The on-slopes restaurants in Beaver Creek do a lively lunchtime business in alcohol. The most enthusiast consumers of beer, wine, and mixed drinks seem to be European. In other words, they’ve come from sea level, are drinking at 10,000′ above sea level, and will take the lift up to 11,000′ after drinking. Conventional wisdom (e.g., Wikipedia) is that alcohol and high altitude are a bad combination. Conventional wisdom is that alcohol does not contribute to coordination and quick reaction times, like you would need to ski down a black diamond trail. Yet one can observe hundreds of people at just one ski resort lunch spot loading up on alcohol and then getting on the lift.
Readers: How did it become common for people who aren’t acclimated to high altitude to mix alcohol and and skiing? And, for those who actually have tried this, how does alcohol affect your ski performance?