Dealing with Altitude Issues at Our High Mountain Destinations

Almost Summer at Mountain Lodge Telluride

The Town of Telluride, Colorado: Fun at 8,750 Feet

Me Feeling Happy and High at the Delightful Rooftop Bar at the New Sheridan Hotel

I’m long overdue in talking about how to combat the effects of high elevation with you. I apologize. Please forgive me.

In some ways, I’m new to the game myself. Although I’ve lived at heights as great as almost 10,000 feet for fifteen and a half years, I’m somewhat new to a magical little pill that has made a world of difference for me: It’s a diuretic called Diamox.

It was just a year ago that I began taking Diamox, a prescription medicine long touted to me by my ski clients but somehow I was lax in asking my doctor for a script. I finally did last spring and have used it many times this past year as I’ve traveled in and out of Telluride many times. At the risk of sounding like a drug pusher, ask your doctor about it and see if it’s good for you.

In other ways, I’m not at all new to the effects of elevation on my body. I think I first felt them when I went to the Alps during the time I was living in France. I was slammed with a headache that carried all the force of an avalanche down Mont Blanc. Ever since then, I take precautionary aspirins when I first arrive at elevation, even before the head pounding sets in.

But the Alps are nothing–at least in terms of height–to the Rockies. And I found that out when I moved here. Sure, after a few days I adjust to our thin air (about 30% less oxygen when you’re at over 9,000 feet), but if I leave a high destination for over a week, I have to reacclimatize each time, sometimes with effects worse than other times.

It’s no wonder I was fascinated with a Travel Fun interview I did many years ago with Dr. Peter Hackett, a world renowned high altitude expert and director of the Institute for High Altitude Medicine here in Telluride. I am rebroadcasting that interview on KOTO at 6:30pm MST today. Dr. Hackett, a leading authority on altitude illness with years of experience on big expeditions in Colorado, the Himalayas, Denali and South America, talks about his experiences along with, Don Bowie, one of the world’s top climbers. Don also shares sketchy elevation issues he has succumbed to during some of his adventures. It’s important to note that elevation sickness is genetic; it has nothing to do with what kind of shape you’re in.

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Climate Change and Mountainfilm

A Shepard Fairey Mural in Telluride that Embodies the Spirit of Mountainfilm, Our Mountain Town and So Much Else

Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.

Repeat this exercise slowly, focusing solely on the breath for twenty minutes. Either that or grab yourself a bottle of tequila.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately–the former, although I am known to enjoy a good margarita, sometimes two in times of stress. I had to quadruple my relaxation efforts this afternoon as I watched President Trump brazenly declare that he was leaving the Paris Climate Agreements. Wow, fortunately we had some heads up from “leaked news.” It really felt like he was the one leaving this international accord for reducing carbon emissions. It didn’t feel like it was my country, the United States of America. I’m not big on stats but I believe I saw yesterday that almost seventy percent of the American people believe in climate change and the importance of the Paris Agreements. Plus, there’s more to be gained economically in moving forward with the times than being plunged back into the Dark Ages, or at least the Industrial Age. (There’s no such thing as clean coal.)

Telluride, Colorado: Mother Earth at Its Finest

Jeez, I’m feeling pretty embarrassed, too. My deepest apologizes to my European friends, particularly my Paris friends. To say “I’m choosing Pittsburgh over Paris” is so small. I can’t believe a president of the United States actually said that. It’s not about pitting one city against another or poking one of the most revered world capitals with a demeaning remark. I promise you, this does not reflect the views of most Americans. (Even the mayor of Pittsburgh seemed appalled by this statement in a tweet he sent out shortly after Trump’s speech.)

Breathe. We are bigger than the views of Donald Trump. I apologize to anyone that’s one of his staunch supporters. I just encourage you to look at the science and the facts. He’s obviously a climate change denier (even if it’s just one of sorts), because our planet can’t afford to lose any more time. We can’t delay anymore. The clock is running out. Why renegotiate agreements that require a voluntary participation at best? We need to be the world’s leader in caring for the environment; we need a far greater show of diplomacy. It’s time to stop pushing people and countries around, both figuratively and literally.

