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Snowboarders Sue Alta Ski Area & The US Forest Service For Violation Of The Fourteenth Amendment To The United States Constitution.

AltaPano

 IMAGE: Alta, UT (Wikimedia Commons)

Four snowboarders are suing Alta Ski Area and the US Forest Service for the right to share the mountain. The lawsuit states that Alta Ski Area, which operates on US Forest Service land, and it’s policy of not allowing snowboarding is in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“Snowboarding and skiing are wholesome, family-friendly activities, and there is no reason why they cannot coexist,” said Drew Hicken of Wasatch Equality. “We feel that it is time for Alta to let go of outdated prejudices that perpetuate a skier-versus-snowboarder mentality and allow everyone, regardless of whether they are skiers or snowboarders, to share the mountain together.”

Read more in the official press release below:

SALT LAKE CITY — Jan. 15, 2014 — Wasatch Equality, a Utah nonprofit corporation, and four individual snowboarders filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah against Alta Ski Area and the United States Forest Service, seeking to permanently enjoin Alta from enforcing its anti-snowboarder policy and snowboarding ban. The plaintiffs also seek a declaration from the Court that Alta’s snowboarding prohibition, as enforced by the Forest Service, violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and is therefore unlawful. A copy of the Complaint can be found on Wasatch Equality’s website http://wasatchequality.org/lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan Schofield, attorney with Parr Brown Gee & Loveless. According to Schofield: “Alta is one of only three ski resorts in the United States that does not allow snowboarding, and Alta is the only one of these resorts that is operated on public land controlled by the Forest Service. Because of Alta’s relationship with the government, Alta’s actions must comply with the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Alta’s prohibition against snowboarders excludes a particular class of individuals from use and enjoyment of public land based on irrational discrimination against snowboarders, which denies them equal protection under the law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Alta operates under a Forest Service Permit, which specifically states that the public lands “shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes,” yet Alta’s refuses to allow certain members of the public from using its land. The Complaint alleges that when Alta set forth its snowboarder ban in the mid-1980s, its policy was initiated as a result of animus held by Alta’s ownership, management, and customers towards snowboarders, and that Alta continues to enforce its ban based on this animus. The Complaint further alleges that the reasons offered by Alta in support of its policy are a pretext and that there is no legitimate reason for Alta and the Forest Service’s continued denial of access to one group of people (snowboarders) while granting access to a similar group of people (skiers). Thus, according to the Complaint, Alta’s anti-snowboarder policy and snowboarding ban cannot be enforced.

 

226 comments
  • Andy P

    Hummm,
    Touchy subject.
    Well.. As we know Deer Valley has the same policy, and i kinda like it. I obviously don’t like the fact snowboarders are ‘Band’. But, I feel it actually provides a service to Park City.
    You see, there are still some individuals out there that have an ‘old fashioned’ or ‘narrow minded’ way of thinking. They still think of the early days of snowboarding, when snowboards were hard to control. Now technology has changed for both sports, making them safer with improved maneuverability.
    Deer Valley is providing a place where these individuals can ski, feeling extra safe and privileged. The other local resorts (Canyons, and PCMR) allow any snow lover to have fun. So it removes the haters to there own private area. So i say Have your own resorts. Keeps the haters out of mine. Why can’t we all just get along.

    • ski2fly

      Good god, you ski at Deer Valley and you can’t even spell the work “banned” correctly? WTF is going on in this world?

  • rileseven

    If you pay rent to a landlord does that give the landlord the right to tell you how to run your business? No. Alta pays rent. Government can’t tell them how to run their business. Any judge that would rule in favor of the snowboarders would be responsible for the biggest change in American business in history. Stupid lawsuit. Stupid issue. People are confusing issues misidentifying laws and otherwise misunderstanding this whole story. Once public land is leased the lessor has rights to the property. If you want it to be public again then dont renew the lease and close the business.

    • yep yep

      the day i poached deer valley was one of the best of my life… this argument is so tired! Let Alta go bankrupt through a lawsuit, and i’ll contribute to that demise through my donation to the suit !!

  • Executive Ski Bum

    There should be Snowboard only resorts. Just to prove the point that separating the two sports is ridiculous and just perpetuates dissension.

    The closest I have witnessed is the private snowboard only camp on Mount Hood, High Cascade Snowboard Camp. I love when a skier dips through the gate or under the rope. The dude dons’t get three feet before he gets chased down by the diggers and jeered at by the campers, it’s awesome.

