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How to Carry Water When Skiing

  • Filip 

The Harvard School of Public Health states that the main benefits of hydrations are “to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly.” Those are some pretty vital areas for sports enthusiasts who enjoy getting out on the slopes during the winter.

Skier carrying water bottle when skiing

Below are a few common signs of dehydration:

  • Nausea
  • Decreased performance
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Feeling thirsty is also a pretty good sign of dehydration. For the most part, by the time you feel thirsty, your body will have already lost 1-2% of its water mass. This can lead to side effects, including the following.

  • Forgetfulness
  • Agitation
  • Stress responses

Dehydration is the top nutritional reason for poor sports performance, with the body overheating when not given enough water. Now that you know what signs to look for and why it is so important to drink enough, we will take a look at how the body loses water and what you can do to counteract it.

Ways that the Body Loses Water

The most common way in which skiers lose water is through sweat. It is not uncommon for athletes to lose between two and five pounds of water weight during the first hour of exercise alone. One way to discover how much you usually sweat while skiing is to weigh yourself before heading out and then after an hour. Once you know how much water weight you lost on the mountain, you will know how much water to drink. The general rule of thumb is 20 ounces for each pound lost.

You can also lose significant amounts of water through respiration, especially in climates that are high and dry. This dryness will increase the amount of water lost through respiration vapor. Ironically, the cold usually suppresses the thirst feeling, which means that it is harder to rely on the body to tell you when you need to drink something. Also, there is something called “cold-induced diuresis,” which causes you to urinate more than average, which you will then need to counteract by drinking more liquids.

How Often Should You Rehydrate

Once you are hydrated and ready to start skiing, you will still need to monitor your water intake. This is vital if you intend to spend longer than an hour on the slopes. Since, usually, skiing is an all-day affair, you will want to monitor your hydration levels continually. It is best to stop and drink something every twenty minutes to avoid dehydration. You can carry water out with you so that there is no need to leave the mountain.

Before Skiing

Before doing any kind of heavily exertive exercise, you should drink 16-20 ounces of water at the minimum. You can drink tea and coffee before heading out for a round of backcountry or big-mountain skiing, but they are diuretics, so you will want to keep from drinking too much before you start.

While Skiing

You want to make sure to take drink breaks before you feel thirsty – by then it is too late. You are already dehydrated. Every twenty minutes is a good goal, but if you are going to be skiing for longer than an hour, then you will need to have something that has both carbohydrates and electrolytes to give your body the necessary resources to stay at the top of its game. There are several drinks and powders that you can add to water, which will accomplish this task.

Too much straight water can cause sodium dilution, which is harmful, so for longer ski sessions include sports drinks or water additives with sodium to keep your body from showing negative symptoms like weakness and confusion.


You want to keep your body from breaking down muscle to replace lost resources, so drinking chocolate milk or sports drinks within an hour of your last ski run will help. You will also want to weigh yourself before and after skiing so that you can drink the required amount of water (i.e., 20 ounces per lost pound). You can check your urine to see if you are dehydrated after your workout in the snow. Dark urine is indicative of dehydration, while clear urine means you are sufficiently hydrated.

High Altitudes and Dehydration Sickness

You can lose almost double the amount of water at high altitudes. At very high altitudes, it can take an extra liter of liquid to replace lost water. You want to avoid both altitude sickness and dehydration sickness. Both of these can be potentially life-threatening if not taken into consideration while taking part in extreme sports like skiing. Keep an eye on your body, and if you find yourself getting lethargic, body aches, confusion, and shakiness. These are signs that you will want to stop and check your hydration levels.

What to Wear

The clothes that you wear will play a part in how much water you lose during your time skiing. You are going to be keeping your body heated through exertion so you will not need as many dense layers as you would merely walking around in the snow. Wear jackets that have removable layers, so if you find that you are sweating excessively, you can remove one or two. Clothing with vents is an excellent choice as you can open or close them as needed. If you are wearing a mask, then keep it under your chin some of the time. You will also want to consider what type of water container you will be bringing with you when choosing what to wear.

