Be Safe & Have Fun
Mammoth offers many recreational opportunities from downhill skiing and snowboarding to mountain biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding. The center of town is approximately 7,500 ft above sea level, and the elevation at the base of Mammoth Mountain near the Main Lodge is 9,000 ft, with the mountain's summit towering at 11,053 ft. Follow these tips to avoid any side effects from effects due to Mammoth’s high elevation.
When you first arrive, acclimatize yourself for a period of time prior to beginning any strenuous activities. At high elevations, the atmosphere is thinner and there's less oxygen and humidity available than at sea level. This can result in a number of symptoms, such as muscle fatigue, insomnia, mild headaches or slight shortness of breath.
Our thin atmosphere filters out only a minimum of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and can result in severe sunburn. Be sure to take adequate precautions to protect your eyes and skin. During high-exposure activities such as spring skiing, those with fair skin may experience sunburn after only two hours of sun exposure, even after applying maximum sunscreen protection. Parents should be especially careful with young children, and apply a generous amount of sunscreen prior to any outdoor activities.
At this higher elevation, the weather can change quickly. Prolonged exposure to the elements can cause serious problems in any season. Children are not always aware that they are becoming too cold. Parents should watch for red noses and red ears. If this occurs, bring the child in from the cold, remove wet clothes and warm the child and affected areas immediately. Take frequent breaks from the cold or heat. It is wise to layer your clothing, no matter what the season. A t-shirt, wool sweater, nylon windbreaker with hood and a bottle of water are basics for just about any summer activity. Winter sports enthusiasts should wear warm, water-resistant clothing and goggles or sunglasses with adequate UV protection.
Eat Lightly and Drink Plenty of Liquids
You may tend to become dehydrated more quickly at high altitude than at sea level, so drink plenty of water and other fluids (at least 8–10 glasses daily). You should also avoid drinking alcoholic beverages for the first 24 hours of your stay.
Protect Your Eyes
It is also important to use proper UV protection for your eyes. The surface of the snow or water can act as a reflector of UV rays and can generate a great deal of UV exposure to the eyes. Equip yourself and your children with UV sunglasses or goggles. Failure to wear proper eye protection can result in an actual burn of the eye’s surface – a painful condition requiring medical treatment.
Listen to Your Body
If you experience symptoms such as headache, insomnia and/or fatigue, you may have a mild form of altitude sickness. These symptoms are a warning to decrease your activity level. If symptoms persist or begin to worry you, don’t hesitate to contact ski patrol or get checked out the Mammoth Hospital.
It’s wise not to have an alcoholic drink at lunch if you plan to return to the slopes afterwards. Most ski accidents occur in the afternoon, as muscles begin to fatigue. The effects of muscle fatigue are increased by the consumption of alcohol.
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