I remember last season in Courchevel going for a long walk on a bright sunny day on the crests of Creux Noirs. I had my airbag ready on my back, my snowboard under my arm. I was looking for the great off piste lines by Aiguille du fruit. There were no tracks, untouched, and in spring, this north face exposed run is one of the best in the Courchevel valley. But the walk is quite long, my feet were crushing the snow in the sun. I was terribly thirsty. The descent went well but i didn't have the mojo to ride properly. I knew that my muscles were not in proper shape because i was dehydrated, and i lost on top a lot of water due to the walk, the heat, and altitude. I had a lot of aapoinments doing sport massage in top chalets of Courchevel. Doing sport massage courchevel is quite demanding for the massage therapist, it's physical and usually the chalets are quite over heated. So the score for me that day was a long physical effort on a dehydrated body. I will do a post on hydration and physical performance soon. i m gonna discuss today on how altitude affects hydration.
Hydration is vital for the human body. Without water we can't function. Altitude sickness is linked with the lack of oxygen and linked as well with dehydration. At 6000 feet studies show that our body exhales and perspires twice as much moisture as we do at sea level. 6000 feet is roughly the altitude of Courchevel ski resort, yep where most of my clients are sleeping, partying, eating. In one day at this alitude we are loosing twice the amount of water as we do at sea level. In high altitude surroundings the air pressure is weaker, water aims then to evaporate quicker. We all noticed that dry mouth feeling in the morning as we wake up. It's because our lungs and skin just release more water because of altitude. Being a physiotherapist, osteopath and sport massage therapist in Courchevel requires a lot of physical work, i personnaly drink between 2 to 3 liters of water a day. On top of air pressure, the french alps are know to be dryer than sea levels. Combine those factors, low air pressure, dry air, we are dramaticaly loosing water. Weirdly and science doesn't know why, we don't have the same feeling of thirst in altitude. Make sure you drink plenty of water as when thirst hits, it's already too late. Try to avoid diuretic drinks like coffee, tea, sodas, alcohol it will make you pee and exagerates the dehydration your are experiencing in altitude.
It is quite tempting to drink this lovely water in streams in the valley of Courchevel or even eat snow. This stream water is usually highly minerals concentrated, and snow is poorly balanced with minerals. It can cause digestive; circulatory problems, which leads to diahorea, so more loss of water.
So you got it ! altitude is a major factor of dehydration and dehydration affect your skiing, snowboarding performances.
There are signs to monitor for dehydration :
- lack of perspiration
During your stay in Courchevel try to double your water intakes.