A Scene of the Healthy Part of the Great Barrier Reef from the film Chasing Coral

Coral: Where the Little Fish Live

Coral Glory

Do you know that 22% of the Great Barrier Reef died off in 2016? Yes, it’s true. And science proves that this is due to the rise in the temperature of our oceans. From Australia to Hawaii and many waters in between and beyond, it’s happening all over the world. Our oceans are warming up faster than our air. You might wonder why is coral so important? Sure, it’s incredibly beautiful but more importantly, it creates the perfect habitat for small fish and other marine creatures to live. If the coral dies, so do the small fish, then the big fish that feed on them, then it’s the death of a whole ecosystem. Economically, the fishing industry would be kaput! And that will happen within the next thirty years if our oceans continue to warm at the same rate as they have these past few decades.

Next it will be our forests.

I’m not a scientist, but if you know me or have read some of my stories in my blog, you know I’m a passionate person. I’ve been passionate about the environment before recycling ever came into fashion. I think I first started tossing bottles and cans in proper receptacles in the mid eighties when I was living in France. Since then, I’m practically OCD about recycling and living green, which is what you have to do to reduce, reuse and recycle. I haven’t bought a box of Ziploc bags in over fifteen years. Instead, I rinse and reuse ones that appear in my life, treating each one practically like treasured heirlooms. (Yes, I am a little nutty.)

The Scene Last Weekend at Mountainfilm Telluride

A Mountainfilm Presentation at the Historic Sheridan Opera House

But this is what it takes, in addition to signing petitions, sharing information with others and advocating for the environment at every chance. Fortunately I’ve been able to glean a good amount of information and form my values from Mountainfilm, a wonderful festival of films, artwork, presentations, books and ideas that takes place every Memorial Day weekend here in Telluride, Colorado. I so encourage you to attend some day. You can also check out Mountainfilm on Tour to see when or if they might be coming to your town.

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Closing My Ski Season at Telluride, Snowbird and Alta

Closing Day Celebration in Telluride

Parking Lot Closing Party at Alta

Alpine Views at Snowbird

Let me see here. Hmmm. I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write.

Although I’ve had mountains of stories crafted in my head these past months, I have not been able to sit down and write them. I’ve either been too tired or just too busy skiing–both for work and pleasure. (The former being a product of the latter of course.) And as much as I miraculously remained fairly healthy throughout much of the season, I was slammed with a horrific cold at the end of March, which turned into a sinus problem that’s been hard to shake. Ugh.

Celebrating the End of Ski Season is for All

Mary Ann and Mary Dawn at the KOTO End of Season Street Dance

But here I am now, slowly but surely transitioning into my writer’s life. I hate to make promises, although now that I’ve put my skis away, you should be hearing much more from me in the coming months.

What a Setting for a Party

Cheers to a Great Season

It was a super season here in Telluride topped off with a fun-filled closing weekend made even more merry by the visit of a dear friend, Margie, from Scottsdale. The snow gods blessed Telluride with a spectacular snowfall the last week of the season, so we closed with a base of mid-winter proportions. Sigh. I suppose all good things have to come to an end. Thank goodness Telluride Ski Resort and KOTO Radio know how to throw great parties to mark the end of the ski season. No matter how you look at it, we went out with a bang!

Closing Day Scene in Telluride

Margie and Me

Partytime

Oh Yeah

Striking a Pose in Vintage Ski Gear

Margie, the Llama and the Guys

After having logged a lot of much needed couch time–yes, there’s always a big accumulation of fatigue by the end of the ski season–I was thrilled to go on one last hurrah in Utah with my boyfriend, Steve. We always enjoy skiing at other resorts once Telluride closes and this time we decided to travel far–beyond our usual Aspen and Vail visits–to meet up with my brother Frank and some of his old friends in Snowbird. It’s a six-hour drive from Telluride but boy, is it worth it.

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Starting the Year Off Right: Taking Care from Head to Toe

One of My New Year's Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

One of My New Year’s Resolutions: Go More to the Pool at The Peaks Resort & Spa

Phew, these have been the busiest mid-winter weeks of any ski season I’ve experienced. As I wrote in my story, January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado, the snow totals from the past month have been ridiculous! The fluffy white stuff just kept coming down.

