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This study was designed to determine (1) skiers' drinking behavior, (2) the relationship between ski injuries and alcohol use, and (3) the feasibility of field studies of alcohol consumption and skiing.
There were interviews with 389 injured and 899 randomly selected uninjured adult skiers at a northeastern U.S. resort. Interviews probed demographics; skiing abilities and experiences; assessments of sensation, thrill, and excitement seeking; interest in new experiences; opinions of alcohol's effects on ski performance; and 24-h drinking histories. Breath alcohol concentration (BAC) was measured by an evidentiary-quality device.
Participation rates were 76% injured and 86% uninjured skiers. Six percent of all skiers had BACs > 0, and 34% reported alcohol use within 24 h of interviews. Younger skiers were more likely to have drunk within 24 h of interviews. Injured skiers were more likely to report that they generally do not drink while skiing, but also were more likely to have used alcohol within 24 h of the interviews. There was no association between injury risk and BAC.
Data suggest (1) a strong relationship between alcohol use and ski injury; (2) a need for educational countermeasures, with special attention to skiers who do not normally drink when they ski, and (3) the feasibility of more conclusive field studies of ski injuries and alcohol use.
alpine skis, injury, sports equipment, alcoholic beverages, blood alcohol concentration, breath alcohol concentration
Professor, School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Scientific director, Vermont Alcohol Research Center, Colchester, VT
Executive director, Alcohol Research Group, Medical Research Institute of San Francisco, Berkeley, CA