Snowboarders Sue Alta Ski Area

For violating Fourteenth Amendment

Four snowboarders and a Utah nonprofit have sued Alta Ski Area over the resort's skiers-only policy. (False Positives/Flickr )

Four snowboarders and a Utah nonprofit corporation have sued Alta Ski Area and the U.S. Forest Service, challenging the resort's skiers-only rule. 

The lawsuit states that Alta’s policy prohibiting snowboarders from riding at the resort violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws.

Alta is one of three resorts in the country that does not allow snowboarding, and it is the only one that operates on public land controlled by the U.S. Forest Service, according to the lawsuit.   

“Because of Alta’s relationship with the government, Alta’s actions must comply with the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause,” says attorney Jonathan Schofield in the press release. “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.”

The resort operates under a Forest Service Permit that, according to the release, stipulates the federal lands must remain open to the public “for all lawful purposes." 

For plaintiff Drew Hicken, there is no reason why skiers and snowboarders can’t share the resort. "We feel that it is time for Alta to let go of outdated prejudices that perpetuate a skier versus snowboarder mentality and allow everyone, regardless of whether they are skiers or snowboarders, to share the mountain together," he reported.

Do you think Alta should allow snowboarders to ride at the mountain? 

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