The End to Snow-Separatism

The case for opening Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen to snowboarding

Gather 'round skiers, snowboarders, tele-skiers, bike-skiers... No, not you, snowbladers. PHOTO: Grant Gunderson

Gather ’round skiers, snowboarders, tele-skiers, bike-skiers… No, not you, snowbladers. PHOTO: Grant Gunderson

I’ve never liked skier-only resort policies. I love all three resorts that don’t allow snowboarding, which is precisely why I don’t like the policy. Half of my friends prefer to snowboard, and I would like to share my favorite places with the people I like the most.

And yet, especially after Alta filed a motion to dismiss a case brought against them by a group of snowboarders, I keep getting sucked into this argument—on the wrong side. By jerks calling good people Nazis. By a multimillion-dollar corporation paying a bounty to trespassers. By idiots who compare the struggles of Rosa Parks to not being able to use their over-priced, Chinese-made toy of choice at a private business permitted to operate on U.S. Forest Service land.

Today, I’m coming clean. I’m finally putting to mega-pixel an opinion I first started shopping around—and couldn’t sell—to ski magazines back in 1998. It’s time for Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen to allow snowboarding.


I want to be very clear about this: I don’t mean it’s time to make them allow snowboarding. I’m not implying that they are genocidal maniacs if they continue operating their businesses for skiers only. It’s simply my opinion that the snow globe would be a happier place if snowboarders were allowed at every resort. It’s 1998 2014; the stereotypes of the 1980s no longer apply.

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. 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 benefit is we’d be able to ski anywhere in the world with anyone we want. We’d no longer see Sage Kotsenburg’s fans bickering with Deer Valley on Twitter and feel like we have to take a side. I’d be able to wear my Altaholics Anonymous shirt and not feel like I’m giving the middle finger to some of my best friends.

This isn’t a one-way street, of course. It’s time to end separatist marketing in winter sports altogether, and snowboard companies have a colorful history of driving a wedge between our two sports. For a long time, the credo was, if you can’t think of anything good to say about your brand, say something bad about skiing. I’ve even seen snowboard divisions of ski brands try this tact.

Personally, I think Burton would do well to enter the ski market—perhaps by buying one of the ubiquitous core independent ski brands, much like they did with Channel Islands surfboards. But if the execs at Burton don’t think it’ll help their bottom line, well, they know a lot more about business than I do. They should still let little kids use skis in their Riglet Parks.

In fairness to Burton, it’s been more than a half-decade since their Poach The Big Four marketing stunt, and in that time, most of the anti-ski banter has died off across the snowboard industry. Burton markets their eyewear brand (Anon) to skiers, but for the most part, they’ve decided their core business is snowboarding. I’m fine with that. Many snowboard brands don’t venture under the ropes, so to speak, so as not to alienate their core base.


Deer Valley, Mad River Glen, and Alta are doing just fine as ski businesses as well—and have core customers of their own they want to stay loyal to. The difference is it would take almost no investment by the resorts to allow snowboarding, but it would go a long way in burying ill will between the sports—in ways that Burton Skis never could.

Snowboarders (or rather, small sects of snowboarders, as I know they don’t represent the entire sport) don’t do themselves any favors when they publicly flaunt the resorts’ rules or call people Nazis or sue them. The irony is the majority of this vitriol is directed at the one resort of the three that has always been the least anti-snowboarding.

It’s been a long-accepted practice for lodge workers at Alta who snowboard to duck the rope on Baldy and ride Alta’s terrain back home from (though probably not anymore now that there’s a lawsuit). MRG and Deer Valley have been clear about wanting to keep their no snowboarding policies intact and yet escape most of the name-calling. Meanwhile, the vibe I get from talking to people who work at Alta—mind you, this is purely speculation on my part—is that they would like to allow snowboarding, but on their own terms, and in a manner that won’t alienate long-time customers who like the place the way it is. Yet with every over-the-top video, with every reference to the KKK or fascism, and now with this lawsuit, the resort is forced to dig its heels in deeper. And the long outdated stereotype that snowboarders are immature assholes is reinforced.

I hope my snowboarding friends are embarrassed by these stunts—the same way I’m embarrassed by the lame excuses skiers use to defend the snowboarding bans at any of these three resorts. You’d be hard-fought to find two sports, two cultures that are more similar than skiing and snowboarding. 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.

