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How to Fuel for the Slopes

solarthermienator / flickr

When you're exercising in cold weather, your body needs more food and water than usual to stay energized.

Here's why: Exposure to cold weather causes vasoconstriction (narrowing) of blood vessels just under your skin. Due to the high fat deposits under the skin, vasoconstriction decreases fat utilization and increases muscle glycogen utilization.

Simply put, you need more carbohydrates, more calories, and more water. The nutrition tips that follow will help you not only survive the slopes, but excel.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

At higher altitudes, you need to drink more water even if you are just sitting still. Water is important as we use considerable amounts of body water in the cold. The dry, cold air costs much in fluid because your body must saturate the air you breathe. And just because you're not hot doesn't mean that you're not still losing water through sweat while you ski.

2. Eat Like a King at Breakfast

You already know the importance of breakfast and since you may not eat as much as usual when you're on the slopes, it's that much more important to eat a hearty breakfast. Don't be afraid to eat more calories than usual, with more of those calories coming from carbs

3. Fill Your Pockets with Snacks.

The faster you burn through carbohydrates, the sooner you'll feel fatigued and cold. So fill small plastic baggies with dried fruit and trail mix, stick them in your coat pockets, and snack every 90 minutes. You should be eating every third of fourth lift ride and break for regular meals.

4. Recover at the End of the Day

Try to eat some carbs and a little bit of protein within 30 minutes of stopping skiing to help your body recover faster for another day on the slopes tomorrow.

5. Limit Alcohol

It's a myth that alcohol warms you up. It actually increases heat loss. Alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate, thereby causing increased cooling or heat loss. So use the alcohol sparingly and try to avoid it if you are heading back onto the slopes at all


Prepare for the mountain by packing snacks, hydrating, and eating a big breakfast. Recover and replenish your lost nutrients and fluids at the end of the day.

Tags: Hydration, Carbohydrate, Skiing, Snacks, Snowboarding