Alta Ski Resort seeking to dismiss boarder suit

Skiers, with nary a snowboarder in sight, slip down the Devil’s Elbow run at Alta Ski Resort. A group of snowboarders recently sued the Utah resort, claiming the ban on snowbaords is a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Snowboard-free Alta (Utah) Ski Resort is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by snowboarders seeking access to the mountain.

In January, a group of snowboarders, including professional snowboarder Bjorn Leines, along with the snow sports advocacy group Wasatch Equality, sued the resort, claiming its no-snowboards policy is the result of “hostile attitudes” toward snowboarders and violates boarders’ constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.

In response, resort attorneys said the snowboarders’ claim that banning snowboarders is a violation of the 14th Amendment “demeans the Constitution itself.”

The 14th Amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, and addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws. It was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves after the Civil War.

Alta, located 25 miles east of Salt Lake City in upper Little Cottonwood Cañon, is one the last major ski resorts, and one of the few resorts anywhere, to prohibit snowboarding on its slopes.

On March 28, one of the resort’s attorneys wrote, “It demeans the Constitution to suggest that the amendment that protected the interests of former slaves during Reconstruction and James Meredith and the Little Rock Nine must be expanded to protect the interests of those who engage in a particularized winter sport.

“There is no authority holding that the zone of interest created by the (14th) Amendment protects those who stand sideways on snowboards,” the attorney wrote.

Attorneys for the resort also used Alta’s status as a private resort operating on federal land to argue the case.


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