Posted In: Opinion, Stories

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  • jay

    fuck all the fascists at Deer Valley, MRG, and Alta. The muppet that wrote this should be ashamed of himself.

    • Hobbes

      nice comment, Jay. way to think it through.

    • Megus

      Typical Snowboarder. :-)

      • Megusta


  • matthughes

    I want Alta to stay the same.

    It’s purely selfish.

    The snowboard ban has always kept the population down, relatively speaking.

    It’s not just a cultural question, it’s a math question.

  • MD

    Alta is a mountain of traverses, not really conducive to snowboarding. I snowboard and ski, and Alta is a place I would definitely prefer to ski vs snowboard. Open it up and I think most snowboarders would agree. I’m fine with it as long as they make their own traverse trails to avoid ruining ski traverses via massive post holing.

  • framing god

    I do both, they both have there advantages and disadvantages. It’s not 1998 anymore. I could see cat or heli guys having these policies but not lift service guys.

  • PerpetualWeekend

    So, does that mean Powder is going to stop being just “The Skier’s Magazine” and start running snowboard photos? How about its sister publication TransWorld Snowboarding?

    • johnstifter

      No, Jim, we’ll leave that to Backcountry, even though reverting to our pre-1986 form when we ran snowboard shots and founded Snowboarder magazine was much more inclusive. Note: This is an Op-Ed, not an official endorsement.

      • PerpetualWeekend

        Maybe I should have included a “;)” at the end of my comment, Stifter. Though from my perspective it looks like print, film, and web snow media seem to be trending towards more segregated products. For instance, Backcounrty magazine’s splitboard content is mostly handed over to Kronicle and TGR’s snowboard segments have been given their own Deeper/Further/Higher trilogy.

        • johnstifter

          I hear ya. We ran that Jeremy Jones mini-profile four years ago, which was cool since his riding is so deserving of coverage. Not sure what the future holds for sliding downhill on one or two planks of wood, though snowboarding definitely markets to their core more than the rather blithe opinion skiers have of their single-stick brethren. We’ll see, eh?

          • Jason Pique

            Good thing Jeremy can’t ride at MRG. I’m sure he’d “ruin the terrain”, “scrape all the snow off”, be “unable to ride the single chair”, “ruin the traverses”, and all the other things people here have pointed out about snowboarders. Hilarious.

  • Christoph

    I write the following opinion as a born snowboarder. Yes, having gone to UVM and lived in Burlington I was pissed that my friends could go to Mad River and then have to listen to them rant and rave about how awesome it was. I used to think that snowboarders like myself, who ride with skiers all the time, could totally handle the bumps. But I was completely wrong. I started skiing just so I could go there, and I am so thankful for it. I’ve never actually want to board there (though I am proud of “Splitboarding It If You Can”), because the terrain is completely different. Honestly, snowboarders would ruin the terrain, and good skiers realize that, and the good skiers at Mad are the people who have been skiing there 50, 60, 70+ years, and they happen to own the co-op that it is. So no, it’s not about hating the fad, it’s about making terrain better for skiers.

    • zenvesting

      Great point, MRG is really a different situation from Alta and Deer Valley because of it doesn’t get much natural snow and doesn’t make much snow either, so they can’t afford to have all their snow plowed off the trails by novice snowboarders and many of their trails are too narrow to groom, so they can’t afford to let the bumps get flat-faced either. Alta and Deer Valley have plenty of snow to share and groom out, but not so much at MRG.

      • Clydicus

        Right. And ultimately, this isn’t a discussion about individual inalienable rights to snowboard. These are privately run businesses that have a right to run their business however they see fit. MRG thinks the policy keeps them in a niche and protects the unique character of the mountain. Would they make more money if they allowed snowboarders, or would they alienate their core audience? Who knows. Who cares. It is what it is.

        Maybe its a different arguement at Alta because it is national park land. But still, the chairlifts belong to the business.

        I know that when snowboarders have shown up at MRG in the past, they have been offered free ski rentals. And if a snowboarder decides to poach MRG by hiking up the Long Trail to the summit, they get more cheers than jeers. MRG skiers respect earning your turns!

