No reason why it shouldn't be standing next to a pair of skis. Spin Heike/Pixaby

No reason why it shouldn’t be standing next to a pair of skis. Photo by Spin Heike/Pixaby

There are some debates that seem so circular that they'll never be resolved: Is there really a God? Coke versus Pepsi? Should snowboarders be allowed at skiers-only mountains?

As far as the third ones goes, yeah, probably. In light of a recent lawsuit that a group of snowboarders brought against Alta Ski Area, which Alta filed a motion to dismiss, former Powder magazine editor Derek Taylor is calling for the breakdown of the snowboarding ban at Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen.

He says it's ridiculous and limiting. His argument is two-fold: First, snowboarders are people too—and our friends!—and there's no reason why we shouldn't want to hang out with them. The two-versus-one-plank segregation of the early '90s is old news, and was pretty stupid anyway. And second, all the arguments for why snowboarders can't handle the steep, traverse-heavy terrain at resorts like Alta are false. Just like anywhere else, good riders will be fine on challenging terrain.

"I'm not going to give credence to every individual argument as to why snowboarding shouldn't be allowed at these three places, except to say that they would be dispelled after one lap," he writes. "Good snowboarders will be able to handle the traverses, the terrain, the single chair, what-have-you. The bad ones won't, just like bad skiers. Last I checked, Taos hasn't crumbled to the ground."

The debate, particularly at Alta, has been raging since the '80s and keeps bubbling up every few years. This most recent iteration stems from snowboarders Rick Alden, Drew Hicken, Richard Varga, and Bjorn Leines, who, according to Powder, "claimed that Alta's no-snowboarders policy—a policy dating back to the 1980s—was discriminatory by nature and should not be allowed on the public land that Alta leases from the United States Forest Service." Alta's lawyer says they don't have ground to stand on, because they're not a protected class, so the suit is likely to get thrown out.

Regardless of the point of debate, DT says it's time to call it quits. And he's got a good point: It's unnecessary to drive a wedge between skiers and snowboarders, because we're pretty much the same. "You'd be hard-fought to find two sports, two cultures that are more similar than skiing and snowboarding," he says. "Our equipment is made in the same factories, of the same materials. We live in the same towns, drink at the same bars, wear the same clothes, date, have sex, get married, and have little inter-glisse kids together. We chase the same storms, for the same reasons, and when they hit, we travel to the same places. That is, except three."

Read the full op-ed at

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