Snowboarder’s group wants to keep Alta lawsuit alive

Posted at 10:21 AM, May 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-17 12:22:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In a new filing in federal court, the pro-snowboarding group Wasatch Equality asks a judge to keep their lawsuit alive against the U.S. Forest Service and Alta Ski area.

Wasatch Equality is suing over Alta’s ban on snowboarding, claiming it violates snowboarders’ rights of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. Alta has fired back, saying snowboarders are not a protected class of people.

The U.S. Forest Service claims it has sovereign immunity and discretion about what activities can take place on public lands.

In its latest filing, Wasatch Equality said the snowboarding ban at Alta — with government approval — shows “animus.”

“As alleged in the complaint, many of Alta’s customers hold underlying stereotypes, prejudices, animus and irrational fears towards snowboarders and snowboarding,” wrote Wasatch Equality attorney Jonathan Schofield.

Schofield argued that his clients have standing to bring a lawsuit because “the ban deprives them of the ability to use the public land on which Alta operates.”

“Plaintiffs here simply seek to be treated the same as others at Alta,” he wrote. “The complaint explains that the ban ‘identifies a group of people… and treats them as unequal, purposefully imposing inequality by, among other things, communicating to the public that snowboarders are not welcome by Alta or the USFS on the public land at issue.”

Read Wasatch Equality’s filing here

Wasatch Equality asks U.S. District Judge Dee Benson not to dismiss the case and to schedule a hearing on it.