New ‘comfort stations’ to offer water, sunscreen at Steamboat Resort base area |

New ‘comfort stations’ to offer water, sunscreen at Steamboat Resort base area

Steamboat Resort and the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center partnered to install four "comfort stations" around the base area of the resort. The stations will provide free water, sunscreen and tissues to help people stay healthy on the mountain.
Derek Maiolo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Skiers and riders have one less excuse to get dehydrated or sunburned at Steamboat Resort this winter.

Four “comfort stations” have been installed around the base area of the resort, each of which will provide free water, sunscreen and tissues. The complimentary provisions are part of a formal partnership between Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, according to a news release published Tuesday.

A comfort station will be at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club parking lot in Ski Time Square, near the Christie Peak Express, next to the Snowsports School House and at the top of Desperado Magic Carpet. They will be stocked in time for Opening Day on Friday, the earliest opening in the resort’s history.

Another part of the new wellness partnership involves teaching guests and resort staff about ways to prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated and recover from a day of skiing or riding.

Soniya Fidler, president of the hospital, said the goal of the partnership is to promote wellness at the resort and prevent common health problems visitors experience while skiing and riding. Among the most common are altitude sickness, dehydration and sunburns, according to Fidler, which are typical for mountain towns.

“It’s well understood that we can become dehydrated faster at altitude,” Dave Grinnell, a physical therapist and board-certified clinical specialist in orthopedics, said in an email. 

Dehydration exacerbates other health issues, including altitude sickness and sunburns, so getting enough liquids is a fundamental way to stay healthy on the mountain. The Institute for Altitude Medicine recommends people drink three to four liters of water daily at higher elevations.

“Water throughout the day isn’t completely just liquid water consumption,” Grinnell said. “We also obtain a good amount through a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.”

Tips to stay hydrated
  • Aim for eight to 10 glasses of fluids per day, at least half of them from water.
  • Drink an eight-ounce glass of water upon waking, then drink a glass of water with every meal and when taking supplements.
  • Have water available — at your bedside, in your purse, on a long walk — so you can drink as you’re thirsty.
  • When drinking alcohol, match each glass of wine or beer with a large glass of water.
  • Drink a glass or two of water before exercising, and drink again during or after exercise.
  • Monitor your weight before and after exercising. If it stays the same, you’ve maintained your hydration. If it drops, you likely fell behind in your fluid intake. “When you’re getting dehydrated during exercise, your level of performance will decrease more quickly than if you’re maintaining your hydration,” Wooster said.
  • Beware of over-hydrating, in which so much water is consumed that sodium levels drop. This concern is most prevalent when exercising for longer periods of time; for those times, use sports drinks with electrolytes and carbohydrates.
  • Choose water. Juices, milk, soups and sports drinks are other options to consider with hydration, as are high-moisture fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber.

Source: Pam Wooster, clinical dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

The start of the winter season can be a rough transition for muscles that are not used to skiing and riding all day. Grinnell recommends people soak in hot water after a workout, do some stretches and use a foam roller to massage sore muscles. 

“A big part of enjoying time out on the mountain is understanding how to take care of yourself in the elements,” Katie Brown, vice president of sales and marketing for Ski Corp., said in the news release. By increasing access to basic amenities and providing more education, she hopes people can “get the most out of their skiing and snowboarding.” 

According to Fidler, hospital physicians will meet with Steamboat Ski Patrol and some on-mountain employees to teach ways to avoid workplace injuries and recognize when guests may be suffering health issues. This builds on a partnership between local physicians and Steamboat Ski Patrol that has been instrumental in responding quickly to emergencies and saving lives

Loryn Duke, director of communications for Ski Corp., added that all employees receive advice on avoiding altitude sickness, with tips like avoiding alcohol and hot tubs while they acclimate.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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