Skiing holidays are known for their decadent side; days spent racing down slopes coupled with rich food, lashings of booze and late nights can take their toll. It’s not unusual to see exhausted, dehydrated winter sports fans sleeping on the flight on the way home - but here’s how you can avoid wrecking your health in the name of hedonism.
We spoke to our brand ambassador, Chemmy Alcott, about how she looks after herself during a skiing break - and the steps you can take to reduce any food and drink-induced damage.
“Ski holidays are expensive, so you want to make the most of your time on the mountains. We all work so hard, so when we go away, it’s common to fall ill. Your stress levels decrease and your adrenaline levels drop, and suddenly your immunity to illness is vastly reduced, so it’s important to continue to look after yourself. Oxygen levels drop at altitude, so you’ll recover from sickness far slower.
“It’s never too soon to start preparing for your holiday. Plane journeys are notorious for spreading bugs - the recycled air and lack of personal space will work against you. The best thing you can do is use the plane journey to sleep and rest your body and your mind. I always bring earplugs, and eye mask and a hoodie for plane journeys. Hoodies are great; not only do they afford you some privacy, as your face is covered, but you can cover your mouth to try to filter the air, so you’re breathing in fewer germs.
“It’s also really important to stay hydrated on flights. A lot of people limit their water intake as they’re worried that constant trips to the loo will annoy their neighbours, but you need to get past that and stay topped up. You can always add some electrolyte powder to the water to enable your body to absorb it more efficiently.
“It’s worth bringing some health foods from home to tide you over. I bring echinacea tea, probiotic tablets and multivitamins with me, which boost my immune system. Before you leave, it’s a good idea to drink a probiotic for about a week; food on the mountains can be a bit stodgy, and it’s good to prepare your stomach for some heavy, oily foods you may not be used to.
“If you want to save some money and take care of your health at the same time, I recommend taking your own food for lunchtime - some protein bars, a piece of fruit, that sort of thing. Not only will you avoid massive queues at the canteens and restaurants, but you’ll enjoy skiing without the crowds, as everyone else will be eating. You come to the mountains to ski, not to eat.
“Wash your hands a lot, as when you travel, you handle a lot of money, which is often a bit grubby. And if you smoke, now is a good time to cut back, as you’ll find it’s a lot less fun when you’re stood outside in freezing temperatures, puffing away. Diminishing your lung capacity will also affect your skiing, so you’ll get less from your holiday.
“Finally, après ski is, as a rule, a huge part of skiing trips. Everyone enjoys winding down at the end of the day, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Losing the mornings to hangovers isn’t what you want; try to always drink a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink, and stick to clear spirits. It’s never a good idea to overindulge, but if you know you’ll be having a big night, take some milk thistle before you head out.
“Never, ever ski down the mountain after you’ve had a few drinks. You’re putting yourself and other people in danger. Make sure that if you’re planning on having more than one, you’re in a bar or restaurant that you can walk back to your hotel from.”