A new study reveals interesting facts about ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the behavior of people at mountain ski resorts, noting skiers don’t protect their skins from Sun. Researchers noted that it doesn’t necessarily mean Sun wouldn’t be harsh to the skin because it is cold outside.

"It's a little counterintuitive," lead researcher Peter A. Andersen, of the School of Communication at San Diego State University in California said. "But there's an inordinate amount UV at that elevation, reflecting off the snow and coming at you from all directions. Skiers are bathed in radiation."

Researchers noted that skin cancer that kills about 8,700 Americans a year is one of the most common kinds prevalent in the U.S. and most of them are UV-related. Andersen and his team considered 32 high-altitude ski resorts in western North America for the study, where a total of 4,000 UV readings were taken, some pointing at the Sun, some others at the sky or at the snowy mountain caps.

They noted that UV radiation was highest and most harsh during midday, and was harsher during spring than winters.

"Depending on the conditions, the UV index at a ski resort can potentially be as powerful as Waikiki on a bright sunny day," he said, referring to the Hawaiian beach. He pointed out that his team had multiple readings of 10, or "very high," based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's UV index.

However he noted that the behavior of people in such snowy mountains did not match with UV intensity levels. They found that a lot of them failed to apply sunscreen when most required – that is, 30 minutes before hitting the slopes.

Andersen said the use of sunscreen lip balm or wearing brimmed head covers and gloves, was unrelated to UV levels. Applying the sunscreen more number of times during the day could be helpful.

"Anything you can do to minimize your total chance of getting sunburn, the better off you'll be," advised Andersen. "Eat your lunch in the shade, or if you're resting while other skiers catch up to you, stop under a tree."