by Matt Daniels
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
Earlier this year, at the behest of what must be a fairly bored group of snowboarders, an anti-discrimination law-suit was filed against world renowned ski resort Alta, located just outside Salt Lake City, Utah. The suit was filed by Wasatch Equality and a few various snowboarders, including professional boarder Bjorn Leines, who claim that Alta and the U.S. Forest Service are stereotyping snowboarders and unfairly banning the use of snowboards at Alta Ski Resort.
Personally, I have no problem with snowboarding. I think it’s a fun sport with a lot of dedicated participants and followers, even if I don’t care for the standard fashion employed by the average boarder. I happen to come from a family that has skiing in our blood; as a native of the Salt Lake City area I’ve skied Alta many times. However, most of my friends are snowboarders, making Alta an impossible destination if we were to head out into the snow together. A true conundrum.
There are claims made by both skier and snowboarder that are difficult to process without experiencing these arguments for ones’ self. Skiers often claim that snowboarders cut the path and create a different kind of line than skiers, making it less safe to ski unfettered. Another claim is that snowboarders carve up the packed snow and demolish the powder—a truly sought after aspect of skiing at a resort like Alta is the ability to ski in fresh, waist-deep powder throughout the season.
Snowboarders, however, deny these claims and state that they take up virtually no more surface area than a pair of skis—an argument actually made in the suit—and that they do nothing more to the snow than do skiers. The aforementioned suit goes so far as to purport that snowboarders are being “banned” (there’s that silly word again) because of the type of people they are inferred to be by Alta and those who ski there.
They also claim—perhaps arguably so—that the land, being publically owned, should be equally available to snowboarders and skiers alike. So, while Alta owns and operates the lifts, they do not own the land, making the no-snowboarding law an issue with the U.S. Forest Service.
Doesn’t Alta have a say in this? Are they not granted the right to conduct their business within the boundaries of the law—which they’ve been doing for years—and to preserve a skiing heritage they’ve painstakingly created for 75 years?
The real issue isn’t with Alta or the Forest Service at all, it’s with the snowboarders (and with Wasatch Equality, who sounds to me like a group composed of a dozen or so spoiled law-school graduates that still live with their hippy parents).
There is no possible reason sound enough to claim that a business should be required to cater to anyone who wishes to participate in what a business has to offer, simply because that person would like to be included on their own terms. This would be the equivalent of someone wishing to join a book club then filing a law suit because the book club wouldn’t allow people to join who don’t want to read, but want to watch movies instead. If a person wants to snowboard, they should go to a resort that is open to snowboarders. It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to understand this concept, but it clearly takes more than the mental capacity of a few snowboarders in the Salt Lake valley.
This is just one type of many, many issues we face in the country today. It’s irrational and criminal to make demands on others simply because they aren’t conforming to a standard set by another’s demands. To file a suit in this manner only highlights that we have serious issues within the legal system, but that’s an article for another time.
Snowboarders have numerous options in Utah, where they can go and ride the mountains without concern. For example: Snowbird, where snowboarding is allowed, is actually a better resort than Alta, if you ask me. So it leads one to believe that this is a “I want to have my cake and eat it too,” kind of argument. It points out that it’s not discrimination that is on the stand, but whiny people that seem all too willing to play the part of the victim. And if they win the suit, then what? My guess is that they would move on to something equally “unjust” to rally behind and complain about.
Wasatchequality.org/ claims “We have the right to ski and snowboard together…” If you’re really supportive, you can donate the their cause or like them on Facebook. Help them take down Alta’s rights so people that have no stake in the company can feel better. I mean, just who does Alta Ski Resort think they are? Do they not care about people? What if a gay snowboarder wants to get married at Alta in a pagan ceremony? Law-suit pending! Like it on Facebook for your chance to belong!
Which leads me to my own conundrum. I find myself quite upset at Playtex for not making tampons for men. That is discrimination and I won’t stand for it. “Manpons” would represent the (possible) needs of nearly half the adult population. Naturally, for this shameful display of uncaring, Playtex should expect a letter from my attorney.
Image: Courtesy of: http://kosovoguide.com/?cid=1,167,1182