My past four days have consisted of drinking, snowboarding and snowmobiling in Colorado. Looking back on this amazing trip, I realized that it didn’t take much to get me drunk. It reminded me of when I was 14 and a few beers would cause me to start slurring. I found out later that it was because of the high elevation.
The University of Colorado at Boulder still brags about being the number one party school a few years ago, so I had high expectations when I arrived on a Friday night. The party I attended was not much different then a typical I.V. party. There were a few handles, beer pong games and a sweet quadruple percolating bong. The rules of beer pong were slightly different than what most people play in I.V., but the delicious Keystone Light made up for any discrepancies. For some reason, the Keystone Light we were drinking actually tasted good – maybe because it is brewed in Colorado. I noticed after a few games and a few shots that I was trashed. The next morning I woke up and snowboarded all day and night, then returned to the lodge feeling very ill. I’m not usually one to get hangovers and now I know why I felt like shit.
Drinking alcohol at high elevations can get you drunk way more easily. Some of the employees at our cabin told me that drinking one beer there was like drinking two or three at sea level. This reminded me of the time I gave blood and then got smashed after only seven drinks. I took advantage of the fact that I was a cheap date and got drunk as often as possible. Every morning after drinking I felt terrible because I was so dehydrated.
At higher altitudes, it is much easier to get dehydrated. Most doctors recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water a day at high altitudes, which I definitely was not doing. Dehydration can cause headaches, nausea and even lead to hypothermia. This explains why I felt so ill and cold. Next time I drink at a high altitude, I will be sure to drink a lot of water before getting crunk.
Another thing to keep in mind while drinking during a snowboard or ski trip is that alcohol does not actually make you warmer. The feeling of being warm when you’re drinking is due to the fact that alcohol increases the surface blood flow by dilating the capillaries. This gives a fake feeling of warmth because your skin feels warm while your body is actually losing heat that is needed to keep internal organs warm. This can increase your chances of getting hypothermia. If you chose to drink while you ride, I would suggest bringing a flask of peppermint schnapps. When you get a little chilly and bored on the lift take a swig or two. This shouldn’t create too much of a problem, but if you notice that you keep falling a lot, maybe you should stop drinking.
Drinking in Colorado was great, but I’m glad to be back where it is warm and familiar. If you decide to drink while you ride, keep it in moderation so you don’t end your season or someone else’s season early. Get a little buzz and save the heavy drinking for the fun nightlife near most resorts. If you choose to be under an influence while riding, I would recommend smoking weed. It isn’t as bad for you in the cold and most likely won’t impair your judgment.