        • Mike

          I think it’s a critical part of the argument that Alta is on public land. If Alta owned their dirt, then yeah, they could do whatever they want. But national parks are for everybody. They would NEVER get away with banning someone on the basis of race or gender, so why should they for choice of gear?

          • Doug

            Mike, you are speaking about the constitutionality of the ban. And if you cannot differentiate between race, gender, and choice of a toy, go back to school. Here’s some schooling for you: Race and gender are suspect and quasi suspect classes that require a completely different level of scrutiny than that of a non-suspect class, which would require that there be merely a rational basis for the ban. Get a clue Brah.

          • skr

            What about people like myself that have a congenital deformity that prohibits me from skiing while being able to snowboard? Last time a checked the disabled were a protected class.

    • Jason Pique

      Do they also ban lousy skiers? Because honestly, lousy skiers and snowboarders ruin the terrain, and good skiers realize that, and the good skiers at Mad are the people who have been skiing there 50, 60, 70+ years.

      • Miles

        Maybe not ban, but it is quite difficult to ski half the mountain if you are a lousy skier. Point being, half the mountain is served by the Single Chair, which few beginners are going up. You can go down Antelope from there, which is a more difficult blue, but folks who are learning don’t because they know the terrain is tougher.

        It’s Birdland where beginners are going to be, and improving, and frankly, wouldn’t care if Snowboardes were there.

        I’d also like to point out that some of the best skiing is in the very tight trees. I ski with a lot of friends who snow board at other local mountains, and they cannot ski the super tight woods lines that MRG so fosters. W/the potential of Snowboarders cutting trails as well, it would be interesting to see who trails changed.

        • Jason Pique

          Miles, again this has to do with skill level not the hardware. The fact that your snowboarder friends can’t handle the tight trees means that they are not good enough to handle the tight trees (not because they are boarders). Lots and lots of skiers can’t handle tight trees. Let’s just take an extreme example: do you think a pro snowboarder like Jeremy Jones would have a harder time riding the challenging lines at MRG than the average MRG skier? Of course not, and that has to do with skill. As a snowboarder who rides very, very, very tight trees I can assure you that I am not held back by being on a board and could easily ride the tightest of tree lines at MRG (all of which I have skied).

          • Miles

            I see what you mean, but my point is this: MRG cannot outright discriminate based on ability, in an effort to preserve snow. I grew up at a mountain that had both, where I even snowboarded for roughly five seasons, and I can say honestly that it is the beginning snowboarders who scrape the most snow, especially on trails they aren’t comfortable on. I’ve been there, I’m ashamed of my snow scraping ways.

            Now, this isn’t to say all snowboarders do this, and yes, I’m sure Jeremy Jones could shred anything at MRG, but, you have to be a much better snowboarder to ride something like Octo, or even 44, compared to how great a skier. Sure, we are getting nuanced as these are just fragments of the mountain, but as MRG is a family mountain, that values those learning how to ski, especially at a young age, I’m not sure how well the mountain would do with people learning how to board. It doesn’t seem feasible to create a ban for certain levels, especially when that can be so many different things.

          • Paul

            A low level snowboarder can side slip down very difficult terrain that a low level skier would never dream of trying. The cover is often so thin and many trails so narrow that one person side slipping a trail will trash it until the next storm.

      • muaddib2012

        Lousy skiers could not harm the terrain as much as novice snowboarders if they were trying their best to do so.
        It’s all in the physics …oh and the plows hoped board….

    • EL Jefe

      Great response. I tired of half-skilled boarders scraping the snow off the runs.

      • chucky

        I’m tired of useless, pathetic skiers ruining runs by creating moguls.

  • Robby

    First One Wasatch, now more garbage regarding Alta allowing snowboarders. Come on DT. These opinion pieces almost seems to be a ploy by Ski Utah to help get One Wasatch to work (which requires Alta to allow snowboarders).

    While I do feel strongly about One Wasatch, I am rather apathetic to the Alta v Snowboard conflict. That being said, “Alta is for Skiers” is a marketing campaign and thats it. People ski at Alta because of it, and will continue to for the same reason. Its how they promote their product and if you don’t like it then don’t ski there. There have been plenty of times I wish I could ski Alta with my buddies who snowboard, but I can’t, and frankly haven’t lost any sleep over it.

