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So I have recently returned from the second of two ski trips.  (I know that sounds extravagant, but it is totally true that if you want to improve you have to ski more than once a year, but that’s not the point of the post).  I wanted to put something out there about something that happened on the first trip.

It was the last day (a Friday) and me and a couple of friends were preparing to do our last ‘run’ of the day.  It involved having a hot chocolate at a place on the mountains that is one of the last places to get the sun.  You then wait for the lifts to stop, and then ski all the way down to the hotel.  There’s nothing very dangerous in that, the slopes back down aren’t difficult for a half competent skier.

The hot chocolates were drunk, the lifts stopped, and off we went.  The slope started nice and easy, but when we got to the first steep part, we came across someone clambering back up the slope to their skis.  In this situation the usual ‘form’ is to help out and make sure the person is ok.  I collected the skis, a friend collected the pole he’d dropped and we gave them back.  It was then that we discovered there was a problem.  The person was as drunk as a skunk (no offense to any skunks that are reading this).

We did, eventually, with the help of a ski restaurant, get him to safety, but the whole situation left me with a few challenges in terms of what is an isn’t acceptable on the slopes.

So the question being posed is whether it is acceptable to drink on the slopes.  The chap we found would and should never be allowed to drive given how much he had drunk, yet, there were no restrictions in terms of skiing.  He was a risk to himself, and had it been earlier in the day would have been a risk to others.  At -15C at night if he’d skied off the piste and collapsed, he wouldn’t have survived. 

So, should there be no alcohol allowed on the slopes at all.  I was shocked to see that there were a number of places happily selling high %vol miniatures to people on the slopes, with no concern over if they were to be shared or all consumed by one person.  That sort of consumption is something that I believe would be unacceptable.  So, at first look an alcohol ban would seem logical.  However it’s when you move to other drinks that things possibly become a bit more difficult.  I’ll freely admit that I have, on occasion, had a gluhwien or a beer with a meal when skiing, but would limit it to that. 

Now I like to believe that I’m quite a responsible skier and make sure that I am in control of what I am doing.  Some may argue that I’m not being so by having a gluhwien, and I’m willing to accept that some may view it that way.  I would though argue there is a difference between that and ‘sinking’ a load of miniatures before skiing.

I’m yet to be convinced that a total ban should be enforced, but having met someone who was a risk to themselves, a ban on alcohol over a certain % would get my support.  The person I found on the slopes would certainly have been drinking that rather than a beer or gluhwein given the state he was in. 

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