Alta, snowboarders argue in federal court over access to resort

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    Aug. 15, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    That this case was not immediately thown out is an indication of how broken our legal system is and how far away from reality most judges are.

    We are officially in an age where people can claim discrimination against a behavior, not an immutable characteristic. Snowboarding is a behavior or activity and not immutable. No one was "born to snowboard only".

    And before all the atheists start with the "religion is a behavior" comments: Freedom of Religion is the first of the rights listed in the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers obviously felt that religion was important enough to society to carve it out specifically. No special right exists for snowboarders...

  • Sailor376 Oakland, MI
    Aug. 14, 2014 6:03 a.m.

    I've skied Alta multiple times. I also am very aware of the conditions of slopes shared by boards and skis. What is not discussed in the article are the shapes of the slopes that are created by the passage of different equipment. Skiers in steep terrain, will shape moguls that are steep sided, close, and a fish scale type pattern. When boards enter into the same area, the bumps all get scraped into wider, flatter, and non homogenous flat white ice. Wide and flat works for snowboards, and is shaped by those same passing boards. Alta is not a best place for snow boarders. The flats are shallow slope, and the steeps are narrow. The wilderness area at the back of Alta should be good for boards,,, but there are many places, flat and level places back there where skiers must pole their way through deep snow. Boards cannot pole. But how do boards hike the crest to get to the slopes ?

    But where trails are narrow, close steep bumps are fun, and nearly needed for control AND the ability of the slope to hold new snow fall. Alta is nearly all narrow trails,,, as is Mad River.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    @Ernest T. Bass

    It seems to be particularly conceited to claim to be the single arbitrator of what constitutes civil rights.

    This lawsuit is merely an indication how a culture of passive/aggressive victim power has descended a slippery slope into the completely irrational and inane.

    @one vote

    "It is public land."

    They are private lifts (and if the land is leased, it is not fully public any longer either)

    So your point is?

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:40 p.m.

    What's next, a lawsuit to get into any cabin around Alta because it is built on land leased from Federal government?

  • 1Observer Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    Can taxpayers sue these snowboarders and their law firm for wasting our money? (I would never use this firm just because of this case) What a joke! The judge should summarily rule on this case and toss it so far no one dares to bring anything like it back. It is an insult to thinking people everywhere.

    Aug. 12, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    * Comment included overly speculative thoughts or information not included in the story.

    >sorry, I'm unable to locate the speculation in my comment? Perhaps the fact that other things are banned besides snowboards? Is that a surprise or harmful to anyone?

    * Comments should be thoughtful and helpful to your fellow readers with additional insight or counterpoints to the article.

    > check, thoughtful and helpful, presenting other rules and what might also happen

    * Avoid personal attacks and other inappropriate responses to fellow readers.

    > check, no personal attacks

    * Treat other readers as you would if you were speaking to them from a microphone, looking them in the eyes, then passing the microphone cordially to the next contributor.

    > check, no problem, I could even say this to my mother or over the pulpit


    I ride fat bikes and have not been treated fairly by Alta, they ban fat bikes on the snow and ski lifts!

    I demand equal rights with skiers, it is un-American and bigoted to ban fat bikes on the slopes while allowing skiers! Discrimination and bigotry at its worst!


    I'm sorry, I'm at a loss here? Perhaps the literary device of parallel sarcasm is banned?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    If they can sue to get snowboards at the ski resorts, can I sue so that I can bring my snow tubes and sleds up the ski lifts too? I figure a tubing run that long has got to be a lot of fun too.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    It is public land.

  • JohnnyClutch Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 10:44 a.m.

    It isn't about safety. Anyone who skis knows that boarders are like snowplows when it comes to flattening out the mountain. Moguls and snowboards just don't mix.

    I think that the safety issue is used because it's a more "legitimate" argument.

    That being said, it's always a joy when a boarder runs over the back of your skis in line and other his shoulder says "Sorry dude. On my way to some rad carvin."

    Leave ONE LAST BASTION of great skiing to the skiers. GO JARED BENNETT! Kick their butts.

  • justinbl Portland, OR
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    First, this lawsuit is so ridiculous that I will be shocked if it is not thrown out.

    Second, I wish people like these snowboarders would think about the fact that when they argue cases like this for their own selfish purposes, if they were to win they would forever mangle the laws for everyone and further tear holes in the Constitution.

    Third, if this land is under lease then the company should have rights as if they owned it as far as anybody (other than the lessor) is concerned. Our company is a lessee of the building that we are in. Do people have a right to come in and use it without the permission of our company? In the same way, use of that slope is a PRIVILEGE granted by the lessor and the lessee. Yes, there are laws regarding discrimination, but the more people tweak those laws, the more clouded the RIGHTS of the lessee become.