    If you want to discuss the merits of an inter resort connection that could possibly have economic, and recreational benefits, or repercussions for the state and it’s citizens that is fine. However, questioning private companies marketing strategies and product based simply on the fact that you do not like it is poor form. We all slide down mountains and hills with boards strapped to our feet, just some places require you to do it a little different than others. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. And if you are so concerned with the resorts profitability, send them your resume, maybe they’ll give you a job and you can tell them how to run their already thriving businesses.

    While the social construct of Snowboarder vs Skier is still slightly visible, in my opinion it is quickly fading into oblivion. The fact of the matter is this is a dispute over a recreational activity, not the civil rights crisis. The people brining a lawsuit against Alta are simply waisting Alta’s, their own, and most importantly the Public’s time, money, and resources because they can’t get what they want.

    As I said before, I really couldn’t care either way if Alta allows snowboards, I could ski the High Boy with my buddies I wasn’t able to before, but it also could mean lower traverses, punk rock mayhem, and god forbid… longer lift lines.

    I like where Jim’s head is at, and maybe powder should start focusing on quality ski articles again, rather than taking handouts from Ski Utah to sway public opinion. I want to read of epic first descents, and the deepest days, the trials and tribulations of the derelict ski bum, not a scanty piece about how some people are upset they can’t get their way.


  • Alex

    Open up to all visitors. The distinction between skier and snowboarder is almost gone, most people nowadays do both. The only thing keeping the mountain skier only does is reduce the amount of visitors, as the skiers who decided to be snowboarders on any given day will just be at another resort.

    • Ryan D

      The percentage of people who “do both” is probably less than 1%.

      • Alex

        In what demographic? Maybe in the very young, who haven’t had time to learn, and the very old, who are set in their ways. But in the 25-35 year age range, more than half of people probably do both. And this is the demographic thats most important – the people currently spending lots of money and with many years ahead to continue spending money.

  • AK

    Of the many outlets vying for clicks with today’s mild controversy recipes, ya’ll do it with the most class. Your click bait is actually worth reading. Rare these days.

  • Chris

    Thanks Derek. Great article.
    I ski and snowboard, but prefer snowboarding now because I’m much better at it. I can handle powder, carving, and even bumps better on a snowboard — I would definitely scrape a lot more snow off a steep run/chute on skis than on a snowboard. The ban doesn’t affect me much as I don’t live in Utah, but my kids are great skiers and compete occasionally at Deer Valley. Also when we are Snowbird for comps we’d love to check out Alta, but stay away. It does bother me that we can’t ski/ride together as a family at these places.

  • Fred Rube

    Right, it is not the tool, just the asshole using the tool- highest accident rate is at DV.- imagine a lake that says waterskiing only, no wake boarding, really? It has become an idiotic restriction, that is beyond ludicrous and way behind the time. I’ ve been boarding for 25 years, skiing for 52, and remember when tele markers were not allowed on the mtns., and those folks who dissed the short skis. Those 3 ski areas just need to be forthright and not discriminate, keep it simple, keep it fun.

  • Clydicus

    This article didn’t add anything new to this tired discussion. The author starts by saying that he never liked skier-only resorts, and ends on the same note. Nothing of substance in between.

    I’ve been skiing Mad River Glen since I was a kid, and the only place I’ve ever encountered all of the skier-vs-snowboarder vitrol is on the internet. Usually, in reference to Alta. I’ve never seen fights in the parking lot at MRG. I’ve never heard anyone call anybody else a Nazi. And here in the Northeast, we have a fraction of the terrain to share that you guys have in Utah.

    So what’s the big problem, Utah snowboarders? I understand that you don’t like Alta’s policy, but it’s just one resort in a state that is loaded with bazillions of acres of the best skiing and snowboarding terrain in the world. Why is this so difficult to shrug off? Maybe the people who go to Alta are a bunch of dicks and you wouldn’t want to hang out with them anyway. Time to MOVE ON, stop whining, and go snowboard at any one of the dozens of world class resorts in Utah that welcome snowboarding.

    • Mike

      What about the snowboarders that live closer to Alta than any of the “bazillions” of other resorts/acres you mention? They can’t enjoy riding at the “local” mountain because a bunch of skiers that run it are dicks? It’s hard to shrug off because nobody likes to be discriminated against, no matter the activity or reasons. Anybody hoping for that bullshit to continue probably thinks minorities are whiners, too.

