Skiing + booze = bad news

Drunk skier on the slopes

Direct Line Travel Insurance has highlighted the frightening correlation between ski injuries and alcohol consumption

Its research found that, in the last five years, 8.1 million UK adults have gone on ski trips, 5.3 million of whom consumed alcohol while on the slopes. Drinking alcohol while on holiday may not sound like a big deal, but given that, over the past five years, 3.8 million people have reported injuries on ski slopes as a direct result of drinking alcohol, this is evidently problematic behaviour.

13 per cent of those who have been on a skiing holiday said that they don’t believe that consuming alcohol while skiing is dangerous

Direct Line found that the most common accidents are sprains (1.9 million), bruises or cuts (1.5 million) or more serious injuries such as broken limbs (1.3 million) and torn ligaments (970,000). Of these injuries, 40 per cent necessitated treatment on the slopes before the skier could continue down, while one in 11 injured people needed to be transported off the mountain. In addition, 42 per cent of incidents led to the skier being unable to ski for the rest of their trip, while six per cent had to cut their trip short and head home early.

Looking at skiers’ drinking habits, Direct Line found that 7.2 million consumed alcohol in the evening following a day of skiing. The average volume of alcohol consumed was found to be 6.1 units, while one million people said that they drink more than 10 units.

Worryingly, 13 per cent of those who have been on a skiing holiday said that they don’t believe that consuming alcohol while skiing is dangerous. In fact, 29 per cent said that it gives them more confidence and makes them a better skier, while 13 per cent said that it is more acceptable for good skiers to consume alcohol. Nine per cent said that they don’t believe drinking affects their skiing ability at all.

A recent experiment conducted by Direct Line highlighted how even a small amount of alcohol can have an impact on skiers. Experienced skiers were asked to complete runs on a ski simulator, with the impact of alcohol consumption on their performance rested. The experiment found that people are 43 per cent more likely to be involved in a crash after consuming alcohol.

Tom Bishop, Head of Travel Insurance at Direct Line, said:  “No one wants to be sitting on the side-lines 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.”

Even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgement and put a skier at risk of injury

There seems to be a lack of understanding, or perhaps a refusal to acknowledge, that even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgement and put a skier at risk of injury. In order to ensure that they stay safe while on holiday and are able to see their holiday through to the end, travellers should reconsider their drinking habits, or perhaps opt for a less active holiday, where activities centre on lying on a deck chair in the sun. Either way, travellers should always ensure they have insurance for their trip so that, should the worst happen, they are covered.