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Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:02 AM

Court rules that snowboarders have no right to PUBLIC land.

U.S. Forest service actually agreed. This is absurd, as only THREE ski areas in the entire country ban snowboarding. Alta claims it is a safety issue. If so, why does every other resort (except two, one of them up here in New England) allow snowboarders? You'd think Alta would have all sorts of statistics to back them up, all the mayhem caused by snowboarders (because, you know, skiers never have accidents or anything).

Alta is on FEDERAL land. You pay for it. I pay for it. If I want to snowboard there, I should be allowed to, since my fellow taxpaying skiers get to use the FEDERAL land. Total bullshit. But that's okay, Alta is a tourist shit-hole anyway.

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Feds Back Alta's Snowboarding Ban
Say it's a rational safety rule

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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Several embedded links at original OUTSIDE Magazine article here -- http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Feds-Back-Altas-Snowboarding-Ban.html

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:21 AM

1. Since you and I pay for federal land we can do what ever we

want on it?

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:22 AM

3. I doubt the government is operating the lift.

 


Walk up to the top and you can go down how you like, I suppose.

And camping and hunting on the slopes are probably out of the question too.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #3)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:46 AM

6. It is the ONLY Federally-leased land which bans snowboarding.

Yes, Alta leases the land from the Fed. Since our tax dollars pay for the land, then Alta is profiting off that land without allowing the OWNERS to use it. Pretty simple. In the summer, I believe you're allowed to hike the mountain. In the winter, I think they don't even allow hiking. You must PAY to use their private lifts on public land. There has even been a challenge put out by one of the sports magazines for video of anyone snowboarding on Alta. They say it's about their privately owned lifts, but they'll throw your ass off or arrest you if you hike it to the top.

Many mountains on Federal land allow you to hike to the top of you're so inclined (pun intended). It's Federal land, after all. If you want to walk to the top of a 2,200' mountain for a three minute slide down, that's your business. But if you want a lift ride to the top you have to buy a ticket. I get that, totally. Alta doesn't say that. Their entire case was based upon it being as SAFETY issue. Why is Alto the only Federally owned mountain in the country with a "safety" issue regarding snowboards? Did they prove this? The mountain in Vermont which bans snowboarding, Mad River, is privately owned by a co-op. They can do anything they want with their own private land. No problem. But I own Alta just as much as skiers do. It's like saying I can't drive on an interstate because someone doesn't like the type of car I drive.

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Response to Atman (Reply #6)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:01 PM

9. No, it's not analogous to an interstate

 


Although you can't drive whatever you want on an interstate highway either.

Here's the deal. Yes, it's federal land. Yes, we grant people exclusive rights to run businesses on federal land - food concessions, hotels, all kinds of stuff - which can be run like any other business. I can't sleep on the couch in the lobby of the hotel in Death Valley either.

The claim here is brought on 14th Amendment grounds. The resort can't discriminate against anyone on the grounds of religion, origin, gender and so on. Being a "snowboarder" is not some immutable aspect of personhood. Snowboarding is an activity, not an identity.

This case hasn't gotten anywhere near whether what the resort operators are doing is "fair" in some cosmic sense. The question at the preliminary stage this case is in doesn't have anything to do with that. The question at this stage is "taken as alleged, is this a violation of the 14th Amendment equal protection provisions". None of the stuff you say has anything to do with the legal question at this stage of the case, and they don't have to "prove" a safety issue at this point in the litigation anyway. In other words, the argument here is "even if they can't prove a 'safety issue', is this a cognizable 14th Amendment claim?" Whether or not the can prove such a thing is not even relevant to the motion to dismiss. In a motion to dismiss, you take all disputed facts in favor of the moving party and say, "Okay, but so what?"

I completely agree with you that the resort operators are being assholes, but so what? They pay for the right to run a ski resort just like any other ski resort. As you point out, there are still private resorts which don't allow snowboarders, so what do you have to say about the right the resort operators are paying for to run a ski resort just like anyone else runs one? Maybe they have figured there are still skiers who like to ski without snowboarders around, and that's a chunk of their target market and value proposition in paying for the franchise in the first place.