      • Megus

        Mike, Really? You have to pass Snowbird to get to Alta. It’s almost the same distance to get to Brighton and Solitude. That is 3 world class resorts that allow snowboards.

    • Kate the bartender

      Thank you Cydicus ! I did the ski bum thing in Vt in the 90s when Stratton had ONE trail that was skiers only . You would have thought they were handing out hundred dollar bills at the bottom , the boarders were so angry and wound up ! So much terrain , so little time . Three resorts out of how many ? Come on , redirect your energy and get out there and ride ! Life is short !

    • mdispensa

      Great points, Clydicus. MRG, is right next to a large area with lots of terrain (Sugarbush & Mt Ellen) and not far from some of the best northeast skiing and boarding.

    • yeah right

      how would all the snowbird skiiers like it if they turned the bird into a snowboard only hill?
      Thats the problem, no one likes to be descriminated, especially families , and on public lands

  • Forrest Gladding

    As Vice President of Wasatch Equality suing Alta to ride on public land is not a stunt and I wish you would reconsider this view. Access to public land and the debate over how it should be run is a fair argument. We have been asking Alta for years to change their policy and suing them to reconsider is fair game. 2000 acres of public land being used as skier only is more than a legitimate reason to sue.

    • Mike


  • Forrest Gladding

    Also the Forest Service permit for Alta states, “the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes.”

    • Ryan D

      At best that means they can’t stop you from hiking up. In no way are they required to grant you access to their private property — the lifts. This lawsuit is going nowhere and you know it.

      • Forrest Gladding

        Alta has strict no uphill policy. Go ahead and see for yourself. They have closed off access of 2000 acres of publuc land to snowboarding. So nice that my public land is leased to a few individuals to have such an exclusionary policy.

  • Tony H

    Every other resort does just fine hosting both. The segregation is ignorance. The terrian is indefenitly different from one resort to another, but the objective of the occupants is the same. “To have fun”. To dictate which method you use to enjoy the terrian is also ignorant. Skiers, in regards to looses your moguls, you have nothing to worry about. Snowboarders don’t like them. We avoid them at all costs.
    Good luck to the people trying to stop change and more power to the people welcoming change.

  • Tiffany Perkins

    So, basically you’re saying that the snowboarding ban is silly, but snowboarders are just as silly for speaking up and taking action? Last I checked, we live a nation of laws and we can use the legal system if we feel we’ve been wronged. And hell yes, people get to speak up if they don’t like something. It’s not rude or mean or uppity to call out Alta for maintaining a lame policy (and Alta and it’s patrons have done their fair share of mud-slinging, too.)

    And will you guys at Powder ever stop bitching that Burton doesn’t cater to skiers?

    • DT

      It’s rude to compare ski resort policy to the genocide of six million people, Tiffany. Absolutely. And I don’t see any bitching about Burton in this. I simply stated that I think they would do well in the ski market, if they decided to enter it. The mud-slinging by Alta patrons is embarrassing.

  • click bait

    There is so much misinformation about the Wasatch Equality lawsuit and its use of the 14th amendment that it may be of value to take a look at what’s actually being argued in that suit.

    Basically, Alta’s business is based on leased use of public land. That land (and its use) is governed by both Alta’s lease AND applicable legal code and jurisdiction. As already identified by another poster, the lease guarantees open access to the land for lawful purposes. Snowboarding is just as lawful as skiing.

    The equal protection clause is located at the end of section one of the fourteenth amendment, and while it has previously been applied in ways that established legal opinion and precedent that are (some of) the justifications behind creating or defining certain “protected classes”, it has also established opinions and precedents that no identifiable person or group of persons should have diminished legal protection due to animus (a “strong feeling of dislike” or “feeling of animosity”). Application of this animus definition may not necessarily require or infer establishment of protected status or recognition of a group subject to animus as being distinguished by factors as involuntary as gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability status, etc.

