Feds Back Alta’s Snowboarding Ban

Say it's a rational safety rule


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The U.S. Forest Service supports Alta Ski Resort’s snowboarding ban, according to court arguments filed this week.

The resort’s decision to keep the mountain snowboard-free is a rational safety rule that doesn’t violate the Constitution, Forest Service attorneys argue.

“Even if Plaintiffs established that they are similar to skiers and have been treated differently, they have failed to show that the federal defendants’ treatment of them was irrational,” the lawyers wrote.

Four snowboarders sued Alta in January to challenge the resort’s skiers-only policy. The lawsuit states that the ski area violates the Fourteenth Amendment by prohibiting snowboarders from riding at the mountain. 

The Forest Service statement comes a week after Alta’s lawyers argued to throw out the lawsuit on the grounds that it degrades the U.S. Constitution. “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,” the ski area’s lawyers wrote in a brief.

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

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