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Some buddies and I are headed to Taos from sea level. Can we train for skiing at 12,000 feet?

Ask Dr. Flake

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Sorta, but you’ll still suffer like a vegetarian at Burger King. No amount of training can replace acclimatization (which takes some three weeks). Once above 8,000 feet, the beginning of appreciable effects, every additional thousand feet shrinks your VO2 max by three percent. So, prepare to get your wheeze on before hiking to 12,481-foot Kachina Peak. You’d be doing yourself a favor by getting in the best shape possible—strong legs can cover for struggling lungs—but the platinum-card solution remains, yes!, a $15,000 Colorado Mountain Room. This handy device sucks oxygen out of a room with a “molecular sieve, so you and your house pets can acclimatize right there in the comfort of your own home. Contrary to what its name suggests, it also works for New Mexico mountains.