Heading to the snow this Australian winter?

Did you know that ultraviolet radiation is higher in an alpine environment!

In fact, UVB levels are 29 times more intense at the summit of Mount Everest than they are at sea level. This means that a climber with an average complexion (neither extremely light nor dark) would develop serious sunburn in less than six minutes. 

Now it’s unlikely you’ll be hitting the summit of Everest soon but if you’re heading to the Australian Alps be warned.

Reflective surfaces, such as the snow, increase your risk of sun damage as the snow surface also reflects ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In some cases, you can almost get a double dose of UV directly from the sun and then from the reflection.

Clean snow, whether it’s fresh powder or that fine morning corduroy reflects up to 90% of UV radiation and that UV gets 4% stronger for each 300m rise in altitude! The Australian Alps are 1800 – 2300m above sea level and the levels of UV are 24 – 28 % stronger. So, whilst in the mountains tscudo recommends;

  • Slip ! Slop ! Slap ! then you’re ready to Slide !
  • Reapply every two hours – carry a small tube of sunscreen in your jacket or backpack so it’s easier to access. This way you can spend more time dominating the mountain.
  • Apply SPF30+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen and lip balm at least 20 minutes before going outside to protect any part of the body that is exposed
  • Try to take breaks undercover during the middle part of the day

Being in the mountains and on the snow is magic. Discovering your skin is burnt to oblivion after a day on the slopes is not.

Cover up, enjoy the alps and the journey.