Protecting your exposed skin, your eyes, and the rest of your body on the slopes in the strong spring sun is important at any age, and especially for us seniors who are more vulnerable to skin cancers, cataracts and dehydration.

These tips and reminders are from the University of Utah Health Services.

Snow can reflect up to 90% of sunlight and UV rays, increasing your exposure to damage.  Since UV exposure increases at altitude, at the top of the mountain your UV exposure could be up to 50% greater than a day at the beach.

This is true even on cloudy days, because sunlight can still filter through the cloud layers.

Any exposed skin needs sunscreen of SPF 40 or higher.  Zinc-based sunscreens provide the best protection since they reflect the sunlight.

  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours.

Women should avoid high-gloss lipsticks or balms in favor of a product with SPF.

  • Re-apply every 1-2 hours to prevent dryness, chapping and sunburn.

Opt for a thin neck gaitor for added sun protection of the face and neck.

If you do find yourself sunburned, try calamine lotion, aloe or Vaseline to reduce pain and irritation.

  • It’s a good idea to plan ahead, and pack a small bottle, jar or tube of one of these sunburn treatments in your toiletry kit.

Eye Care

Up to 90% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can bounce off the brilliant white snow surface back into your eyes. This means skiers and boarders – especially seniors – are at a greater risk for snow blindness, corneal sunburn, eye cancers and macular degeneration.

Long-term overexposure to UV radiation has also been linked to an increase in developing cataracts. And UV rays can prematurely wrinkle and damage the delicate skin around the eyes, and who needs more wrinkles!

Since prolonged exposure to snow reflection can cause lasting and permanent damage to your eyes, it is critical to always wear sunglasses or goggles on the mountain, including apres ski.

Wear tinted goggles, or sunglasses that completely wrap around the face.

Use polarized lenses with a UV400 rating, which filters out 99.9% of harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Don’t be fooled by cloudy days. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and haze, even on overcast days, when it’s difficult to see in the dreaded “flat light”.


You work up a sweat in spring skiing/riding, so staying hydrated is even more important than in zero-degree downhill days.

Carry a small, flexible water bottle in your parka for hydration on the go. Even a few sips mid-run will help.

Polish off a glass of water at lunch or during a snack break.

Never pass a drinking fountain without using it.

Have a glass of water for each alcoholic drink you consume, and one more before bed.

This article was adapted from one on the Ski Utah website.

One Comment

  1. Wrinkles? I was forever negligent in matching goggle fit to face rim of helmet to cover one’s forehead 100%. I’ve become educated on frost nip (skin becoming white) and sunburn on the forehead, the hard way. You may think you can recover from each episode of burn, but the skin doesn’t. Each may be the leading causes of very visible permanent age spots forming on your forehead as you become “more” senior. Not only should you be cognizant of SPF, but match your goggle fit to your helmet opening along your forehead and do not let corner spots exposure, as extreme exposure happens to spots. Each of my parents and grandparents never had age spots, so, take better care of your skin! Wisdom comes from what you should do, as well as what you shouldn’t do. or did and now regret it.

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