Survey: one in three Czechs admit to drinking and skiing

Forty percent of men and a quarter of woman admitted to consuming alcohol on the slopes at Czech ski resorts. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.02.2022 09:57:00 (updated on 06.02.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Forty percent of men and a quarter of woman admitted to drinking alcohol while downhill skiing at Czech ski resorts, according to a new survey conducted on about one thousand respondents by insurance company ERV Evropská pojišťovna.

The most popular drinks among skiiers in the Czech Republic? Beer topped the list, followed by Aperol Spritz, mulled wine, and bombardino, a popular winter drink at ski resorts made with egg liqueur and brandy and typically served hot with whipped cream or hot chocolate.

Perhaps surprisingly, Czech skiiers over the age of 55 were most likely to drink alcohol while on the slopes; about half of them admitted to it. Some respondents claimed that they only drank alcohol before taking their final trip of the day downhill.

Budvar sign at a ski resort in Špindlerův Mlýn. Photo: iStock / GAPS
Budvar sign at a ski resort in Špindlerův Mlýn. Photo: iStock / GAPS

Consuming alcohol while downhill skiing is not banned in the Czech Republic, unlike other countries in Europe. In neighboring Austria, drinking is also permitted but skiiers may have their blood alcohol level tested, and lose their skiing privileges if over a certain limit.

Starting this year, the consumption of alcohol has been completely banned on the slopes at the Italian Alps. Random checks are carried out, and skiiers may be fined up to €1,000 if their blood alcohol level is above 0.05%. If over 0.08%, consumption of alcohol while skiing is considered a criminal offense.

France has a similar zero tolerance policy for drinking while skiing on the country's slopes, and violators face steep penalties of up to a year in prison or a fine of up to €15,000.

Alcohol is considered an aggravating factor that can contribute to accidents on the slopes, and insurance companies may reject claims from people with a high blood alcohol level who were involved in skiing mishaps.

According to a spokesperson for ERV, the company is tolerant of people who had consumed a small amount of alcohol prior to having an accident of the slopes. However, if police or doctors report a person's blood alcohol content, the company must take it into consideration when evaluating a claim.

"It is not uncommon for [skiing] accidents to occur under the influence of alcohol," says ERV Marketing and Communications Manager Vlastimil Divoký.

"In such a case, skiers must realize that an insurance company may reduce or refuse their insurance benefits, especially in cases where a high amount of alcohol has been consumed."

According to a study conducted by British insurer Direct Line, skiers under the influence of alcohol are 43 percent more likely to be involved in an accident. The study was based on results from a simulator, where around 2,000 skiiers were asked to take a simulated downhill ride before and after consuming alcohol.

Drinking while participating in leisure activities has long been tolerated in the Czech Republic, but the country has taken steps in recent years to crack down on practices that can contribute to accidents.

There's a zero tolerance policy for the consumption of alcohol while canoeing or biking in the Czech Republic, and efforts to allow a small amount of alcohol to be consumed during these activities have recently been shot down. Given the legal status of drinking while skiing in other European countries, the slopes could become the the next Czech locale to officially go dry.

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