Dirty Little Secrets

To help you get the most out of skiing—and avoid the mistakes of others.


Silverton powder

Secrets of Powderchasing

How to stay ahead of storms, know who is getting dumped on, and never make a turn on firm snow.

Chris Knight's Mustache

Riding Dirty

U.S. Women’s Ski Team coaches vie for the sickest mustache in the name of prostate and testicular cancer awareness. Following this weekend's World Cup in Aspen, we sit down with the winner of the mustache contest, women’s technical coach Chris Knight.

An Ode to the Secret Stash

An Ode to the Secret Stash

Every true ski bum has one: That go-to spot that holds snow, even on the most desperate days.

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.


How to Rip the Lift Line

Erik Roner shows you how to rip the lift line. That is, learn to showboat or get out of the way.

Backcountry Ski Tips: How to Put on Skis in Steep Terrain

Backcountry Ski Tips: How to Put on Skis in Steep Terrain

Because you don't want to send a ski torpedoing down the slope getting first tracks without you.

The Anatomy of a Slide

10 Tips on Skiing the Backcountry

Including advice from Seth Morrison, Chris Davenport, and Alaskan heli-ski guide Kirsten Kremer, we offer up a crucial list of facts and tips you need to know before you head out of bounds.

It comes from hard work. You need to figure out new ways to do things. I present my sponsors with alternatives that go beyond the status quo—you need to be more than the guy who did some contests, got sponsored, and moved on to photo and film shoots. That’s what all the top pros do but it can be a short career. To succeed long-term, you need to make yourself a personality and a brand. In 2005, I was bored and jaded and thought about retiring. I was sick of doing whatever other skiers were doing. I thought about how I could separate myself from the pack and came up with skiing the fourteeners. I turned to ski mountaineering because I love it but also because few people are exposed to it. Now my career is going better than I ever imagined. —Chris Davenport One More Thing from Chris Davenport:“I keep a case of Red Bull in my car. When resorts want to charge me $20 to park, I flip the guy four cans and he lets me park free.” [Editor’s note: Another secret to Dav’s longevity: plugging his sponsors whenever possible.]

Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Get up in super-deep snow, how to find a free, and warm, place to sleep in a ski town, and 17 other skiing tips.