British skier seeking a shortcut dies on French Alps after a night out drinking


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The Independent Online

A British man who had been on a skiing holiday in the French Alps has been found dead in an icy stream after a night out drinking.

Named in French media reports as Louis Robertson, a 26-year-old from Glasgow, he was discovered in a stream at the La Plagne resort in the Tarentaise valley in the Alps today.

Mr Robertson is said to have arrived at the resort – where peaks are as high as 3,250 metres  –  on Sunday with two friends for a week’s holiday.

He went missing after leaving one bar and setting out to another, apparently trying to find a quicker route. A police spokesman said: “It appears to have been an unfortunate accident. He wanted to take a short cut and, in the cold and dark, met his death.”

Many British skiers and snowboarders have died in drinking-related accidents in recent years.

An inquest last month heard how a young British holiday rep had died after skiing into a snow cannon in Val D’Isere. He had drunk four beers beforehand.

In January a British teenager drowned in an outdoor swimming pool after a night out with friends in Alpe d’Huez, another French ski resort. A campaign about the dangers of underestimating the risk of drinking at high altitude was launched four years ago by the then British Ambassador to France, Sir Peter Westmacott.

“Over the past years, we’ve noticed a rise in accidents in resorts linked to alcohol consumption, particularly accidents on the slopes, mostly among young people,” Sir Peter said at the time. “We are telling our compatriots to be careful: when you consume too much alcohol at an altitude and it’s cold, the danger is greater.”

Various contradictory studies have alternately been said to prove and disprove a link between altitude and increased effects of alcohol.

However, what is known is that drinking in colder temperatures can increase the risk of hypothermia as alcohol increases the flow of adrenalin, causing blood vessels to dilate and increasing the flow of blood to the skin. It creates an illusion of feeling warmer while actually decreasing body temperature.