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No ruling on Utah ski area's rare snowboarding ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm •  Published: August 11, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A reignited culture clash between snowboarders and skiers didn't get an immediate resolution Monday after boarders suing one of the last ski resorts in the country to prohibit their hobby argued in a Utah courtroom that the ban is discriminatory and based on outdated stereotypes.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson didn't rule on the resort's request to throw out the lawsuit, and there's no deadline for him to do so.

The Alta ski area, which sits on mostly federally owned land in the mountains east of Salt Lake City, said a snowboarder-free mountain is safer for skiers. The sport is a choice so boarders shouldn't get special protection under the Constitution, resort attorney Robert Rice argued.

Alta says it is a private business and its permit with the U.S. Forest Service allows it to restrict ski devices it deems risky. Resort attorneys contend snowboarders can be dangerous because their sideways stance leaves them with a blind spot.

But snowboarders claim the resort bans them because it doesn't like their baggy clothes, overuse of words like "gnarly" and "radical," and perceived risky behavior on the slopes.

"This case is not about equipment, it's not about skiing and snowboarding," attorney Jon Schofield argued. "It's about deciding you don't like a group of people, you don't want to associate with that group of people, and you're excluding them."

Under questioning from the judge, Schofield conceded that there is little legal precedent for the case but said the lawsuit should have a chance to be heard.

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