"Alta is forbidden fruit for snowboarders," said Quinney, whose grandfather Joe Quinney founded Alta in 1939. "The thing about Alta, so much of it involves hiking, climbing and traversing. That's not real conducive to snowboarding."
Quinney said the culture clash that separated skiers and snowboarders in the 1990s has become a cliche, and banning snowboarding remains a matter of safety, not style.
"I'm a skier, always have been," he said. "There are skiers out there that appreciate going to a place that allows skiers only, not snowboarders."
The U.S. Forest Service also was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Government officials declined comment, said Loyal Clark, a spokeswoman for the Uinta-Cache Wasatch National Forest.
Snowboarding might have lost some of its cool since starting in the late 1970s, but about a third of all resort visitors are still sliding downhill on one plank, not two, according to surveys by the National Ski Areas Association.
The lawsuit concedes that snowboarders were "perhaps rightfully" stereotyped as riffraff decades ago by more sophisticated and affluent skiers, but times have changed.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Rick Alden, Drew Hicken, Bjorn Leines and Richard Vargas. They are asking a federal judge to declare that Alta's ban violates the Constitution's promise of equal treatment under the law.