And Telluride Ski Resort has remained busy–at least by our standards. But don’t worry, lift lines are still a rarity. There were surely a few records broken during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, characteristically our busiest week of the season. I know that private ski lessons sold out during that period and I was grateful to have been blessed with some lovely clients. It was rewarding to see that I helped them to improve their turns and, of course, we had lots of fun and good chats, too. (Take that as a heads up in case you want to book a private lesson in Telluride during the upcoming busy vacation weeks.)

It looks like the days of a January lull are over. In addition to Americans, more and more international skiers have discovered Telluride. I had a Russian lady and a Brazilian in my class the other day and then offered some assistance to Chinese people looking for directions as I left the mountain. No sir, Telluride is no longer a best-kept secret.

As usual, after the holiday rush, resort workers were falling ill like clumps of snow off the pines on a sunny day, however, I have not been slammed with sickness this year. I have been weakened these past weeks but have fortunately been winning the battle. So instead of keeping up with my writer’s life, I’ve been focused on catching up on my rest and taking care of my body when not on the mountain.

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January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Brrrrr

Brrrrr

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

Whoa! What a month it has been. With over eight feet of snow that fell in Telluride–as well as tons in other mountain towns of Colorado–the skiing and riding have been epic. It seems as though visitors and locals have been alternatively stoked and exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to plow through all that fresh powder whether it’s on the slopes, in your driveway, on your deck or on the snow-packed roads you travel on to go to work. (I’m an exceptional driver on our windy, mountain roads, especially with the help of my Arctic Claw snow tires, however, many aren’t, so it takes an infinite amount of patience to putz behind slow-moving vehicles when driving to work in such wintry conditions. That’s after the morning departure has already been greatly delayed by having to defrost and clean off the car. No, the start-of-the-day routine in the dead of winter in the Rockies is not for sissies.)

My Windshield

My Windshield

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax Mountain

But we made it! The past few days have almost felt like spring. Sure, there will still be a lot of cold and snow left to this winter–let’s hope so at least–but I doubt we’ll see a string of days like the many we just endured in January. It must have been one of the greyest months on record, too. And as much as I like the cold and snow, there was many a morning when I felt a sense of dread about going out and freezing my butt off yet again. No matter how many layers I wore and despite electric boot warmers, boot gloves and hand warmers, it was hard most days to shake off the chill. When the sun doesn’t shine here in Colorado, it can feel mighty cold indeed. more »

Online Shopping Recommendations Holidays 2016

A Trove of Alpen Treasures at Alpen Schatz

A Trove of Alpen Treasures at Alpen Schatz

OK, admit it. You haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet. And if you’re like many people, you haven’t even begun. That’s the case for me this year, which also explains why I’m late in posting my annual round up of online boutiques. Phew, I’ve been busy settling in after having been away from Colorado for over five months and more recently focusing on ski training and instructing–that always takes priority, especially when we have such glorious snow!

But I can no longer procrastinate. So I’ll be ordering today and tomorrow from many of the purveyors below and having gifts sent directly to loved ones. Most still guarantee Christmas arrival. And if not, c’est la vie, if the package arrives between Christmas and New Year’s that’s good, too. The important thing is to keep it simple and enjoy the process.

Now that I have Amazon Prime, I’ve been ordering lots of stuff in an attempt to stock our pantry for the winter season. Their one-click shopping and free shipping is super convenient, however, it’s totally charmless.

Gift-y Soaps from Fresh Soap Company

Gift-y Soaps from Fresh Soap Company

When it comes to gifting (for myself and others), I like more ambiance. You’ll find it in my curated selection below of favorite online boutiques. All offer a 10% discount to Bonjour Colorado readers. Be sure to mention it to the shop and/or type Bonjour into the coupon code section. Here’s a brief overview; for more detailed descriptions, visit my Online Shopping Page.

Ruth and Her Mouth-Watering Toffee

Ruth and Her Mouth-Watering Toffee

Homemade Toffee from Ruth's Toffee

Homemade Toffee from Ruth’s Toffee

Ruth’s Toffee
To me, toffee and Christmas go together like cookies and egg nog. Shop at Ruth’s Toffee for some of the best homemade toffee this side of the pond.

