It’s cold. Everything feels frozen. Even your teeth are cold. It’s hard to prioritize what to eat while you’re on the hill, but guess what? You still gotta eat. For this reason, eating well and hydrating all day, every day, especially leading up to a big trip.
When it’s 10 degrees outside no one wants to chow down on a frozen energy bar. Heck, half the time you don’t even wanna take your gloves off to open it. Carrying around a pack of hydration that freezes is more than annoying. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you don’t sweat out electrolytes and burn calories. Both need to be replaced, just like when it’s hot.
1. Stay Hydrated ALL DAY.
Whether you’ve got a big trip planned in the future or next week or you’re there right now, you should always try to make sure you’re hydrated and well nourished. Working with deficiencies is never good, and potentially dangerous. Good hydration takes practice, so start trying to make it a habit now. Use a low or zero calorie electrolyte mix whenever possible. Vega Sport makes a portable zero calorie mix you can carry with you and slip into any water bottle. Sip all day. This will be even more important when you’re at high altitude, where just existing can be dehydrating. When you’re on a ski trip, always be drinking, you sweat so much more than you can even imagine. Plus the apres ski drinks, and big dinners will require more hydration than usual to digest as well.
2. Eat well the morning of and don’t forget to drink!
Starting the day out with breakfast is important. Because of the cold (and mittens), it’s hard to get the adequate amount of hydration and food once you hit the mountain. Start with a balanced breakfast. Make sure you start with complex carbohydrates like Oatmeal or Whole grain toast. Add some protein like healthy nut butters, or egg whites (we like to scramble 2-3 eggs with one yolk). Also, don't shy away from bacon. Everyone loves bacon and if you're active, you can handle a few days per week.Make sure you drink while you’re eating. You’ll need all the hydration you can get, especially if you’re at altitude. Altitude is wildly dehydrating, drink drink drink. It’ll help so much.
3. When you’re on the lift, eat!
When you’re skiing at high altitudes you will consume carbs at an increasingly rapid rate. Studies show that skiing can burn up to 4 calories per hour per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 160lbs it’s possible you’re burning over 600 calories per hour. Carry foods that won't freeze. Energy bars go hard. We recommend carrying trail mixes that have a good balance of nuts and dried fruit, like AllGood Provisions High Antioxidant Mix and Kind Clusters. Sports waffles also work great, we like Rip Van Wafels or Honey Stinger waffles. For quick energy, Honey Stinger Chews are great, they were developed in Steamboat Springs, CO and made to never freeze. Gels can be a sticky disaster.
4. You’re still sweating when it’s cold:
Even though you don’t want to, because taking a swig of a cold beverage is the last thing you want to do when it’s cold, do it. Just like you can dehydrate when you’re swimming, you can dehydrate when it’s freezing cold outside. We recently posted an interesting blog from Allen Lim at Skratch Labs on Winter Hydration. Cold temperatures do some really interesting things to our body, and although you may not think you’re sweating while you’re on the mountain, there are various physiological functions that can easily lead to dehydration. If you're breathing heavily at the end of a long run, you're respiring liquids that can lead to dehydration. You know when you breath out and see your breath? That’s hydration leaving your body -- hydration that needs to be replaced.
The best time to eat and hydrate is while you’re riding the lift. Use this downtime to your advantage to re energize. Yes, carrying a pack on the lift is irritating. But hands down the best way to hydrate is with a large thermos (that won't leak - test yours out!), carried in your pack. We love hot green tea with honey, or hot Skratch labs Apples and Cinnamon Hydration mix. If you don’t want to carry a pack, carry single serves of hydration mix with you, then when you stop for a break, just add water. The Skratch Apples and Cinnamon tastes great hot. Warm drink mixes are also great for maintaining the body’s proper core temperature during sub-zero days.
5. Apres Ski:
After a long day on the slope, do as you did as a kid, drink hot chocolate, but this time, use a recovery mix. This will help rehydrate you, replenish your glycogen, repair your muscles and, send you off to enjoy an Apres Ski beverage in a better place. Then make sure you continue to hydrate throughout the evening. Again, altitude is a hydration killer. If your lips are chapped, you need to drink. If the snows reflection tanned your skin, drink. Whatever you do, drink. Drink with dinner, sip on a low calorie electrolyte mix before bed. Make sure you get enough calories in your system, and drink enough to digest those calories.Feed Recommends: Vega Smoothie, Vega Recovery Accelerator, SFH Pure