Skiing under the influence can have negative consequences
Skiing under the influence can have negative consequences

More than 1,000 British skiers injured every day after drinking alcohol on slopes

Alcohol and skiing don’t mix, suggests study

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 04 December 2019 12:04
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More than 1,000 Britons a day get injured on skiing holidays after consuming alcohol, according to new research.

Skiers are 43 per cent more likely to be involved in a crash after drinking, with 3.8 million people having reported injuries on the slopes that were as a direct result of having a tipple during the past five years.

The data was gathered by insurer Direct Line, which combined survey results from 2,000 holidaymakers with a simulator experiment to assess how alcohol affects someone’s ability to ski.

The experiment required experienced skiers to complete runs on a ski simulator before they were given alcohol to consume and asked to complete the runs again.

As well as a huge increase in the likelihood of crashing after drinking six units of alcohol, the experiment showed that even drinking three units – the equivalent of a large glass of wine – impacted skiers’ confidence and decision-making.

For example, experiment participants who had consumed three units spent 53 per cent more time veering off piste than their sober counterparts.

The survey found that 5.3 million skiers admit to drinking on the slopes, consuming on average 6.1 units of alcohol (the equivalent of three double spirits with mixers).

However, almost one million people claimed to consume more than 10 units (the equivalent of five double spirits with mixers).

Although the majority said drinking-related injuries were minor, 42 per cent of incidents resulted in the holidaymaker being unable to ski the rest of their trip.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line, said: “The number of people reporting accidents on ski slopes as a result of drinking and skiing in recent years is quite alarming. We know that skiing is very much a social holiday, however, we want people to enjoy themselves safely.

“Our practical experiment showed how just a small amount of alcohol can affect decision making. When travelling at 60 miles per hour, it only takes a split second to make a mistake which could cause a serious injury to either yourself or someone else on the slopes.

“No one wants to be sitting on the sidelines with an injury while the rest of their group continues to enjoy their time skiing. We encourage all skiers to refrain from drinking alcohol until they have finished skiing for the day, and even then, keep in mind how many units they are consuming as the effects could last into the next day.”

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