    Alta’s policies, while those of a privately-held business, govern use of public land and (as previously stated) are subject to the legal code and jurisdiction that governs such land. Alta’s policies barring snowboarders, if successfully demonstrated to be based on animus, may not be enforceable because of their use of public land. This should not require snowboarders to be defined as anything other than people engaged in recreation on public land who happen to prefer a specific type of ski-like device. If Alta argues that safety concerns were dictating their policies, and not animus, then they need to provide justification for those concerns. From what I’ve seen, the statistics from the resorts that allow both skiers and snowboarders won’t bear out that argument.

  • Sean Quill

    “And the long outdated stereotype that snowboarders are immature assholes is reinforced.”

    I can’t wait to see what kind of sticker Rome SDS gives away over this.

  • Trevor Elliott

    Why the hell dont they just make an only snowboard resort and everyone will be happy………

    • chucky

      Alta likes up to Snowbird, and as they’re on the same land, perhaps they should just make Snowbird snowboarder only? Think skiers would be fine with that?

  • Lazybullet

    When the system has you pinned against your will, you sue. No reason to be embarrassed. Its not a stunt or anything else other than using the established pathways to make whole someone or a group of people who has had their rights violated. Its call the law and its how things get changed. Alta is public land. Someone should have sued Alta 20 years ago.

  • athousandmonkeys

    Well, what a bunch of pathetic, asinine, hypocritical fence-sitting that article turned out to be. And the regularly perpetuated stereotype that skiers are sanctimonious assholes is reinforced.

  • ewee

    At MRG, Our woods and bumps are still eally good…thy are welcome to come drink beer in our br as long as they’re not jerks

  • Marcel Furtado Almeida

    Another nonsense BS about allowing snowboards in Alta, let they do whatever they wanna do with their business! In 13 paragraphs you haven’t mentioned I single good reason other than emotional BS! It’s a business and they manage the way they wan’t, I don’t understand why people like to make it about being against snowboarding or a stereotype! It’s a business decision, they think their business is fine without snowboards and their core customers like it that why, what would be the reason for them to change? NONE! If I’m with snowboarders friends I just go to snowboard or park city/canyons!

  • bikemakr

    I have nothing against boarders, my son is one, but why don’t you quit whining and start some ‘snowboard only’ mountains?

    • athousandmonkeys

      OK, we’ll take Snowbird.

  • Tony C… NH

    No… keep MRG… they don’t have lift capacity for snowboarders. Simple as that !

  • Shredthegnarpow

    Oh Utah! You and your first world problems.

  • yeah right

    Two questions,
    Where would skiing be right now if snowboarding didn’t come around?
    What would skiis look like without snowboarding?

    • Shredthegnarpow

      Chicken VS The Egg argument. Old one at that. circa 1990

      • yeah right

        you know the truth, freestyle skiing would not be what it is!
        Skiis would definitely not look like they do!
        Skiing in the halfpipe in the olympics would never be happening!
        we need to be thankful to each other.
        Good snowboarders traverse just fine given a good laid traverse, but struggle when some a hole puts in a high traverse that requires poles. I have seen it for 30 years at brighton going out the mary chutes

        • Shredthegnarpow

          Skiing would still be skiing. The comment was about skiing in general. Which we all know is hundreds of years old. Link me to the site that shows snowboardings history in Scandanavia? Fact is, skiing came first, snowboarding was an offspring. There is no arguing that point. Snowboarding certainly progressed skiing into another realm, which I am thankful. As for the strife in Utah, I could care less, there is plenty of terrain for everyone to shred.

          • athousandmonkeys

            Perhaps, “skiing would STILL be skiing” – but definitely NOT skiing as we know it today, and with a dramatic decrease in patronage. Had snowboarding never eventuated, we’d still see virtually the same stagnant ski industry that was around before the snowboarding resuscitated it.

            Oh, and incidentally, you say you “could care less” – how much less?

          • Shredthegnarpow

            You should have stopped at “perhaps”. If you re-read my comment, you can clearly see that I stated “snowboarding certainly progressed skiing into another realm”. You should try reading the whole comment next time before letting your emotions get the best of you. Oh, and incidentally, if Utah was a dollar, my two cents would be a stretch.

          • athousandmonkeys

            Actually, I did “clearly see” your “snowboarding certainly progressed skiing into another realm” comment. It’s what prompted me to reply. It caught my attention due to the the way it basically contradicted that other ignorant and/or irrelevant drivel you’ve spouted.

