Snow fans exposed to double dose of the sun's UV rays

Friday 10 June, 2011

With the official ski season opening this weekend, SunSmart is encouraging Victorian skiers and snowboarders to steer clear of a ‘crash and burn' experience on the slopes this winter.

SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward, said: "It's important to realise that you can burn just as easily on the ski slopes as on the beach so make sure to pack sun protection gear for the snow this season."

"Ultraviolet (UV) is more intense at higher altitudes because there is less atmosphere to filter the UV rays. At Mt Buller, Falls Creek and Hotham, there is almost 10 per cent more UV than at sea level."

"Furthermore, the snow can reflect as much as 90 per cent of the sun's harmful UV rays. So skiers and snowboarders can be exposed to a double
dose of UV - directly from the sun and indirectly when it is scattered and reflected by the snow," said Ms Heward.

Gina Woodward, Sales and Marketing Manager at Hotham, said: "Sun protection is as essential as your hat and gloves when it comes to packing for
your ski holiday. We encourage our visitors and staff to be sun-savvy when hitting the slopes this season."

Some sun exposure during winter in Victoria is important for vitamin D but if you are in alpine regions, near reflective surfaces or outside for extended
periods, sun protection is vital.

Top tips for a SunSmart trip to the snow:

  • Apply SPF30+, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and lip balm at least 20 minutes before going outside to protect any part of my
    body that is exposed.
  • Reapply every two hours - put a small tube of sunscreen in your jacket pocket or bag.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing goggles or wrap around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard.

The SunSmart UV Alert is available at sunsmart.com.au, bom.gov.au/uv or as a free iPhone app. The iPhone app lets you know the times of the day that you need sun protection when on the snow field and also features a vitamin D tracker function so you can find out if you are getting enough sun from May to August to help with your vitamin D levels.

For more information on vitamin D, UV and sun exposure recommendations, go to www.sunsmart.com.au.

Updated: 10 Jun, 2011