Will Snowboarders’ Lawsuit Finally Win Access to Alta Ski Area?

By on January 15, 2014 in Girls, Snowboarding with 1 Comment

Alta_Is_For_PoachersFour snowboarders and an advocacy group based in Salt Lake City are suing Alta Ski Area in District Court of Utah to remove Alta’s three decade-long ban on snowboarders. The suit alleges that since Alta operates on Forest Service land, the resort cannot ban a class of individuals (snowboarders) from using the terrain. Citing the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the plaintiff’s attorney states that no government body (Forest Service) can “exclude a particular class of individuals from use and enjoyment of public land based on irrational discrimination….”

The crux of the argument stems from the distinction between access to the terrain and use of the resort’s property – namely the lifts. Alta has it within its rights to ban at its own discretion use of its own property (chairlifts) without technically prohibiting access to the Forest Service land.

Another analogy is prohibition of bicycles on a walking path. Does the equipment individual citizens choose to recreate on actually characterize them as a class of citizens? Such questions are best left to the judges. Let’s just hope he’s a snowboarder!

Here’s the full release:

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.


If you’re having trouble understanding this all. Check out this video!


(BTW- while this thumbnail is from the beloved RomCom “Say Anything” we think that John Cusack who also starred in Better of Dead as a skier would probably have been a snowboarder in 2014)

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  1. Slc skier says:

    Fuck these snowboard faggots – Alta is Alta for a reason. Keep the knuckle-draggers at Brighton and Snowbird.

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