AN alcohol-affected man has been found by passersby after spending several hours missing in the snow.
Police were alerted after the man left a hotel at Falls Creek about 1am on Sunday.
The 23-year-old failed to arrive at his accommodation after becoming separated from his friends.
They raised the alarm with police.
Officers were initiating a search when the man was discovered lying in the snow by a group of women about 3.45am.
The incident came amid heavy snowfall in the Alpine region.
Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll said the incident could have had serious consequences if the man wasn’t found.
“You can lose your ability to think rationally and your decision making can be adversely affected by the consumption of alcohol but also by the cold weather conditions,” he said.
“This man’s chances of survival, if not located by the morning, could be compromised, particularly given the weather conditions.
“Excess alcohol and walking around in the Alpine environment clearly doesn’t mix.”
The temperature fell as low as -3.1 degrees while the man was missing, with an apparent temperature of -5.6.
The man was taken back to his accommodation and appeared uninjured.
The ski fields have become busy recently with the start of Victorian school holidays.
Mt Hotham Senior Constable Brad Watson said there hadn’t been any major incidents at the ski resort, but snowfall had created treacherous driving conditions.
“People have been taking snow chains but a few haven’t been fitting them when they should be,” he said.
“It’s a message about driving to your ability.”