Contrary to popular belief, even on a completely bluebird day in January atop the highest lift in Vail, you’re not getting vitamin D from the sun. Vail, or any other ski hill in North America for that matter, is too far above the equator to receive the type of direct sunlight needed to create vitamin D during the winter months. Which is a bummer because this recently popular “sunshine vitamin” plays a key role in boosting the immune system. In particular, it triggers and arms the body's T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. Last year, scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses, and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. Vitamin D can be obtained through the diet, though very few foods naturally contain it. The foods that do include fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs. Smaller amounts are found in meat and cheese. A person’s vitamin D status is determined by measuring the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in blood serum.  Current lab ranges are 30-80 ng/mL, though most functional healthcare practitioners recommend levels be at least 50 ng/mL - even higher in some cases. Though the RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU/day of vitamin D, most health experts are suggesting closer to 5,000 IU/day for optimal immune function. So to up your chances of not getting sidelined by a cold or flu this ski season, be sure to follow these three guidelines. That way you can spend your “sick days” skiing.  

Three Tips to Avoid Getting Sick

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cold and flu season peaks in either January or February, which happens to coincide with the best skiing. To avoid missing out on a powder day, here are three tips to start implementing now.

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Tips on Winter Driving from Audi

I thought I knew about going fast on ice. I’ve skied the east, after all. But when Audi invited me to go to Austria to drive their cars on ice, I realized I had a lot to learn. Here are some driving tips I picked up while spinning donuts on Austrian ice. —Niall Bouzon

Ride the Granite Chief chairlift on a powder day if you feel like showing off—small and large cliff bands are located right under the chair for prime spectator heckling."Make sure that every line you’re going to ski is in plain view for everyone to see," jokes pro skier and Squaw local Elyse Saugstad. "Right before you drop into your line, claim aloud how cool you are." Eben Mond at Squaw Valley.

Squaw Valley: 5 Insider Tips

There have been whole books (like Squallywood, by Robb Gaffney) written about how to ski the gnarliest lines at Squaw Valley, California. So there aren't a lot of secrets left. But we uncovered a few insider tips (with help from local pro skier Elyse Saugstad) that might help anyone planning a visit to Squaw.

Jump onto a box from the ground, then jump off the box landing on both feet. Jump off the ground as fast as possible onto the platform.

Getting Fit with Forrest, Part 3

There's nothing like box jumps to remind you that ski season is rapidly approaching. Pro skier Forrest Coots show you how to do them—and other plyometric exercises—right.