But if you want a lift ride to the top you have to buy a ticket. I get that, totally. Alta doesn't say that.


They don't have to say that. That's true at a lot of places that are run on various state lands as well. And, yeah, I've seen telemark skiers - if you want to talk about oddball stuff on slopes - walking uphill since that's part of their particular "thing".

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #9)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:32 PM

14. " Snowboarding is an activity, not an identity."

You obviously don't snowboard.



Just a little light-hearted banter! Good reply, btw. Intelligent and well stated. Caught me by surprise on the New DU. I was waiting for someone to say it was all Obama's fault.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:02 PM

10. how did you come to that conclusion?

it's a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rule. it's like saying you can ride your mountain bike here, unless it's a full suspension mountain bike because derp.

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Response to frylock (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:18 PM

13. Yes, it is a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rule.

 


But so what?

Does that make it a Constitutional violation merely because the folks with the license to run the resort have a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rule?

Lots of businesses have ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rules.

I was warned at a ski resort once that I had to keep my shirt on. It was one of those spring skiing days where the snow was not half bad and the weather was pretty warm. But, apparently, the sight of male nipples was deemed inappropriate.

Saying it is a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rule doesn't take it to the level of a violation of the 14th Amendment unless you are going to explain how snowboarders are a protected class under the 14th Amendment. And that's the stage this case is in - "Okay, let's assume it is a ridiculous, bullshit, arbitrary rule, just like a lot of others. Does that mean it is a violation of the Constitution?"

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:21 AM

2. "You pay for it. I pay for it."

 


Correct me if I'm wrong, but do the resort operators pay a lease to operate a ski area there, and does the lease require that they allow snowboarding?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:24 AM

4. Bigger question

Isn't there evidence of snowboarding causing avalanches?

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:35 AM

5. I don't know much about Alta...

 

What people do off piste (the designated and groomed trail areas) is up to them. Skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling can all set off avalanches. Anything that disturbs top layers over a slippery bottom layer will.

When snowboarding started becoming popular, they were banned at a lot of ski areas. They can't turn as sharply or stop as fast, and affect the surface differently. One of the "rules of the road" is that you are responsible for avoiding collisions for whomever is downhill from you. It took some time for skiers to get used to anticipating the movements of snowboarders they were overtaking.

Another aspect of it is that snowboarding is more popular with younger folks than older folks, so some of it is generational friction. I'm a cranky old man myself, and remember being irritated when snowboarders showed up, but its really just a matter of getting used to how they move. But the perception it is "dangerous" to mix the two is more a matter of getting used to the different traffic patterns and the fact that, yes, kids are, um, enthusiastic.

But there's no shortage of people doing stupid stuff on either skis or snowboards.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:51 AM

8. LOL! You should hear us snowboarders talk about how skiers "move."

And I'm a cranky old man, too. I turn 55 tomorrow, but I've been snowboarding for about 15 years. Skiers are the biggest irritant on the mountain...at least for the way I ride. You will NEVER find me sitting in one of those groups in the middle of the slope. I'm old so I can afford better equipment -- step in bindings. I'm strapped in before even most of the skiers are ready. I like to point it down the mountain and go, but SKIERS like to go back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, taking up every inch of the trail and bumping up the snow. There is definitely a different riding style. But just as skiers have different styles, snowboarders do, too. It's part of the sport. You learn to deal, you don't shut down public land because you don't want to be inconvenienced.

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Response to Atman (Reply #8)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:11 PM

11. That's the point, though

 


Look, I don't have an issue with snowboarders. When they started showing up, it took a little adjustment. And "sitting in one of those groups".... D'jever take some body counts while riding the lift? I appreciate there are a lot of really good snowboarders but, and this is just from informal observation, it seems there is a lot of sitting involved in learning how to do it.

But, exactly, the rhythm and patterns are different, which can be difficult for people who don't appreciate those differences to avoid collision. You pretty much prove the point.