  • jim

    i ski but have no problem with riders. if a national park on the coast decided that only surfers could hit the waves and ban boogy boarders it would seem silly and illegal. what’s the dif here?

    • your an idiot

      At certain beaches they try and have no people riding standup paddleboards, so they have some surf beaches and SUP beaches. Similar situation, no big deal, go ride somewhere else, there are many much better resorts for snowboarders.

  • Julie Willis

    For those using the word “facist” and “nazi”…really??? Review your history…or read it for the first time and then tell me that you are being bullied, tortured and murdered for your “beliefs.” Alta is for happy people.

    fascist |ˈfaSHist|
    noun
    an advocate or follower of fascism.
    adjective
    of or relating to fascism: a military coup threw out the old fascist regime.
    DERIVATIVES
    fascistic |faˈSHistik|adjective
    fascism |ˈfaSHˌizəm|(also Fascism )

    noun
    an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.
    • (in general use) extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.
    The term Fascism was first used of the totalitarian right-wing nationalist regime of Mussolini in Italy (1922–43), and the regimes of the Nazis in Germany and Franco in Spain were also fascist. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.
    ORIGIN from Italian fascismo, from fascio ‘bundle, political group,’ from Latin fascis (see fasces) .

    nazi
    Nazi |ˈnätsē|
    noun ( pl. Nazis ) historical
    a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
    • a member of an organization with similar ideology.
    • derogatory a person who holds and acts brutally in accordance with extreme racist or authoritarian views.
    The Nazi Party was formed in Munich after World War I. It advocated right-wing authoritarian nationalist government and developed a racist ideology based on anti-Semitism and a belief in the superiority of “Aryan” Germans. Its charismatic leader, Adolf Hitler, who was elected Chancellor in 1933, established a totalitarian dictatorship, rearmed Germany in support of expansionist foreign policies in central Europe, and thus precipitated World War II. The Nazi Party collapsed at the end of the war and was outlawed in Germany.
    adjective
    of or concerning the Nazis or Nazism.
    DERIVATIVES
    Nazidom |-dəm|noun,
    Nazify |ˈnätsiˌfī|verb ( Nazifies, Nazifying, Nazified ) ,
    Naziism |-ˌizəm|noun,
    Nazism |ˈnätˌsizəm|noun
    ORIGIN German, abbreviation representing the pronunciation of Nati- in Nationalsozialist ‘national socialist.’

    • P-Dog

      Or racist and bigot.

      Because not allowing a different type of sporting equipment is almost the equivalent to hanging someone from a tree or dragging them to death behind a truck because of the color of their skin.

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  • Anonymous

    Without skiing there is no snowboarding. But with out snowboarding skiing would not have seen the progression in the sport is has. I think a few new Olympic sports that involve skis are a direct effect of snowboards and the events they compete in the Olympics. (Half pipe/ slope style) Open your eyes everyone. It’s 2014. We can all ride together!

    • Kenny

      Without snowboarding skiing would have died in the 70s like it was doing except snowboarding saved the ski industrie also we made slop style half pipe handrails all this shit that you guys had no imagination to do in 75years we did in 25.

  • EMJ

    No mexicans or blacks at our mountain, if you want to be there and your black or mexican, all you have to do is paint your face white and youll be good. Classic case of discrimination against snowboarders, if you wanna go to alta just ski. Fuck you Alta.

    • you can't dirtbike on forest service trails sooooo haha

      snowboards aren’t people they’re equipment. by equating this to racism you not only undermine your own argument but insult those who actually fight racism

    • P-Dog

      Except that blacks and Mexicans and every other class of person is allowed to ski at Alta. So there goes that argument. Thanks for playing though. Linda has some nice departing gifts for you backstage.

  • Kenny

    Number 1 it’s not the same as a biker being on a hiking trail those two activities use none of the same things nor are alike. this shits more like racism in the since that your banning somebody based off a board or 2 skies or 50years ago black or white. The funny thing is most skiers don’t even know why they ski they don’t know the history of it nor do they care there just preppy db’s withs there noses up in the air looking for a status with there new 1500$ skies. All I got to say if your really up on the mountain to ski and live that life the last thing you care about are snowboarders cause you know where all up there for the same reasons to have a good time and grow in nature not to hate on people. Grow up alta

  • Anonymous

    Snowboarding is Americas’ contribution to the European sport of Skiing. Just like Mountain Bikes are Americas’ contribution to bicycling. As Americans you should be proud of these innovative sports. Football comes from Rugby and Baseball comes from Cricket, Snowboarding comes from Skiing. What’s the problem?

