The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

No immediate ruling on lawsuit aiming to toss 1 of last US bans on snowboarding in ski area

  • Print

SALT LAKE CITY - A reignited culture clash between snowboarders and skiers didn't get an immediate resolution Monday after boarders suing one of the last ski resorts in the country to prohibit their hobby argued in a Utah courtroom that the ban is discriminatory and based on outdated stereotypes.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson didn't rule on the resort's request to throw out the lawsuit, and there's no deadline for him to do so.

The Alta ski area, which sits on mostly federally owned land in the mountains east of Salt Lake City, said a snowboarder-free mountain is safer for skiers. The sport is a choice so boarders shouldn't get special protection under the Constitution, resort attorney Robert Rice argued.

Alta says it is 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.

But snowboarders claim the resort bans them because it doesn't like their baggy clothes, overuse of words like "gnarly" and "radical," and perceived risky behaviour on the slopes.

"This case is not about equipment, it's not about skiing and snowboarding," attorney Jon Schofield argued. "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."

Under questioning from the judge, Schofield conceded that there is little legal precedent for the case but said the lawsuit should have a chance to be heard.

Outside the courthouse, plaintiff Rick Alden said the ban inflames tensions between skiers and snowboarders in a way that doesn't exist elsewhere.

Ten years ago, Alden said an Alta ski patrol officer used an expletive toward him in front of his then-12-year-old son when Alden tried to cross onto public land leased by the resort without using Alta's chairlift, something he thought was legal.

"It sounds silly to come here and try and argue about a different way to recreate, but at the end of the day there really are people who are hurting by just simply being talked bad about," Alden said.

The Forest Service agrees with the resort about the risks of snowboarding and says the suit could open up the floodgates for people who don't like recreational rules on public lands, including sometimes controversial all-terrain vehicle laws.

The four plaintiffs bought tickets to Alta knowing they would be turned away and could then sue, which they did in January. One even sneaked onto a lift using "split boards" — a snowboard that resembles skis — but was intercepted and escorted down the mountain.

Two other U.S. resorts, both on private land, ban snowboarding: Deer Valley, also in Utah, and Mad River Glen in Vermont.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets This Week: Predicting the line-ups

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling prepares to eat dandelions on King Edward St Thursday morning-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 17- bonus - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Goslings enjoy Fridays warm weather to soak up some sun and gobble some grass on Heckla Ave in Winnipeg Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 DAY goose challenge - May 18, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google