Cow Bells and Sleigh Bells Ringing at Alpen Schatz

Cow Bells and Sleigh Bells Ringing at Alpen Schatz

Lots of Gift Ideas for the Pups at Alpen Schatz

Lots of Gift Ideas for the Pups at Alpen Schatz

Signed Copies of My Travel Memoir Are Sold at Alpen Schatz

Signed Copies of My Travel Memoir Are Sold at Alpen Schatz

Alpen Schatz
I love this festive shop chockfull off alpine treasures for the home, men, women, children and your most regal pets. Visiting this site is like opening an Old World Christmas box brimming with gift ideas galore. You can also buy signed copies of my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, at Alpen Schatz, too.

Purrfect Play Paradise

Purrfect Play Paradise

Purrfect Play
Our little fur babies deserve the best and you’ll find it here in the form of handmade toys for cats and dogs. Purrfect Play’s organic catnip-filled play thingies are the best around.

Champagne and Chocolates from Henri's Reserve

Champagne and Chocolates from Henri’s Reserve

Henri’s Reserve Boutique
Celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, the New Year or just life in general with a primo bottle of champagne. Send off a beautifully-packaged bottle, gift set or enrollment to Henri’s Reserve Champagne Club to your friends, business contacts and loved ones. Cheers!

Fresh Soap Company Holiday Goods

Fresh Soap Company Holiday Goods

Fresh Soap Company
There’s nothing like pretty soap and you’ll find a beautiful selection of natural and handmade soaps, potions and lotions at this Colorado-based company.

Bowie Memorabilia from The Autograph Source

Bowie Memorabilia from The Autograph Source

The Autograph Source
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Try a piece of memorabilia signed by a famous–or infamous–person. The Autograph Source gives originality new meaning with every signature.

My Guy is All About REI

My Guy is All About REI

REI
Want to look like or outfit a loved one with an authentic, outdoorsy look? Go to REI. Check out my description and links directly at the bottom of my Online Shopping Page.

Remember to use the coupon code Bonjour with all the above purveyors (excepting REI) for your additional 10% discount.

Happy shopping and happy holidays to you!

Yay for Skiing, Riding & Holiday Making in Telluride

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride Town All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

Telluride Town All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

Yay, it’s December! Yay, the ski area is open! Double yay, we have a good amount of fresh snow–a season total of over fifty inches so far! Yay, it’s the most beautiful time of the year in the most picturesque mountain town in America. Really. Telluride, Colorado gives festive new meaning all winter long and most especially right now and throughout these upcoming weeks.

Driving Toward the Mountain

Driving Toward the Mountain

Getting Closer

Getting Closer

After a super warm and dry November, the Telluride Ski Resort lifts are finally powering  us up to the tops of the mountains we love so dearly.

Do you remember how you felt on Christmas Eve when you were a child? Well, that’s how many of us have been feeling lately. The excitement is palpable; it seems that just the thought of cruising down the hill basking in the fun and freedom that’s part of most every on-mountain experience has half the town giddy. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on opening day in anticipation of the thrill of being out on the hill.

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Post Election Healing

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Let’s take a collective ten deep breaths. Ommmm. Remember to exhale long and completely. Now try doing that every hour. Yes, that’s ten deep breaths every hour, every day.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, most of us spend every hour of our day trying to manage our stress. We all have so much going on! And yes, one can even feel stressed in a beautiful mountain town surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world.

Just now, as I began to write this story, the internet at home here was all goofy. RRRRRrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I didn’t let that frustrated feeling set in and I just brushed it off (sort of) and decided to write free form without needing a speedy internet. Lots of letting go here.

I feel the need to address the stress subject with you because so many people have been distraught over the election results. Whether your candidate won or not, everyone has experienced a certain amount of stress over this. (Just think of the Trump supporter attempting to defend his president-elect on social media or at the water cooler. Or, even without saying anything, hearing all the opposition against his or her choice.) It’s hard to move on from it all, especially since the daily news flashes keep bringing bad news to the dems. Ugh.

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Just think of the people directly implicated by this. I mean right now. My older brother, Frank Clemente, the driving force behind Americans for Tax Fairness, was to meet with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just after the election. Well, you can bet that meeting was cancelled. And now I’d imagine Frank’s work has quadrupled. So discouraging. more »

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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