Like other ongoing disputes amongst Utah ski resorts, the great Alta-Snowboarder showdown has yet to be resolved. According to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson refused to acknowledge the resort's request to throw out a lawsuit filed by four snowboarders denied access to Alta in January. Alta wants to keep its slopes free of snowboarders to ensure it remains safe for skiers. As explained by Alta attorney Robert Rice, snowboarding is a choice, so riders wouldn't receive special protection [of their rights] under the Constitution.
Alta is also contending that it's a private business, and "its permit with the U.S. Forest Service allows it to restrict ski devices it deems risky. Resort attorneys contend snowboarders can be dangerous because their sideways stance leaves them with a blind spot, " said ABC News. Besides, everyone knows that snowboarders are knuckledragging, illiterate miscreants whose oversized clothing, deviant behavior, and rampant drug use make them a hazard to safer, saner, law-abiding skiers [read=sarcasm].
The Forest Service is pro-snowboarder (or rather, they share the same safety concerns as Alta, but worry about future lawsuits regarding recreational useage on public lands), and last spring asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it's unconstitutional and violates the 14th amendment. As reported by ABC, snowboarders' attorney Jon Schofield argued, "This case is not about equipment, it's not about skiing and snowboarding. It's about deciding you don't like a group of people, you don't want to associate with that group of people, and you're excluding them."
Judge Benson has no deadline for settling the case, so expect more updates, drama, and name-calling to follow.
· All Alta vs. Snowboarders Coverage [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Powder Magazine Calls for an End to Snow Separatism [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Last Ski Season Was the 3rd Best in Utah State History [Curbed Ski Archives]