Insurer issues warning over British après-ski drinking culture

Insurer issues warning over British après-ski drinking culture

Almost 400,000, British skiers and snowboarders will take to the slopes under the influence of alcohol this winter, new research claims.

The alcohol consumption of these 368,588 drink-skiers and boarders is an average 15 units over the course of a single day, equating to six and a half pints of 4% beer or 250ml glasses of wine.

This exceeds the NHS’ recommended weekly adult consumption of 14 units.

Britons who ‘drink-ski’ will consume 105 units of alcohol over the course of a week’s ski holiday – the equivalent of 53 pints of beer or glasses of wine.

Drinking is an integral part of a winter sports holiday for nearly a third (31%) of all British skiers, who believe that alcohol on the slopes is a tradition and is key to the experience, the study by Direct Line Travel Insurance found.

A quarter (26%) of skiers claim a pint or two on the slopes helps their ability and increases their confidence.

However, skiers who have been drinking are taking incredible risks, as alcohol in fact slows co-ordination, reaction times and in some cases limits people’s inhibitions meaning they might take unnecessary risks and try to ride slopes way beyond their ability level, the insurance company said.

Six in ten (61%) of those that drink and ski say consuming alcohol on the slopes is sociable and does not pose any threats or danger to safety.

Two-thirds (69%) of drink-skiers justify drinking as they are not looking after a child and therefore don’t perceive themselves as putting others at risk.

As many as 67% feel that their drinking behaviours are acceptable because other people are also embracing the après-ski culture.

However, over the course of their ski and boarding holidays 5.7 million British adults have witnessed or experienced first-hand an incident because of drink-skiing whilst on the slopes.

Direct Line head of travel insurance Tom Bishop said: “There is no doubt that après-ski is a popular element of a winter sports holiday, but Brits who drink alcohol on the slopes should be extremely cautious and consider taking the ski lift or alternative route down.

“Whilst alcohol may give them a new-found confidence, the slopes can be highly congested and with slower reaction times drink skiers could put both their own and other skiers’ safety at risk.

“With nearly six million Brits claiming to have witnessed – or worse, been involved in – a drink-skiing accident, we’re advising anyone enjoying a winter sports break to indulge in moderation to ensure that they do not wake up with more than just a sore head the next day.”

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