  • you can't dirtbike on forest service trails sooooo haha

    1. alta would be awful for snowboarders– all the best runs are via traverse and hiking and 2. the whole argument is that they’re not allowing certain individuals on the mountain– anyones allowed on the mountain you just can’t snowboard on it. it’s like suing the forest service for not allowing motorized vehicles on trails and claiming dirt bikes are a kind of people

  • Sunny

    Really this pisses me off come on you fucks. Really these boarders have to sue Alta for something that has been this way for years. Stop being fucking so american Suing people. Get over it. Go ride brighton or the bird. Maybe I should sue these fucks.

  • Me

    If you take the “person” out of it and look at the activity would they have the same outlook. Snowmobile, tubing, snowshoe, are also not allowed on slopes at any resort. The combined activity would not work on the same slopes.

  • Danimal

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being a pain in some entitled opinionated assholes. BUT! I myself am pretty content that there are still 2 resorts in Utah that is like a Zoo keeper for all the monkeys out there who’s brains are under devoloped and haven’t evovled with the times yet. (Since Nazi and Fascist seem to make your buttholes tight ill settle for monkies) Skier monkeys out there that genuinely hate snowboarders do not deserve to share a resort with HUMANS who are accepting and appreciative of the simple fact that WE ALL LOVE SNOW and that we even have mountains to play on! Let them have Alta. Cause we have Snowbird; who’s terrian cannot be beat(bird is the word), Brighton; that’s got the most laid back friendly environment around, Canyons; that’s got adventures for days, and Park City; who’s got a terrain park that would make anyone shit themselves. If Alta lets boarders in, then all the ski monkeys will ruin everyone else’s good time by picking under developed monkey brain fights. I say keep the ski monkeys confined. Where we know just where to find them and annoy them. However; if per chance this sueing business works… they should have to change management and the name of the resort because Altas not recieving a dime of my support. Alta resort and its supporters are about as pathetic as watching a trex try and make his bed. This shouldn’t even be an issue.

  • curmudgeon

    Being from the midwest I have to travel to ride in the mountains. In the end it will come down to how much money is an organization willing to lose before they allow snowboarding. I have not touched Alta yet in my travels. I ski. My traveling partners are boarders. So I stick to Snowbird when booking trips. When Alta rescinds the ban, they will no doubt get my lodging, booze, food and lift ticket dollars too. I hope they do. I just like to ski with friends in the mountains and my friends ride boards.

  • Sean

    First world problem, no wait, 1%er first world problems…

    This might get alot of support, but I don’t think Skull Candy has enough money to waste on frivolous litigation.

  • If

    If alta is concerned about the snowboarder stereotype lifestyle, then just make the rules more strict and clear for what behavior is or isn’t allowed. If alta still has the stereotype of snowboarders side slip everywhere, then I think a lot of skiers should be banned too.

    Overall with the baby boomer generation getting older (who are mostly not snowboarders) and beginning to be unable to ski aggressively (ie sticking more to groomers) or stop going to ski areas in general, it would be a poor business decision by alta to eliminate a revinue stream with a major portion of the population aging and beginning to reevaluate how the ski and how they spend money.

  • smellingwherethisisgoing

    This would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that the only guy who wins is the lawyer. I’m betting that the lawyer is secretly a skier who will be willing to settle the suit if he quietly gets a lifetime pass as Alta. As a skier I welcome boarders to ride anything. That said, why do boarders care so much? The Bird is the better side of the mountain anyway.

  • Chris

    This is great – can’t wait to ride my 14th amendment protected equal rights snowmobile right up every run at Alta – thanks snowboarders, awesome !!

    • Beavis

      Your analysis leaves much to be desired . A snowboard is in the same class as a snowmobile? Obviously you have a poor critical thinking skills.

  • Snwboard4life

    All these selfish skiers only care about themselfs. Maybe if snowbird did not allow skiing all you big headed skiers would understand. Why can’t everyone enjoy evey mountain. It’s about being a real person. It’s not what you ride it’s the attitude you have on the mountain. No one gets until they don’t allow something they want. Understand skiers we have every right to snowboard any where we want.

    • P-Dog

      Nah, we would just ski Alta. Might be a touch jealous looking into Mineral Basin knowing I couldn’t hit it, but then I’d head on over to the High Traverse and hit Eagles Nest and forget all about it. Skiis don’t suffer from buthurt.

