person's physical makeup, the best rule is to listen to your body. A "Camelbak" or other water carrying backpack is an easy way to keep sipping all day. Camelbaks and water bottles are available at any of the gear shops in Mountain Village or town.
The first sign of dehydration is a headache. The other signs include: nausea, dizziness, crankiness, confusion and muscle cramping. If you find yourself experiencing any of the signs of dehydration, you need to immediately drink water. If you feel sick to your stomach, drink in small sips.
If symptoms get worse or last for an extended period of time, seek professional medical attention. On the ski hill, that means flagging down anybody going past and asking them to get a hold of ski patrol for you. They can ask for patrol at any lift. If you are alone on the hill and need help, call 911. Off the ski hill, the Telluride Medical Center is located at 500 West Pacific Street. You can walk there if you are able or can call 911 for an ambulance if necessary.
Show restraint with alcohol.
You should think of every one alcoholic drink you consume at altitude as two drinks worth of effect. Alternate your cocktails with water to enjoy your evening out in town. Be sure to eat solid meals.
There is sleep help if you need it.
Some people have a difficult time sleeping at altitude. The Center for High Altitude Medicine makes many recommendations on their website to help you sleep well while you are here.
Please visit the Center for High Altitude Medicine's website at www.altitudemedicine.org/ for more detailed information on the potential effects of altitude and how to best care for yourself both before and during your visit.
Dressing for the San Juans
Regardless of the season, the best advice is to wear layers. Weather can change rapidly and unexpectedly in this area of the world. Avoid cotton. Cotton gets wet from the elements or your own perspiration and then holds that moisture against your body, making you cold. Poly synthetics or wool is your best bet for a base layer. Either of those materials will wick moisture away from your body. If you need to purchase layers, you can do so on-line at www.christysports.com or wait until you get here and pick out your purchases in person.
The sun's effects are much stronger in Telluride than at sea level. Wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day, whether summer or winter. You can sunburn your eyes here if you are not wearing eye protection. Make sure you and the rest of your family (no matter how young) are wearing sunglasses or goggles when outside in the San Juans.
In the Summer ...
Short sleeved top base layer
Thin fleece or sweater
Poly shorts or pants
Light to mid weight hiking socks
Light to mid weight hiking boots
In the Winter ...
Long sleeved top and bottom base layers
One or two medium to heavy fleeces, vests or sweaters (Adjust based on personal preference.)
Water-proof shell or insulated ski jacket
Water-proof ski pants (You can go insulated or not, based on your personal preference.)
One pair of ski socks (Do not layer multiple pairs of socks, this will make your feet wet and therefore cold)
Helmet (Helmets are comfortable and warm in addition to being a safety precaution.)
The above recommendations are for both adults and children. Please do not overdress your children. Telluride is a southern resort and can be very warm depending on the day's weather. Too many layers will make hot, sweaty children. Their sweat will then make them very cold.
Please save your ankles and leave your stilettos at home.