User Perspective: Snowshoeing in Vail with Oxygen

Maybe you've been getting your exercise outside during the spring, summer and fall, but you want to continue during the snow covered months of the year. How does one get their outdoor activity when there are inches of snow on the ground? Snowshoeing, of course. Vail Valley resort is a safe and beautiful place to take your snowshoeing adventure, and gently get your blood pumping and some fresh, brisk air in your lungs.

If you're an oxygen user like Erik, you'll need to take some precautions and do a little extra planning if you want to go snowshoeing in this beautiful resort. You'll have plenty of ground to cover, and you won't want to wander out without having put some thought into your day. Vail is Erik's favorite place to go snowshoeing, and he share some of his advice on doing it while using a portable oxygen concentrator.

I've taken guided snowshoe tours, as well as going my own way. On either occasion, the first thing you need to think about is your battery life. Make sure you charge the internal battery up all the way, or charge up your external batteries all the way inside your concentrator. I keep an extra, charged up 16 cell battery in my G3 backpack at all times, even when I'm not out snowshoeing.

Depending on how long you'll need to use your concentrator while you're out, you may need to charge up one or two additional batteries to put into your concentrator while you're out. This goes for an external battery as well, that you can plug into the concentrator if your concentrator takes one of those. The point is to make sure you have plenty of battery life to last you all day, with plenty left over.

I'm 61 years old and I have emphysema, so my doctor keeps a good eye on me. When I go to my checkups, he lets me know if I'm well enough to go out in the snow. You should always check with your doctor before exerting yourself in any way. It's also a good idea to use a hand held pulse oximeter to make sure you blood oxygen level is up to par before going snowshoeing.

Here are some more safety measures for going snowshoeing while using an oxygen concentrator. Take at least one other friend with you – this isn't something you should do by yourself, whether you use oxygen or not. You also shouldn't plan on going out when there is snowfall on the horizon.

Make sure you and your friend both have cell phones, in case you need to call for help. Cover your mouth with a scarf which will warm up the air before you breathe it in. Breathing in cold, dry air can be very irritating on the lungs. If you have a rescue inhaler, you should definitely have that with you while you're out. Pace yourself! You're out there to enjoy nature, so don't rush.

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