By David Schissler
(October 2014) Here’s a sign from firsttracksonline.com that you won’t be seeing any time soon! Last February the White Blog posted a story about a group of four snowboarders and an advocacy group, Wasatch Equality, filing a lawsuit against Alta, UT and the U.S. Forest Service for banning snowboards from the mountain. Well, a judge recently ruled snowboarders have no constitutional right to ride at Alta. The plaintiffs claimed prohibiting them access excluded a “particular class of individuals” use of public land based on the discrimination of snowboarders. The judge rejected their arguments and threw out the suit. It was dismissed in part due to the plaintiffs being unable to produce any evidence the U.S. Forest Service played any role in Alta’s snowboard ban. Judge Benson said “The decision was Alta’s and Alta’s alone, operating as a private business. The Forest Service did not encourage the rule, discourage the rule, agree with the rule, or disagree with the rule; nor was the Forest Service consulted on the appropriateness of the rule.” As to the plaintiffs claim the snowboard ban violates the 14th amendment, in the judge’s view their position was “misplaced and mistaken. The equal protection clause is not a general fairness law that allows everyone who feels discriminated against to bring an action in federal court. There are many forums plaintiffs can resort to in an attempt to accomplish their goal of snowboarding down the Baldy Chutes at Alta. Seeking an injunction from this court is not one of them.”
Alta is one of only three remaining areas in North America enforcing a ban on snowboards, but is the only one on public land. The other two are Deer Valley, UT and Mad River Glen, VT.
If you’ve had an experience or have an opinion, let us know.
Send your comments to: David Schissler at [email protected]