Drinking on the piste ‘injures 1,000 British skiers a day’

Drinking on the slopes is reported to be leading to more than 1,000 British holidaymakers being injured every day during the ski season.

Claims data from insurer Direct Line suggests that nearly 400,000 skiers have suffered sprains and almost 300,000 cuts or bruises in crashes while under the influence of alcohol over the past five years.

A further 250,000 have broken a limb and nearly 200,000 have torn a ligament.

One in 11 needed to be transported off the mountain and one in 20 returned head home early. Two in five had to sit out of skiing for the rest of their holiday.

Results of an experiment on a ski simulator to try to establish how dangerous it is to drink and ski found that 43% were more likely to be involved in a crash after consuming alcohol, according to The Times.

Direct Line said that the results demonstrated how easily alcohol can impair judgement, with participants who had consumed only three units of alcohol spending 53% more time veering off piste than their sober counterparts.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance of 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.”

Almost nine in ten ski holidaymakers drink alcohol while they are away with two thirds of these doing so during the day. A third of people said alcohol gave them more confidence on the slopes and made them a better skier.

Bishop added: “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.”

Direct Line said that drinking alcohol would not automatically invalidate a claim although it advises skiers and snowboarders to drink responsibly and take reasonable precautions on the slopes.

A spokeswoman said: “Customers may not be covered if they have consumed so much alcohol that their judgement or vision is seriously affected resulting in an injury.”


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