            Perhaps if you hadn’t framed that particular comment like some kind of bitchy backhanded compliment, I would have left it alone. If you actually had a clue, you’d know snowboarding wasn’t “an offspring” of skiing, it was an addition.

            Oh, and incidentally, the reason I asked “how much” you “could care”, is because it’s such a retarded statement. If you really wanted to show how little you cared, you would say you “couldN’T care less”. Duh.

          • Shredthegnarpow

            Ooooohhhh. Exciting. My first Internet troll. How fun. What do you eat under your bridge?

          • athousandmonkeys

            Seriously, you’re soooooooooo pathetic you had no choice but to cowardly play the “troll” card? You may as well have just waved a white flag. Loser.

          • Shredthegnarpow

            OK Troll, lets get down to the nitty gritty here. #1. Where would skiing be without snowboarding? Exactly like a said, it would still be skiing. There is nothing to argue with that statement. The fact is, if snowboarding was never thought of, skiing would still be skiing. I see no way how you can argue that. #2. If your sister had a baby (offspring) would you consider that an addition to your family? Semantics. Nice try. #3 The drivel that was spouted in comment one, can you comment further on its irrelevance? If it was, than why are you so concerned to comment back? Hence, the Troll card. Your welcome, enjoy school tomorrow, don’t forget your sack lunch.

          • chucky

            Calling someone a “troll” simply because they offer an opinion contrary to your own is the epitome of stupidity.

    • Guest

      Like skis.

      • Shredthegnarpow


    • mdispensa

      Nobody is saying on this list that snowboarders shouldn’t have come around. More people on the snow is a good thing and good for the businesses that run ski resorts.

    • athousandmonkeys

      Two answers.

      1. Either dead or dying.

      2. Skis would be the silly long, straight sticks they used to be – but at least there would’t be so many pathetic, try-hard skiers desperately trying to look and act like snowboarders.

  • Jason Pique

    There is a very good reason why snowboarding shouldn’t be allowed at MRG: they would go out of business. MRG has virtually nothing to set itself apart and/or above other ski areas in VT, except for the snowboard ban and the ‘mystique’ that comes with it. The mountain has decent terrain, but nothing particularly better than Sugarbush, Stowe, Smuggs or Jay. They have very limited snowmaking so are limited in the operations. The single chair is a cute touch but it results in absurd lift lines on good days. They need a gimmick to stay afloat and the ban is a low-cost way to achieve a gimmick with some recognition. If they were just another player in the VT scene without a gimmick they wouldn’t last 3 years.

    The same is pretty much true at the others.

  • PJ

    As a lifelong Mad River skier with many friends and family who board, I utterly disagree. I love skiing with my boarding friends, but there are hundreds of ski areas where I can do that, and where the terrain is suitable for both. But I also love skiing Mad River and Alta, where I never have to worry about boarders who cross-cut my (narrow, gladed) mogul runs, ruin my lines, and push all the snow off the trails. Mad River’s terrain, as others have pointed out, can’t sustain boarding traffic and still maintain the quality of slope and experience it has today. It’s not that I dislike boarders, it’s that they can have an undeniable impact on the slopes and the experience at a place like MRG, and to pretend otherwise is naive.

    If an epic snowboard-only mountain opens and I really want to try it, I’ll learn to board rather than whining about the one place I can’t go in an op-ed.

    • Jason Pique

      Wow, you must ski with some really crappy snowboarders if they cross-cut your (narrow, gladed) mogul runs, ruin your lines, and push all the snow off the trails. The boarders I ski/ride with don’t do any of those things. I think you are referring to “intermediates” not “snowboarders”. Because an intermediate on any equipment can be bad for conditions.

  • benw


    i learned to ski at mad river.
    my brother is a shareholder.

    i’ve been riding for 14 years
    and i still ski at mrg whenever
    i get the chance.

    not once have i felt that mrg
    should allow snowboarders.

    also, burton won’t make skis. they
    make a splitboard and that’s as far
    as they’ll ever go.

    jake burton has said “our heritage is
    snowboarding, it’s what we’re about,
    it’s all the brand is about. i mean,
    burton is not about anything else.”

    full stop.

