Thousands are jeopardising their safety, and the validity of their travel insurance, by skiing or snowboarding while under the influence of alcohol.
In a survey of 1,000 British skiers by Post Office Travel Insurance, 22 % admitted drinking heavily during a winter sports holiday, while 39 % said they had hit the slopes while suffering from a hangover. Should a doctor rule that alcohol was a factor in a skiing accident; it could invalidate the insurance, leaving the patient to pay for medical and other expenses.
It can take approximately an hour to burn off a unit of alcohol, so those who are drinking 12 units at night could still have high amounts in their system the following morning. High altitudes can also increase the effect of excessive alcohol.
The Post Office says that three out of four of all winter sports insurance claims made last season were for medical expenses. Hospital treatment for a fractured leg can cost up to £10,000, while a serious head injury can cost up to £250,000.An air ambulance to hospital from a ski resort can cost £14,000 in Europe, or £40,000 in North America.