Check for the expected weather and temperature for the day before heading out. This will help you judge what type of clothing to wear to make sure that you are completely protected from the cold without making you sweat too much, which will leave you dehydrated.

How to Drink While on the Slopes

You can carry multiple forms of liquid up with you, which will help to give you options of plain water and also carbohydrate and sodium infused drinks to keep your body from breaking down. There are various ways to do this, and we have listed them below. One thing you do NOT want to do is eat snow as a way to get water into your system. It is not clean. Snow hills have wax from boards, diesel particles from the snowcats that smooth out the hills, and oils from snow sleds. You will get sick if you eat snow from ski slopes, even if the symptoms are not overt.

Take Frequent Breaks

Especially if you are a new skier or have not previously attempted to regulate your water intake levels, it might be a good idea to take frequent breaks (e.g., every twenty or thirty minutes) to keep an eye on your sweat weight loss and urine color. This can help you judge your water loss rate and make it easier in the future to know how much liquid to take up with you when skiing.

Our Favorite Water Bottle and Camel Bags

By far, the most common way to keep water and other drinks on hand are to carry it on your person. There are belts designed for carrying water bottles, and you can buy camel bags for an easy, no-hands solution.

Camel Bags and Packs

There are a couple of versions available. You can get some camel bags that can fit inside your coat pockets, which will leave them heated by your body. You can also get backpacks and thigh holsters for them as well. You do not need to spend time stopping and fiddling with a lid or loop clip. You can also get helmets that have built-in clips for the water tube so that you do not need any hands at all to be able to drink as you ski. Below are a few of our favorites.

Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack – CamelBak

  • Ski attachment points on the pack so you can carry your skis with it
  • Storage space
  • Attachments for the helmet (hands-free drinking)

CamelBak Powderhound 12 Ski Hydration Pack, 100oz

Insulated Hydration Backpack – TEC

  • Large pockets and bungee straps for extra outer storage
  • The water bag is set high and central for balance
  • Designed for comfortable wear
  • Holds 2 liters

Hydration Backpack Pack – Mubasel

  • Great for all-day ski sessions
  • Extra storage space
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Holds 2 liters

Hydration Pack Water Backpack – U`Be

  • Even weight distribution
  • Extra storage space
  • Helmet clip-on pack
  • Best for warmer skiing locations as it does not feature the same level of insulation the others offer
  • Holds 2 liters

Collapsible Water Bottles

These are useful because you can make them whatever size you need for a given ski run. If you are only going to be on a trail for an hour and need less water or plan to be out on the hills for the entire day, you will be able to adjust how much these bottles carry.

Collapsible Water Bottle – Perfect Hydrate

  • BPA-free silicone
  • Leakproof
  • Easy to roll up as you drink

SoftBottle Collapsible Water Bottle – Platypus

  • BPA-free
  • Easy to roll up as you drink
  • Leakproof
  • Ergonomic design for secure gripping with thick gloves
  • Carry handle and wire gate clip

Collapsible Water Bottle Bottle – Que

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy fold up as you drink
  • Leakproof, shockproof
  • LFGB and FDA approved
  • 20 ounces

Flexible Water Bottle – Vapur

  • BPA-free
  • Foldable
  • Freezable
  • Clip
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 20 ounces

Hard Water Bottles with Loop Handles

There are belts with clips and thigh holsters for water bottles if you do not want the weight moving around as you ski. There is a myriad of options when it comes to hard water bottles, so instead of giving a list of the top ones on the market for 2020, we will list our single favorite option.

YETI Rambler 26

  • Works for hot or cold liquid
  • Does not keep flavors
  • Cleans easily
  • Wide-mouth design
  • Stainless steel
  • Double-wall vacuum insulated
  • 20 ounces

Shop Yeti Rambler 26