Utah Snowboarders Suing Alta Ski Resort // Ski Industry News
News broke yesterday that a group of snowboarders in Utah are suing Alta Ski Resort and the USFS (United States Forest Service), with the goal of forcing the resort to open to snowboarders. The organization leading the charge goes by the name, “Wasatch Equality,” and their sole purpose is to convince the courts that Alta is unconstitutionally prohibiting snowboarding. Oddly enough, it seems as though they aren’t overly concerned with bringing snowboarding to Deer Valley, another mountain in Utah’s Wasatch range that is only open to skiers. Our guess is that Alta finds itself in the crosshairs due to the fact that the resort operates on USFS land, which is supposed to be open to the general public.
Now, as skiers we obviously find ourselves in an awkward position here. On one hand, I completely understand where these guys are coming from. At least in Alta’s case, the land the resort is on is owned by the United States, and is supposed to be open for the public to use freely. There is definitely an argument to be made that excluding any group of people from public land is unconstitutional.
On the other hand, Alta is leasing the property from the United States, and is being allowed to operate a private business on the land. Businesses are allowed to set their own rules and regulations in order to protect and grow their business, within reason. And that’s sort of where the blurry line is here. The question will most likely end up being whether or not Alta’s “skiers only” policy is a reasonable and lawful business policy that helps protect and grow the resort. If it’s not a reasonable policy, then there’s a good chance we’ll be down to just two resorts in the United States that don’t allow snowboarding: Deer Valley and Mad River Glen.