Braving the Mile High Weather, Tips from a Denver-Native

By Meteorologist Ava Marie

This weekend, some of you may be traveling to Denver to watch the Ravens play the Broncos at the Mile High Stadium. It’s called Mile High for a reason. Denver’s altitude is literally a mile above sea level. That’s 5,280 feet above Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, 4,563 feet above Westminster, and 1,920 feet above the highest peak in Garrett County.

Denver’s high altitude makes the air thinner, which means the air has less oxygen. This can cause some side effects in those who aren’t used to it. Symptoms of Altitude Sickness include headache, fatigue, dizziness and stomach illness. Dehydration only makes these symptoms worse. The air is naturally drier there, so your body loses more water to evaporation, from both your skin and your lungs.

Growing up in Denver, I was accustomed to the high altitude. Now that I’ve lived away for several years, I’ve completely lost all my tolerance. During my visits home, my lips instantly get chapped and my lungs burn anytime I go for a walk or run.

Water will be your best friend while you’re in Denver. Drink as much as you can, even when it’s cold. Fortunately, the tap water in Denver tastes fantastic, since it comes straight from the mountains. Be sure to wear sunscreen too, even though it’s winter. The thin air makes the sun shine all the brighter. Chapstick with sunscreen is a must as well.

Remember, Sports Authority Field at Mile High is an open stadium. So expect frigid temperatures for the game. Dress in warm, moisture-wicking layers, and remember to drink lots of water. And cut back on the alcohol. It dehydrates you and affects you much more quickly at higher altitudes.

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If you’ll be spending a few days in Denver, here’s a look at the extended forecast:

Thursday: Mostly Sunny, High 55, Low 23
Friday: Mostly Cloudy, Chance for Snow Showers, High 32, Low 8
Saturday: Partly Cloudy, High 20, Low 5
Sunday: Mostly Sunny, High 24, Low 7

As for things to do, if you arrive on Thursday while it’s warmer, I would highly recommend you check out some of Colorado’s natural outdoor attractions like Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Otherwise, as temperatures get colder, there are plenty of museums to visit. My favorite is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Another popular destination in Denver is 16th Street Mall, which is an outdoor mall, but there’s a free shuttle to take you to all the different restaurants and shops. LoDo is also a popular social scene, it’s located nearby Coors Field.

And lastly, I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about this weekend’s game. I’ll admit, I’m in a tough position. After all, I was born and raised in Denver and most of my family still lives there. But I’m also very proud to call Baltimore my new home, proud of its talented sports teams and its dedicated fan base. So you may not agree with my answer, but I hope both teams play well and may the best team win. I do, however, have a friendly bet going with my Dad. I owe him a beer after the Broncos won their last game against the Ravens so it would be nice to win that beer back!

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