Skiing With Diabetes

So. I ski. I suppose it’s not that surprising, but I live in Colorado, so of course I ski. Stereotypical, huh? My grandfather rented out a house in Steamboat for winter vacation so all of my aunts, uncles, and grandparents (and my immediate family) came up to Steamboat to hang out and ski. Fun, right? But I’m sure that you’re all very surprised that skiing can get very complicated when mixed with diabetes (intense sarcasm). It’s like running for me. Really. I’ve had a crazy couple of days.

So you think I would go low, right? Well, I did, but I also went high. While I was there I skied for a total of two days, and on the first day I had some really low blood sugars. On the second day I had blood sugars that were in the 400 range. Not really perfect. And it makes it hard to find a pattern. And on the first day, when my blood sugar was low, I was in the 30’s. That’s the lowest I’ve ever been before, and it really scared me.

So I guess I am asking for advice, so please comment. 🙂 I’m going skiing in a couple of weeks so I will be sure to try out some ideas.


Claire Montgomery
Type 1 Diabetic, Diabetic skier, Powder shredder

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Skiing with a High Blood Sugar

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Number one, check with your diabetes management team to get some advice specific to your situation. I have just been reading on-line from a bunch of other skiers and snowboarders. Here is what I am getting from their comments – sprints tend to make glucose go up, longer runs associated w/lows. Eat a good breakfast and include extra protein for slower glucose release. Take lots (more than you expect) of snacks with you. Be sure the people you are with also watch for any symptoms of highs/lows. Meters can malfunction in the cold – suggestions were to keep meter close to your body or to put one of those handwarmer things in with it. Bring lots of strips and test a lot. Suggestions to reduce basal insulin were variable – for recreational skier about 10-20% was suggested. I am not diabetic myself, and am not a great skier, but these are comments from people who are skiers, snowboarders, and diabetic. Review your plans with your doctor etc!

  2. Claire,

    I too am a type one Diabetic and have been for almost 20 years. Every year since I first became a sugar baby, my family and I have rented a house for New Years and skied the week away. Diabetes is not easy, its constantly changing whether its a high blood sugar before dinner or a low right when you getting ready to Exercise. Some days it does not let up, I imagine by now you have learned to be prepared for anything. Just to give you a little history, I have played in competive sports my whole life, I played basketball/skied in the winters, and spring/summers I pitched baseball for my College, even this past year I completed a half marathon.

    My Ski Routine
    Wakeup at 8 am I do my blood sugar. Whether it reads a perfect 100 or a 250 I am eating a breakfast. I eat cereal and a banana and last BOOST . Boost is not the best thing to have but it has alot of protein that breaks down later and helps you get over the mid morning low before lunch. Give your normal bolus or injection according to what you are eating. I then get layered up to face the cold. I fill my coat with starbursts, glucose tablets and 2 cliff bars. I suggest to have your friend or relative do the same. I reduce my basal by 30 % until lunch. (I AM NOT A BLACK DIAMOND SKIER… I ski maybe one or two blacks a day).

    Lunch I do my blood sugar and I have leftovers from the night before or a sandwich and a half. I bolus according to my bloodsugar and Reduce my basal again to 30%. I aim for my Blood Sugar to be 180. For a couple days of skiing it will not hurt but please verify with your DR.

    When I get off the slopes and back to the house at 4, I do my blood sugar and bolus accordingly. I then change my basal rate to be reduced by 10%. This will vary I find depending on the day you had on the slopes. Remember Skiing is almost all legs and core, where your legs are the biggest muscle of you body working hard. When I work my legs all day blood sugars will be lower through out the night. Good Luck with your upcoming ski season make sure to review your plans with you Doctor.

    Last Hint: Plan for anything

  3. Hi Claire
    try and eat something without bolusing before you ski
    that way when you go skiing you wont burn off the sugar that will make you go low.
    you will burn off sugar t get you to your normal

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