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Snowboarders File Lawsuit Against Alta Ski Resort
The Alta ski resort is being sued by a group of snowboarders for violations of their constitutional rights, according to a report from The Salt Lake Tribune.
“Alta’s snowboarding prohibition was initiated as a result of animus … towards the type of people they believed to be ‘snowboarders,’” the lawsuit states. It was filed on Wednesday in federal court.
The lawsuit has been filed by Rick Alden, Richard Varga, Drew Hicken and Bjorn Leines. Leines is a pro. They were joined by Wasatch Equality, which is a snow sports advocacy group. The lawsuit was filed against Alta and the United States Forest Service.
The lawsuit notes that Alden, Hicken and Varga purchased tickets at Alta and attempted to board the Collins lift with their snowboards. They were escorted away from the lift by ski patrol. Alden boarded a lift with a split board, but was grabbed by ski patrol at the top of the lift.
Despite all of this, multiple pieces of ski equipment was permitted on the lift, even a mono-ski. The complaint says, “simply a single board nearly identical to a snowboard in shape and size but with feet facing forward.”
There are three resorts in North America that ban snowboarding. Those resorts are Alta, Deer Valley and Mad River Glen, which is in Vermont. Alta is the only resort that sits on public land.
According to the lawsuit, the ban “excludes snowboarders from use and enjoyment of the public land on which Alta operates.”
The lawsuit states that in the 1980s, snowboarders were viewed as “immature, inexperienced and reckless,” but as culture changed, “most resorts soon acknowledged that there was no legitimate reason to prohibit snowboarding.”
The lawsuit continued saying that “outdated or outright discriminatory perceptions and attitudes continued among some skiers, which infected or was exploited by some resorts that wanted to prevent snowboarders and their ‘counterculture’ from having a presence on their mountain.”
Claims in the lawsuit include that snowboarders are banned from using the most snow and best terrain in Utah. The ban for snowboarders also “hurts Utah tourism and, by excluding mixed-skier/snowboarder families, flies in the face of Utah’s family values.”
In the lawsuit, language from the Alta Forest Service is discussed. The permit from the Forest Service says that “the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes.”
The rights of snowboarders are being violated under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, according to the snowboarders named in the lawsuit.
“The only difference between [skiing and snowboarding] is the orientation of a person’s feet on the skis or board,” the lawsuit states. “Alta allows a broad range of equipment … as long as the particular device is referred to as a ‘ski.’”Snowboarders File Lawsuit Against Alta Ski Resort by Jim Vassallo