  • Justjamesbitch

    Regardless of what happens my goal in life is to ski Alta; Yes thats correct ski…… With a pair of assless chaps on and a severe case of the Hershey Squirts.

  • Anonymous

    Pretty interesting debate here. But let’s get down to the bottom line, and address some of the arguments -

    1. Skiing and snowboarding in it’s essence are the same damn thing. The equipment is almost identical in every way. The only real difference is the number of planks and the direction you slide. Do they allow Lib Tech NAS on the hill? Those are narrow snowboards.

    2. It isn’t racism, fascism, or nazism to not allow snowboarding. However, it is discrimination (and based on outdated stereotypes) being practiced on public land funded by tax dollars paid by everyone. If it was on privately owned land, it wouldn’t be an issue.

    3. As long as you can safely get down the hill and obey the responsibility code, there’s no reason why skis should be allowed and snowboards shouldn’t.

    To some of the various arguments against integration-

    “You can come to Alta – you just have to ski.”
    Not everyone skis, wants to ski, or knows how to ski. If you buy a lift ticket to access the terrain, you should be able to slide on it in whichever way will be the most safe and enjoyable to you.

    “Snowboarders can’t make the traverses and ride the terrain anyway.”
    That is a pretty broad and subjective statement. There are plenty of snowboarders who can traverse just as well as most skiers. Even if they can’t, that’s their burden and nothing you should be worried about. More pow for you. There’s plenty of people that just want to cruise groomers anyway.

    “Well they don’t let bikes on hiking trails / snowmobiles on the resort.”
    You can’t reasonably make this comparison. Snowboards are nearly identical to skis and are not mechanized. The rate and general direction of travel are the same. A more accurate comparison would be only allowing hiking boots on a trail, but banning hiking shoes.

    “Why don’t you just go to Snowbird?”
    Some snowboarders do go to Snowbird. But some would also like to try out Alta. Imagine that.

    “Why don’t snowboarders just open their own mountain and only allow snowboarding?”
    Besides the fact that it’s incredibly expensive and usually not financially lucrative to open a private resort, not everybody is selfish and unwilling to share. Believe it or not, many skiers and snowboarders are actually friends with one another.

    “The Constitution only protects kinds of people, not equipment.”
    I don’t think the Constitution addresses this particular issue, but if a corporation is a person, and money is speech, than I’d say there is plenty of grey area for loose definitions.

  • i like turtles

    WHO GIVES 2 SHITS,

    look. ALTA does not want snowboarders money, why do you want to force them to take it? NO ONE IS SPECIAL, (unless deemed so under the constitution).
    nobody better lay a hand on my bulging crotch, it is inflamed and a rash has started over this matter.

  • P-Dog

    Alta already allows snowboarding. It’s called Snowbird. Same snow, same mountains. Other than trying to settle some long held grudge, you really have nothing to gain. The easily accessible (to boarders) areas of Alta pale in comparison the the Bird.

  • Anonymous

    You can have Alta!
    Seriously, if/when they allow the sport that made skiing cool again I could give a shiot…in fact it would be like going to a restaurant with shitty service and begging them for a table: why bother, if service sucks and no respect I couldn’t even imagine how shitty the day on your ego mountain would be.
    Heck Alta should also discriminate Fat Skis…they are wanna be snowboards to make skiing easier…. Grow up ski industry.
    You can have Utah utah. And stay there with your skinny skis.

  • lawschoolgrad

    Ive been graduated from law school for some years now and have seen many cases tried and both sides have valid arguments but the truth of the matter is the plaintiffs have the stronger argument so sorry to all you skiers but Alta. is gonna be forced to allow snowboarders to ride the mountain or be forced to close down

  • SanTranum

    I just did a poach run today,… all because of this! I took Baldy-express from Snowbird. (which had some nice powder runs earlier), and entered Alta. The lift agent at the shack told me I couldn’t board there and ordered me back to the Bird. I protested and asked her what would happen if I did board Alta as this was my last run of the day. She shrugged her shoulders in confusion. I immediately pushed on and make my run! a few skiers lobbed some words. “Hey man, you must we for equal rights on the slopes”. Another skier, “Poaching Alta for your last day ride, nice”. At the bottom and had my beer at the Goldminner’s Daughter. No one seemed to care. But really Alta is not good for snowboarding.

  • tgp

    I want to snowmobile on ALTA slopes, since it is public land I should be able to and the skiers will just have to get out of my way

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