Alcohol and Drug Use on the Slopes
On the slopes, the risk of collision or of simply falling depends on factors involving concentration, the ability to evaluate and anticipate, as well as the speed of reaction to an unexpected situation. Alcohol or drug use on the slopes results in the same loss of ability and reflexes as alcohol on the road. Remember that on the slopes, the mountain always has the upper hand.
As the level of alcohol in the blood increases, the effects extend to the motor and sensory centres of the brain. In very small doses (0.02-0.05 g/100 ml), alcohol allows you to control your balance and the accuracy of certain movements, but it still reduces your reaction speed and impairs your hand-eye coordination. In small doses (0.06-0.10 g/100 ml), alcohol compromises all of these skills as well as the athlete’s ability to track a target, look in the right direction and monitor his or her environment. Obviously, playing a sport in such a state increases the risk of accidents and injuries.
With more than two glasses of alcohol, reaction time is lengthened, lateral vision is blurred, and alertness decreases.
Beyond four drinks, i.e., an alcohol level of more than 0.8 g/l of blood, it is more difficult to coordinate and synchronize one’s gestures. The person’s reasoning and concentration are also altered.
The depressant effects of alcohol and cannabis multiply when combined, so that judgment, reaction time, and coordination are particularly affected, making it absolutely inadvisable to participate in a sport.
Regardless of the order of use or whether it is used simultaneously, mixing alcohol and cannabis carries significant risks. We therefore recommend not mixing the two products, as the effects are unpredictable, even for experienced users.
Coping with the winter cold with a sip of alcohol doesn’t really help. The body cools down more quickly after a hot wine or a toddy, contrary to the warm feeling they provide.
Did you know that when you are “tipsy” your body temperature drops and so does your performance?
Alcohol consumption increases peripheral vasodilation resulting in a significant drop in internal body temperature. This effect, combined with a drop in blood sugar, inevitably impairs performance. For those who want to perform at their best, the idea of a “little pick-me-up” is a myth.
Consequences and Sanctions
On the slopes, the Highway Code does not apply. However, the Mountain Code of Conduct and the Penal Code make it possible to punish skiers “in case of deliberate failure to comply with an obligation of safety or caution.”
Be aware that the Penal Code obviously applies on the slopes and can be used to punish skiers in case of deliberate failure to comply with a safety or cautionary obligation. Depending on the condition of the person and/or the seriousness of the accident, the penalties can range from the removal of the pass to severe fines, or even imprisonment if you cause serious bodily harm or death.
Help and Resources
If you would like to get help or information about alcohol or other drug consumption, specialists are available to help you, listen to you and suggest solutions without any judgment.