Wasatch Equality is fighting Alta to allow access for snowboarders

“Can’t we all just enjoy the mountain like civilized beings?” – Bjorn Leines

There are only three of resorts in the United States that refuse snowboarders to ride their lifts. The privately owned Mad River Glen in Vermont, the swanky Deer Valley located between The Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, and finally the “Skier’s Mountain” of Alta, also located in the Wasatch Range. Among the three, Alta has been known to be tremendously discriminative towards boarders, whom they view with dated stereotypes such as, “stupid, immature, out-of-control, and reckless.” To ensure that snowboarders cannot use the terrain, the management at Alta implemented an anti-snowboarding policy and outright snowboarding ban, citing that snowboarders pose a significant danger to the safety of Alta skiers due to the “blind spot” caused from riding sideways, which is further justified by the sentiments briefly outlined above.

Now if Alta were situated on private land, little action could be taken against the ban. But here’s the kicker. Nearly all of Alta’s rideable terrain is located on PUBLIC land and operated under a special permit from the United States Forest Service with the mandate that, “the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes.” In layman terms, this means that the land upon which Alta operates should open for everyone to use.

On January 15, 2014 Wasatch Equality and four snowboarders, Rick Alden, Drew Hicken, Bjorn Leines, and Richard Varga filed a lawsuit against Alta and the USFS, which the ski resort has now filed for a court Motion to Dismiss upon the grounds that there is nothing among the claim to constitute a matter of law.

Cosmetically this is an issue of skiers v. snowboarders, but at its core this issue is far more important. This is discrimination against a particular group of people based on arbitrary classifications and outdated stereotypes, and Wasatch Equality is fighting for our basic rights as citizens of this country. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy this land that Alta has unlawfully blocked for public use and we, as snowboarders, need to tell Alta that it is violating those basic rights.

The USFS has issued similar permits to that of Alta’s to 199 other resorts that allow snowboarding. Why should this be any different?

If you want information on the ongoing litigation, please visit Wasatch Equality and show your support for a cause truly worth fighting for.

What are you thoughts? Should Alta allow snowboarders? We would love to hear what you have to say.


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