Life with food allergies means you are risk assessing all types of situations before doing them: whether it is something simple like going out to the movies or something a little more tricky like heading 1700m into the Alps for a skiing adventure. You have to evaluate the worst case scenario and plan for it. I like to live with the attitude that as long as you know what to do, everything is possible.
How to prepare for a skiing trip with food allergies
This past Christmas we did just that, we hit up the Alps for three days of skiing. This was my first time skiing in the Alps, and I have to admit I was nervous about both the skiing part and about being high in the mountains without easy access to a hospital or food. You got that right; I was worried about how to handle my food allergies while skiing. And you know what it wasn’t that bad!
To calm my nerves and feel more prepared for our trip I did a risk assessment. Asking the question: If I have an anaphylactic reaction while skiing what would happen?
Here is a summary of my skiing with food allergies risk assessment:
⋅ I would need to use my adrenaline pen.
⋅ I would need to go to the hospital. To get to the hospital, I would need to take two cable cars and drive 40 minutes to Salzburg.
⋅ I would want to have a family member with me during this.
⋅ The restaurants in the mountains are bustling, and I am not sure how accustomed they are to serving people with food allergies.
How I prepared for a skiing trip with food allergies:
I wore a bright backpack that contained: my allergy kit (2 adrenaline pens, one bottle of Benadryl, Antihistamines, a bottle of steroids), a note about my food allergies (in German and English), my cell phone, and all the food I would need for the day. The backpack was a bright purple so that I could be spotted on the slopes.
I only ate my packed food, which was a challenge when everyone was eating delicious Käsespätzle and Kaiserschmarrn, hello a tiny bit of food jealousy – but seriously not worth risking it. I did drink tea while on the slopes, and was happy to see the tea bag had the ingredients listed. The menus at two restaurants I went to had allergy statements, but this is law in Europe and does not guarantee they know how to cater to allergies.
If I did go off and ski on my own, which happened a few times, because I am really slow, I would tell a family member which slopes I would be on. Knowing they were aware of my whereabouts was very comforting, also just in case I fell and broke something.
The one good thing about skiing and access to medical aid is that there enough people who break their bones that they are quick at getting to you if need be.
Skiing trip with food allergies: yes you can!
Prepping for a skiing trip with food allergies is very much like preparing for camping or hiking. You have to have all your medications, safe foods and have an action plan in place in case you do have an allergic reaction. You and at least one person should be aware of your action plan and where you will be skiing.
With a plan in place and Epis in my backpack, I was able to leave the nerves to the slopes instead of about my food allergies. After a successful trip I can’t wait to go skiing again and maybe I’ll even try some more challenging slopes next time!