Enjoy the sunshine safely
At our high elevation, you’ll be much closer to the sun than you might be used to thus it’s strength is more noticeable, no matter the season. Be sure to protect your skin from burning and premature aging by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Skin also needs to be nourished, especially after a day of being exposed to wind and snow glare. The light, silky feel and the therapeutic essential oils in Bison Star Naturals lotions is an excellent choice. Bison Star Naturals is a Native-owned and operated body care company based in Taos. The products can be found locally at Manzanita Market and Taos Mountain Outfitters on Taos Plaza, Cid’s Food Market, Millicent Rogers Museum, the gift shop at The Blake hotel in Taos Ski Valley and online at bisonstarnaturals.com. And don’t forget lip balm.
Keep your tank full
With so many adventures to be had in Northern New Mexico, don’t let a grumbly stomach hold you back. Keeping portable snacks on hand is always a good idea, such as locally made Taos Bakes bars, each with its own unique flavors. They are healthy and gluten-free, made from non-GMO and organic ingredients. Look for them at area stores and gas stations.
Learn more about Taos Bakes at taosbakes.com.
Again, the high elevation here — coupled with dry air — is an important reason to stay hydrated. It is recommended that you drink twice as much water or other hydrating beverage than you normally would at home.
Don’t let Mother Nature fool you
Weather in the mountains is unpredictable. A storm can blow in and out on a dime. And once the sun goes down, the temperature drops.
Be ready for anything and everything, following is a general check-list of things to keep with you:
- Dress in layers. Start with a fitted, breathable, non-cotton base layer, then over that add a fleece top that can be worn under a waterproof shell.
- Waterproof or water-resistant snow pants and jackets.
- Waterproof mittens or gloves, glove liners, hand warmers to place in gloves, hats and scarves or neck warmers.
- Socks. It’s wise to plan on using two pairs per day, one for on-mountain activities and another for off-mountain.
- Helmets. For your safety, area ski resorts encourage guests to protect their noggins at all times while skiing and boarding.
- Snow boots and comfortable walking shoes with sturdy tread.
- Goggles and sunglasses. Snow glare and blowing snow can quickly skew your vision.
Around here, formal attire is better left in your closet at home. Ties and formal dresses … don’t bother. Jeans, sweaters, flannel shirts and the like are the Taos norm when it comes to evening wear.
Upon arriving in the heart of Taos, you will be standing at 6,969 feet above sea level. That number is dwarfed by Wheeler Peak’s 13,161 feet, the highest point in New Mexico, just north of town near Taos Ski Valley. All of which can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. The altitude can also make you feel like you have a hangover without having drank — or worse. High altitude sickness symptoms usually surface within 12 to 24 hours of being at a higher elevation and then improve within a day or two as your body adjusts to the change in altitude. Know the signs and what to do if the thin air is affecting you.
- Fatigue, loss of energy
- Shortness of breath (considered a severe reaction if can’t catch breath even at rest)
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Confusion, loss of coordination and trouble walking (severe)
- Tightening in your chest (severe)
- A cough that produces a white or pink frothy substance (severe)
What to do: The most important treatment for any degree of altitude sickness is to go down to a lower elevation as soon and as safely as possible.
Medical treatment for altitude sickness may include oxygen, hyperbaric treatment and medicines as well as over-the-counter pain and anti-nausea medications.
If you have severe altitude sickness, you’ll need to be taken down to a lower elevation right away — it must be lower than 4,000 feet. You should see a doctor as soon as possible and you may need to go to the hospital.
The best rule of thumb is to take things easy until your body acclimates. If you can’t wait to get outdoors and go for a hike, for example, go slow.