Spring has officially arrived at Beaver Creek, which means temperatures are rising, snow conditions are wonderfully soft and playful, and the sun is becoming more powerful.  In light of the changing season, three words become invaluable: safety, safety, safety. Nothing quite beats being on the mountain on a bluebird day, but it is quite easy to forget that in a high alpine environment it is still paramount to take care of your body.

Be sure to apply sunscreen regularly. Higher altitudes = thinner atmosphere = less absorption of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  UV levels increase by approximately 10% with every 3,000ft of elevation gain. To put things in perspective, the average elevation of the United States is roughly 2,500 ft, which means that at the top of Beaver Creek Mountain (11,440 ft.), UV rays are approximately 30% stronger.  This in combination with the highly reflective nature of snow makes skiers and snowboards particularly susceptible to a case of sunburn.  It is recommended to apply a healthy layer at the beginning of the day, and then again every two hours. Don’t let cloud cover lull you into a false sense of security; it has been proven that 80% of UV radiation can penetrate light cloud cover!

Prepare for altitude, take breaks often, and hydrate constantly.  It is unrealistic to think that your body will perform as efficiently at altitude as it does in your conditioned environment.  There are a few steps in allowing your body to acclimate, which begin even before you leave for your trip! Pre hydrating allows a smoother transition to altitude and will ease joint pain and discomfort.  Our cartilage mostly consists of water and dehydration will cause weakness and slow joint repair.

Even when you think you’re not thirsty, hydrate! Research suggests that for an unknown reason, there is a decreased sensation of thirst in an alpine environment.  Breathing tends to be heavier and more frequent, and with each breath you are losing a bit of fluid.  Low humidity levels also cause fluid loss through the skin.  Never ignore your thirst, and consume a little more than you think you need! If you are downright sick of drinking water, foods with high water content cant be a great substitute. Many fruits and vegetables have water content of 90% and above!

Be aware of the symptoms of dehydration.  If you begin feeling any of the below, stop into one of our lodges where we offer complimentary cups of water or bottles for purchase!

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • lack of perspiration
  • nausea

Know your skier responsibility code. This applies to year round skiing at Beaver Creek. In order to avoid collisions and other on mountain incidents, please follow the guidelines below.

1. Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects.

2. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.

3. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail or are not visible from above.

4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others.

5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.

6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.

7. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely.

All mountain employees in uniform are available to assist with any safety questions or issues. If you should encounter any problems, here is a list of helpful phone numbers.

Beaver Creek Ski Patrol: (970) 754-6610

Mountain Security: (970) 754-5848

Medical Center: (970) 949-0800

Information Center: (970) 754-4636

Visit www.beavercreek.com/safety for more information. and remember, PLAY IT SAFE PLAY ALL SEASON.