If I stay out of everyone else's way, can I ride my snowmobile there? Is there any conceivable winter sport activity that can be restricted from this mountain by the resort operator? How about hunting, camping, snowshoe hiking... is there some desperate shortage of mountains out there?

And if your answer is yes, then we are getting into picking and choosing which winter sports are "Constitutional" and which ones aren't.

Did you know the hot dog stand at the Grand Canyon DOESN'T have mayonnaise and they WON'T let you bring in your own mayonnaise? I like mayonnaise on my hot dogs and, god damn it, that's why we fought the Civil War! You think all those guys died at Antietam so I'd have to settle for mustard?

C'mon.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #11)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:46 PM

15. "...it seems there is a lot of sitting involved in learning how to do it."

Yes, but not for the reasons I think you believe.

None of the people I ride with (ski with) are snowboarders. Not even my wife. They all ski, and not one of them has any grasp of the differences in the sport, from dismounting a lift to riding flat green trails. When getting off the lift a skier just stands up in a natural, forward-facing position. But we snowboarders need to lean, because we're already facing sideways. It doesn't mean we're BAD or anything...it's just a different position required to get off a lift. Yet, I'm constantly berated because I've found the safest place for me to ride the lift is on the far left side. I can wait, let the skiers all get off, then slide off to the left without them sticking their damn poles into my bindings and causing mayhem. Mind you, I never, ever, fall getting off a lift. That was the first, most important skill I learned! But two weekends ago I saw two skiers wipe out getting off the lift. One fell and broke her arm. There wasn't a single snowboarder on the lift with them.

I have a real problem with all the kids who just stop and sit on the mountain, talking, taking selfies, toking up, whatever. But another thing skiers don't get is that it is very, very difficult to just stand there when you're strapped into a snowboard. You skiers can do it because you're in a more natural position. Snowboarders tend to sit down because their legs are locked in position. They can't shift their weight or move their position without completely getting out of their bindings. IT IS DIFFERENT. I have yet to meet one skier who understands this...no, I don't want to ride that gentle green run because it HURTS to go so slow! I don't want to gently glide back and forth from one edge of the trail to the other because it hurts to go so slow, and if fucks up the snow! But skiers always say it's the snowboarders causing all the problems. If you'd just point your skis down the mountain and ski we'd all get along just fine!

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Response to Atman (Reply #15)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:02 PM

17. "If you'd just point your skis down the mountain and ski"

 


But that's not really the point.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #17)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 02:12 PM

18. But it is a point.

You don't understand that it is very difficult to have to judge when a newbie skier is going to randomly turn in front of you, because skiing involves endless side-to-side turns. Since it is the uphill rider who must yield to the person in front of them, it becomes confounding to snowboarders to try to figure out WTF the skier is going to do next...will he go straight this time, or do short little turns, or slide all the way to the other side of the trail? There is rarely a pattern. Since you ski, I'm sure you see the difference between good skiers and noobs. I good skier has his/her ankles close together and does quick, tight turns. A poor skier is doing loooooong arcing turns from one side of the trail to the next. For a snowboarder, trying to figure out you guys are going to do next is a nightmare! If there are two or three in front of us, which is often the case, it's like trying to navigate to an open toll lane on the New Jersey Turnpike.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 11:47 AM

7. No, there is not.

Snowboarders have caused avalanches. More skiers have done so. There is "evidence" of people on snow-covered mountains causing avalanches, but no more snowboarders than skiers. Less so.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:18 PM

12. Alta has some loooong flats and traverses, some uphills to boot

Hence the ban, since snowboards aren't exactly the best tool for a long flat catwalk. Half a mile on one leg doesn't sound like a lot of fun even if the scenery's great.

No dog in the fight - I ski rather than boarding, but nothing against snowboarders.

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Response to hatrack (Reply #12)

Fri Apr 4, 2014, 01:49 PM

16. A snowboarder can just take off his board. Our boots are like big sneakers.

I see that it is damned near impossible to walk in ski boots. It's why I have Flow step in bindings...flip the heel down and I'm out. When I hit a flat spot I can just step out of the bindings and walk. Skiers can't do that because of the way ski boots are built.

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