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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 April 2008, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Ski resorts warn: 'Watch your drinking'
By Andy Brownstone
Newsbeat reporter in Laax, Switzerland

Ski
Insurance companies are warning skiers to be more careful

There's nothing like zipping up your jacket, strapping on your snowboard, adjusting your goggles and then blazing a trail through fresh white snow under the huge blue skies of the Swiss Alps.

And after a good session on the slopes, there's nothing like an ice cold beer (or two) to relax at the end of the day.

But there are concerns that boozed-up Brits are becoming a hazard on the slopes of popular resorts.

Stu and Chris are brothers from the Isle of Man.

Chris said: "I just drink, drink, drink then snowboard as well. I had a few beers for lunch today. I was alright for a couple of hours until it hit me."

While Stu said he is often so hungover after a night out that he can barely make it onto the slopes the next day.

Well marketed

The tradition of après-ski is well known, and well marketed, as part of the winter sports package.

But medics, police and insurance companies are warning British skiers and snowboarders not to take it too far.

The Foreign Office says around a third of young Brits have alcohol-related accidents on the slopes.

In some US resorts you can be fined and have your lift pass confiscated if you are too tipsy on the piste.

Booze
The tradition of après-ski is very well known
While ski marshals in Austria and Italy can breathalyse people they suspect are over the limit.

It is worth knowing that if you do have an alcohol-related accident that injures you or someone else, most insurers will not pay out because you have been drinking.

But it is not just on the slopes that booze causes issues.

In control

Florian Weidel, who runs the resort of Laax here in Switzerland, said: "We've had some problems in the apartments. I had a call from one of the flat owners who said some of the British guests had cut the furniture into pieces and then burnt it in the fireplace."

Betony Garner from the Ski Club of Great Britain added: "Après-ski is fine, you're off the hill, as long as you're sensible. When you're actually on the mountain, just think about whether you should be drinking.

"If you do have a drink definitely stick to one and make sure you're in control when you're coming down the mountain.

"Altitude affects you, you definitely get drunk more quickly. So try to have less than you would do at home. And drink plenty of water."



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