  • mjkkjk Nowhere, 00
    Aug. 12, 2014 7:03 a.m.


    I totally agree, because skiers NEVER run into other skiers! Nor do skis do anything to scrape the snow off mountains. In fact, the very nature of skiing acts to lift the snow back into the mountains in its perfect form like that of skiers themselves. It's science

    Sorry, bad attempt at sarcasm. You guys crack me up with how firmly you claim to believe that snowboarding ruins your experience. In reality, you just don't like the sub-culture that started snowboarding.

    For the record, I agree that lawsuits like this shouldn't happen. Let the skiers have their exclusive club away from the snowboarder rabble. I'd rather not be around that type of skier anyway

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 6:59 a.m.

    Rick Alden, Drew Hicken, Bjorn Leines and Richard Vargas are suing on the basis of their "Constitutional" right. They will open the door for problems for other groups since if I were a legislator I would look to new rules for this dying sport. I may be wrong but I don't believe a helmet law for snowboarders exists in Utah and it should whether the Alta suit moves forward or not. The disruptive and unsafe activities of snowboarders should also be considered for new laws everywhere in the state. What a lame offense in "using" the Constitution.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Aug. 12, 2014 5:15 a.m.

    I am a conceited Alta skier. I simply don't like anyone messing up my snow with those inferior snowboards or their ilk wandering into my dining facility with all that baggy garb they wear...

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 2:28 a.m.

    The argument that this is federal land and open to anyone for access does not hold when the land is under lease for a specific business. The business has the right to set the rules and laws and use of the land according to tier lease with the federal government. There is a definite safety and environmental conflict with the 2 different kinds of sports where safety is a primary risk between the 2 sports.

    Its like dirt car drivers suing large paved race tracks so they can run dirt cars on any track they want. Its a deadly combination and so is this mixing of sports where risk and danger are relatively high. On the other hand, the ski resort can charge snow boarders $200 and hour to use the ski slopes and lifts and training for different safety needs.

    But it would be best if the judge honors the resort owners rules and laws for the benefit and safety of their primary and target group of customers.

  • Clock Man Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 12:21 a.m.

    I agree that they should be allowed to use Snow Boards at Alta, however, they should not be allowed to use any of the trams or lifts. They would have to hike up the mountain in order to snow board.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 10:45 p.m.

    Allowing snowboarders at Alta would be a slippery slope to civil rights for everyone and we can't have that around here.
    In reality Alta is meh. A decent place but hardly the mecca so many people make it out to be. Plus Alta skiers really don't deserve the conceit they all seem to have.

  • As If! Layton, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:30 p.m.

    The Fourteenth Amendment again? When will it stop? It's not as if there aren't other places for people to snowboard. Some people need to find some service projects so they don't waste taxpayer money on frivolous things. As if!

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    Sorry snowboarders, this dog won't hunt. There is plenty of precedent for "discrimination" against certain activities on Forest Service land. How about all those trails where no horses/ATV's/bicycles aren't allowed? How about no campfires? How about artificial flies and lures only?

    And even snowboarders should be hoping the judge dismisses this case. If he rules that snowboarders have to be allowed at Alta, be ready for other winter sports groups to demand that they be included as well. Your Alta skiing (or snowboarding) experience isn't going to be much fun with snowmobiles zipping around, is it?

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:22 p.m.

    Don't 'board, don't ski, don't care about hurt feelings due to 'boarders not being able to ski Alta. This appears to be a waste of a lot of people's time and energy to respond to a whine from a perpetually offended self-absorbed generation.

    It appears everyone is free to "ski" Alta, even 'boarders. Leave the snow board in the car and strap on a pair of skis and you are good to go.

    Or look at it this way: No Ski Boots, No Skis, no Skiing (Service).

  • Uncle Rico Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    I think I might Sue the ski resorts so that I can have sleds, tubes, toboggans, snowmobiles, snowshoeing, dog sled racing, etc.

    Skiing and snowboarding are different. I have done both and I like them both. They are different, but both great.
    If Alta wants skiiers only, then so be it. If the snowboarders win this, I will sue so I can have my dog sled racing at all of the snowboarding resorts. Dog tracks will be great for your halfpipes.

  • indycrimson Franklin, IN
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:07 p.m.

    This has got to be the stupidest thing i have ever considered!!!

    I own a ski resort...for skiers. I get sued because a snowboarder wants to snowboard on my ski hill...

    Next, i am going to sue Taco Bell for refusing to fill my request for a Big Mac...

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:03 p.m.

    There is no "right" to snowboard at Alta. And there are plenty of places for snowboarders to scrape the snow off of the mountain, destroy mogul runs, and run into other skiers.

    Alta is a private resort that targets a specific segment of the winter mountain sports market - skiers. Bring you downhills, telemark, slalom skis, etc. But take your snow-scrapers elsewhere.