Mammoth High Altitude elevation
Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra offers many recreational opportunities,
including downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross country skiing,
snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rock
climbing, golf, tennis, horseback riding, swimming and boating all
in the majestic high mountains of the Eastern Sierra Nevada.
The center of Mammoth Lakes town is approximately 7,900 ft. elevation
above sea level, and the elevation at the base of Mammoth Mountain
near the Main Lodge is 8,900 ft. Canyon Lodge is at 8,300 elevation
and Little Eagle lodge is also at 7,953 elevation. Visitors may
experience some minor side effects due to Mammoth's high elevation.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for staying healthy and enjoying
your stay in the mountains.
High Elevation Acclimatize
When you first arrive acclimatize yourself for a period of time
prior to beginning strenuous activities. At high elevations, the
atmosphere is thinner and there is less oxygen and less humidity
available to you than at sea level. This can result in a number
of symptoms, such as muscle fatigue, insomnia, mild headaches, or
slight shortness of breath. Sleep can also be disturbed. Our thin
atmosphere filters out only a minimum of the suns ultraviolet "UV"
rays and can result in severe sunburn. So be sure to take adequate
precautions to protect your eyes and skin.
EAT LIGHTLY AND DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUID.
You may tend to become dehydrated more quickly at high altitude
than at sea level, so drink plenty of water and other fluids (8
to 10 glasses daily). You should also avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
for the first 24 hours of your stay.
There's an old saying here in Mammoth, "If you don't like the
weather, wait ten minutes... it's sure to change." At this elevation,
the weather can change quickly. Winter or summer, prolonged exposure
to the elements can cause serious problems. Children are not always
aware that they are becoming too cold. Parents should watch for
red noses and red ears. If this occurs, bring the child in from
the cold, remove wet clothes and warm the child and affected areas
immediately. Moderation is the key word... take frequent breaks
from the cold of heat.
It is wise to layer your clothes, no matter what the season. A
t-shirt, wool sweater, nylon windbreaker with a hood and a bottle
of water are basic equipment for just about any summer activity.
Winter sports enthusiasts should wear warm, waterproof gloves, hat,
and socks, plenty of warm, water-resistant clothing and goggles
or sunglasses with adequate UV protection. Local sporting goods
carry outdoor wear which is both wind and water resistant, an ideal
choice for unpredictable mountain weather.
Adequate UV (Ultraviolet) protection is a must. At this elevation,
the atmosphere is thinner and provides less protection from the
sun's UV rays. UV exposure has been linked to an increased incidence
of skin cancer, so use a sunblock lotion with an SPF of 30 or greater.
During high exposure activities such as spring skiing, those with
fair skin may experience a sunburn after only two hours of sun exposure,
even after applying maximum sunscreen protection.
Parents should be especially careful with young children, and apply
a generous amount of sunscreen to both you and your children prior
to any outdoor activities. Be sure to reapply it at least every
four hours. If you're perspiring or getting wet from the snow or
water, apply it more frequently.
PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM SNOW-BLINDNESS
It is also important to use proper UV protection for your eyes.
The surface of the snow or water can act as a reflector of UV rays
and can generate a great deal of UV exposure the eyes.
Equip yourself and your children with UV sunglasses or goggles.
Failure to wear proper eye protection can result in an actual burn
of the eye's surface-a painful condition requiring medical treatment.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
If you experience symptoms such as headache, insomnia, and/or fatigue,
you may have a mild form of "altitude sickness". These
symptoms are a warning to decrease your activity level. If symptoms
persist or begin to worry you, don't hesitate to come to the Emergency
Department, day or night - or to Sierra Park Family Medicine Clinic,
from 9 am-4:30 pm.
WHAT TO KNOW
Moderate your level of activity according to your physical condition.
Skiing, Snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking require muscular
strength and flexibility for control. The more control you have,
the safer you will be.
If you are an inexperienced skier or first-time snowboarder, take
a lesson. It doesn't cost much, and could make the difference between
an enjoyable day on the slopes and an unexpected trip to the Emergency
Hikers, mountain bikers and backpackers should stop by the Mammoth
Visitor's Center and Ranger Station for trail maps, permits and
KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT
Prior to any activity, have all of your equipment checked. Be sure
everything is compatible and is properly adjusted for your ability,
height and weight to fit properly. This applies to skis, bikes,
backpacks and climbing equipment.
Elements of risk are involved in any sport... using the proper safety
equipment such as pads, wrist guards, etc. can help reduce those
Take time to learn your way around the Mammoth ski slopes. Review the trail
map. Be aware of the ski slope rating system. A black diamond run
at one ski resort may have a different degree of difficulty than
at another ski area. Review the trail maps thoroughly prior to making
your first run.
For your convenience, the ski areas provide "SKI HOSTS"
who can provide information on the degree of difficulty of the ski
Drink plenty of liquids prior to any activity. Performing a few
stretches before engaging in strenuous physical activity can help
your muscles respond to the challenges ahead.
KNOW THE CONDITIONS
Be aware of trail conditions. A stiff wind can blow the powder snow,
exposing an unexpected patch of ice that can send your skis or snowboard
sailing. Hikers and mountain bikers should keep in mind that creek
crossings during spring runoff can become impassable due to high
It's wise not to have an alcoholic drink at lunch if you plan to
return to the slopes afterwards. Most ski accidents occur in the
afternoon, as muscles begin to fatigue. The effects of muscle fatigue
are increased by the consumption of alcohol.