Park City rises into the clouds atop the Wasatch Mountains, a glittering paradise at 7,000 feet above sea level. The soaring elevation of Park City brings a thick layer of fluffy, powdery snow each year. But it does come with some interesting side effects. To prepare for your high-altitude trip, find out what the elevation of Park City means for your vacation and your body.
The traditional definition of “high altitude” is anything higher than 6,000 feet above sea level. Park City’s official elevation is 7,000 feet above sea level. Don’t let that number fool you, though.
Park City is a very vertical destination, climbing up hillsides and down into valleys. You might find yourself somewhere between 6,500 and 10,000 feet above sea level while exploring the area. Make sure to prepare yourself and exercise caution, lest you experience the effects of altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness is a blanket term used to describe several distinct conditions that travelers may experience at altitudes above 6,000 feet. The root cause of all altitude sickness is oxygen. More specifically, hypoxia (a lack of oxygen) is bad for humans.
The air gets thinner (less oxygenated) the higher above the surface of the planet you rise. Above 6,000 feet, there is so little oxygen in the atmosphere that the human body has a hard time adjusting. Altitude sickness is experienced in three stages.
- Stage 1: The first stage is Acute Mountain Sickness. Symptoms of AMS include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches. This is the only form of altitude sickness that most visitors will experience.
- Stages 2 and 3: Rising further can result in a High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and/or a High-Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). These conditions involve fluid filling the lungs and the brain cavity. They cause everything from shortness of breath and fever to confusion and vomiting. HAPE and HACE are both potentially fatal if untreated, especially HACE.
How To Combat Altitude Sickness
You can take steps to acclimate yourself and help your body compensate for the sudden change in atmospheric oxygen. Keep these tips in mind when you visit Park City.
Will You Get Drunk Faster Here?
The chemistry of the human body relies heavily on maintaining a healthy supply of oxygen in your bloodstream. Certain substances, like alcohol and caffeine, play with the balance of oxygen available to your brain.
Traditional wisdom says that you can get drunk faster at higher elevations. It makes sense. Alcohol reduces available blood oxygen while your body metabolizes a drink. So lower atmospheric oxygen should make the process even worse, right? Well, the answer is yes and no. Your blood-alcohol level won’t actually be any higher after four drinks in Park City than it would be after four drinks in Seattle or New York. But your mental faculties will be more impaired.
Why? Your brain is already impaired before drink number one in Park City. Any dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and headaches you may experience as a result of your intoxication are just piled on top of the symptoms you may already be experiencing as a result of our elevation.
So, you won’t actually be more intoxicated while you party it up at High West Saloon. But you should exercise caution while partaking of any substance that might affect your cognitive functions while hanging out at 7,000 feet above sea level.
Cooking is functional chemistry for hungry people. As we’ve already mentioned, high-altitude environments play havoc with fundamental chemical interactions. Lower atmospheric pressure not only removes oxygen from the air, it also makes it easier for water to evaporate and decreases the temperature at which water boils. These are some of the basic building blocks of food science. Changing these factors will alter almost every recipe in your repertoire.
Here are a couple of quick notes that will help in general, though some recipes may require specific high-altitude changes:
The lower atmospheric pressure here can have an adverse effect on human emotional states. Studies point to symptoms like depression, irritability, and other disruptions to emotional health at higher elevations. In fact, the elevation of Park City and other areas of the Intermountain West has been theorized to be a significant factor in elevated rates of clinical depression and suicide in the region. Always remember to safeguard your mental health, both during your visit to Park City and in your daily life. Resources are available.
High Level Lodging
You’re fully equipped to handle the challenges of life above 6,000 feet. Now that you’re prepared for the elevation of Park City, it’s time to choose your lodging for that epic ski trip or mountain hiking adventure. All Seasons Resort Lodging offers a full selection of condos, townhomes, and vacation homes that will keep you well rested and ready to tackle excitement at any altitude. You can always be sure that you’re getting the best deal on your Park City vacation rental when you book direct thanks to our Lowest Rate Guarantee!