Snowboarders Sue Alta

4 Snowboarders Claim Alta Infringes on 14th Amendment

alta_logoIt seems the Alta argument has reached litigation. 4 Utah riders have teamed with Wasatch Equality and filed suit against Alta and the US Forest Service for infringing on their 14th Amendment rights, specifically The Equal Protection Clause. Finally, the Skier v. Snowboarder rivalry will be addressed by the judicial system and has reached its much deserved spot among other notable 14th Amendment cases like Bush v. Gore, Roe v. Wade, and Brown v Board of Education. This lawsuit is laughable at best. I am a skier and I have no qualms with snowboarders. Some of my best friends ride and I love to ski with them. The Skier v. Snowboarder rivalry is moronic. This lawsuit is merely a cry for publicity and shows the snow sports world in a very poor light. Alta discriminates no individual or group, rather they do not allow specific equipment. Why not file a claim that the USFS infringes on my 14th Amendment rights by not allowing me to bike of hiking trails? Why can’t I snowmobile on the USFS land Alta leases? It’s my right as a US Citizen, right? To equate this as an infringement on 14th Amendment rights is ludicrous. Infringements of that level equate to fraud, abortion rights, and racial segregation. My reaction when first hearing of this lawsuit: “Ugh…really?!”

What do you think? If you have a reaction to this lawsuit please leave an educated response in the comment section. I am not looking for internet trolling. I am looking to start an open dialogue. Perhaps we can begin to shed the nonsensical rivalry and explore our common bond.

Official Press 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.

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Read full complain and lawsuit by Wasatch Equality and 4 plaintiffs here.

Utah’s Fox 13 Reports

7 Responses to “Snowboarders Sue Alta”


  1. Wow. Being from the Midwest, I didn’t even know there were still resorts that didn’t allow snowboarding. I started boarding in 1989 and thought this debate was done by 1991. I don’t think this will do snowboarding’s reputation any good. Now people will get to add “whiney” to the negative descriptors they already use.

    I think it’d be better served if snowboarders who plan to be in the area made sure they sent a message to Alta every time they choose a different resort within a reasonable driving distance. Hit Twitter with “Hey @myAltaUT, I would’ve spent $79 today but I chose to snowboard at RESORTNAME.”

    That may not make a difference, but at least they’d have a record of how much money they’re missing out on.


  2. Rob Garrett on said:

    I floated this very idea in 1994- and I am a skier. It’s an access issue and since Alta holds a lease on Federal property exclusively there is not justifiable reason why snowboarders should be excluded.
    Nor should Deer Valley be excluded because they have a partial property lease.
    It’s Jim Snow Laws- fight for your rights.


  3. hate me on said:

    it’s not a right to be able to do your choice of activity at place of business and who gives a sh%t if you can’t snowboard there, last time I heard Utah has numerous resorts to ride at. Do you get mad at restaurant that doesn’t serve hamburgers? Im a snowboarder and those guys taking this to court sound like a kid in the store not getting his way. Hope you they lose the and move back home with mom and dad. Learn how to ski if you wanna go to Alta.


  4. I think there should be snowboard only slopes. Sounds about as asinine as a ski only slope doesn’t it?


  5. I also didn’t think this was still an issue. I thought something like this died off in the mid 90s.I think if it was a private owner on private land. I would have no problems. But, it’s leased federal land. It’s not like it’s snowmobilers trying to use the land. It’s snowboarders. There’s no significant change to the environment. Only 4 people involved sites seem whiney. I’ve never boarded out there. I’m sure there’s plenty of other spots.


  6. Paddy O'Connell on said:

    What I believe people are misinterpreting about this issue is they believe this to be an argument over whether or not Alta is being elitist and proliferating the idiocy of the Skier v. Snowboarder rivalry. I am not saying they are not. They are being rather elitist and bourgeois, doing nothing to end this moronic, misplaced rivalry. But to say that snowboarders as a people, a claim in itself that is ridiculous, are being discriminated against to the point their Constitutional Rights are being infringed upon is absurd and makes everyone in the Snow Sports Community look absurd as well.

  7. Pingback: Snowboarders Lawsuit Asked To Be Thrown Out - The House Blog

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