Monday, January 25, 2016

Experience Snowmass Mountain During the Winter Season

Terry McEnany, MD, built a successful career as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon over the course of 25 years. Most recently, Terry McEnany provided ski lessons in his role as instructor at the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen in Colorado.

Located within driving distance of four separate mountains, Colorado's Aspen Snowmass ski resort offers a wide variety of winter activities to its guests. Snowmass is the largest and most popular of all the mountains, featuring a vertical rise of more than 4,400 feet and an excess of 3,300 skiable acres during the winter season. While on the mountain, both children and adults can take ski lessons, dine at a number of restaurants, or ride any of Snowmass’s 94 trails. Spanning 150 miles, these trails accommodate skiers from beginning to expert levels, though the majority of trails cater to intermediate skiers.

Those who do not wish to ski can also experience Snowmass throughout the winter season. Between November and April, the ski resort hosts a number of guest activities on the mountain, including its weekly Ullr Nights party at Elk Camp. Guests can also go tubing on Snowmass or attend the resort’s annual Thanksjibbing event.                            

Friday, January 15, 2016

Preventing Frostbite When Skiing

Terry McEnany, MD, served as a cardiovascular surgeon and clinical educator for 25 years. Now engaged in a second career as a ski instructor, Dr. Terry McEnany works with students at Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen, Colorado.

Defined as the freezing of body tissues, frostbite can develop with any overexposure to cold temperatures. This may occur with extended exposure to moderately cold temperatures or with brief exposures to extreme cold. In either case, skin begins to signal damage with pain and subsequently with numbness as ice crystals form within the tissue.

Insulation of the extremities is key to preventing this process, as parts of the body farthest from the heart are also those most susceptible to frostbite. Skiers should carefully layer both hands and feet, preferably with a wicking under-layer that keeps moisture away from the skin. Any moisture, including that produced by blowing warm air on the fingers, can lower skin temperature. When hands or head do become warm, the skier should remove outer layers before sweat forms.

Physical activity may also be helpful in keeping the extremities warm, though excessive wind renders this strategy less effective. In fact, wind chill stands out as a contributing factor to frostbite and should prompt a skier to be more mindful of temperature sensations. If the skier does notice a numbness in the extremities, immediate overall warmth or a warm-water soak may prevent the condition from progressing further. Severe cases or cases that involve loss of sensation typically require medical attention.