Skiers warned not to drink and ski

25th March 2013, by Abi Butcher

Even a small amount of alcohol impairs judgement and slows reaction times

Even a small amount of alcohol impairs judgement and slows reaction times

Skiers are being warned not to underestimate the dangers of mixing booze and skis, following a survey taken in Austria, a country renowned for its lively après-ski.

The Austrian Road Safety Board (KFV) breathalysed 600 people at a number of different Austrian ski resorts and found that one in five people on the ski slopes had drunk alcohol, while nearly a third of those skiers had enough alcohol in their system to be over the legal limit to drive. The results come after the news that by 24 February, 27 people had died in accidents involving other skiers this season, compared with 19 such deaths recorded in the same period last year.

“People greatly underestimate the likelihood of an accident (while skiing and drinking),” said Alexandra Kuehnelt-Leddihn from the KFV. “Even a small amount of alcohol can be dangerous.”

The biggest drinkers were among 15 to 24-year-olds, of which 26 per cent tested had consumed alcohol. Among 25 to 49-year-olds, 24 per cent of skiers had been drinking, falling to just seven per cent of skiers over 50. Men were more likely to have been drinking in the survey than women.

“People skiing under the influence of alcohol pose an increased risk to themselves and to other people on the slopes,” said Kuehnelt-Leddihn, adding that alcohol slows down reaction times and impairs coordination and judgement of speed and distance.

And alcohol is not just to blame for accidents on the slopes. Last Friday, the body of a 26-year-old British man was found in a stream in La Plagne after he tried to take a short cut home after a big night out.

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