  • VinnyCas

    Nicely put, DT! Well done :)

  • T.

    why make a big deal about 3 resorts not allowing snowboarder. That only means that there are 100′s of other resorts for boarder and their friends. For me it is nice having the choice to go somewhere that doesn’t have boarder mentality {you know what I mean}. It’s not always about money. The customers obvious like it the way it is.So boarder enjoy the 100′s of resorts and leave this tiny tiny sliver of resorts to the customer that like it this way.

  • Four7Bowl

    Why do ski areas have to allow snowboarding? I have never heard a valid reason other than just because snowboarders want to ride there. Alta et al are private companies offering a specific service to visitors. Visitors who prefer to ski somewhere where there are no snowboarders. This has nothing to do with constitutional rights. If the land lease requires them to allow snowboarding, then the argument is over. If it doesn’t require them to allow snowboarding, move on with your life. I can’t play disc golf on a traditional golf course and I’m not suing anyone alleging a violation of the constitution. Get over it or learn how to ski. Please.

  • Four7Bowl

    Well said Christoph. You are the only snowboarder I have heard that that actually gets it. I typically ski Colorado, so I haven’t seen a great bump run with a zipper down the fall line since the mid 90′s. I really don’t care if there a snowboarders around, but the runs take on a different shape when snowboards make turns on them. That’s all there is to it for me. I miss good bump runs!

  • 2wheeldeal

    Ugh, this again – dead horse meet flog.

    “No Snowboarding” policies in the 80′s and 90′s died for one reason- MONEY. As the Alta crowd gets older (like skier demographics everywhere) and can’t come out anymore, that extra 10-15% of revenue from snowboarders becomes impossible to turn away. Alta will capitulate to the free market and the almighty dollar, not because they want to but because economics will force them to. This is AMERICA folks, CASH WILL PREVAIL.

  • Midstation Singlechair

    Of course I have a bunch of cents to contribute to this. First off, I’ve skied Stowe, Sugarbush, Smuggs and Jay. None of them have a trail that comes close to Paradise at MRG. It is also apparent that these places were bulldozed and blasted to build their main thoroughfares and their expert terrain. Meanwhile, Mad River Glen’s trails were all hand-cut and the steeps are still maintained by hand-mowers using scythes for 2 weeks in August. This, along with the preservation of the Single Chair, has earned us the distinction of being the only ski area in the National Register of Historic Places. That places us under the same prestigious umbrella as a National Park. Our niche isn’t just about the Single Chair but rather the entire approach to the mountain: narrow hand-cut trails that follow the contours of the mountain.

    You say we have a ridiculous lift line, eh? Well how ridiculous would it become if snowboarders were added?? The answer is we don’t even have room for snowboarders either on the narrow trails mentioned above or in the limited parking areas. We have a carrying capacity. If you wait 45 minutes for that chair, you will then be gifted with the lowest downhill skier density of ANY ski area ANYWHERE. You get the magical experience of enjoying the entire mountain to yourself and if you know where to ski, you can string together a 30+ minute run–entirely possible with a 30-minute wait because the only time that happens is when the skiing is so excellent that all the woods runs are in prime form. I spend my time at other resorts and I greatly prefer having the crowd all at the bottom rather than careening all around me thanks to high speed quads or trams….but perhaps there are those who prefer the mad jockeying for position that comes with such elevated uphill capacity (??)

    Finally, and most importantly, over 1,700 people voted on the snowboard issue many years ago and 81% of them decided to keep Mad River Glen the skier’s mountain. Whether their reasons were the bumps, the mechanics of the Single Chair, the vibe…an overwhelming majority of shareholding co-owners voted on this policy. That is democracy in action. Someone else pointed out that we will cheer any snowboarder who hikes for their turns, even while we’re open, and this is absolutely true. We are not likely to overturn the snowboard ban anytime soon and probably not ever and find the whole debate surrounding this issue to be perpetually amusing. Wanna slide down MRG? Learn how to ski!! No one cares that you can’t take your snowboard on our chairlifts but we’ll welcome those who POACH IT IF THEY CAN!

    • athousandmonkeys

      What a load of ignorant, delusional garbage. If what you said had any credibility at all, MRG would allow splitboards in ski mode on its lifts.

  • Rian Rhoe

    Thanks for the most sensible article that I’ve read on the topic. At the end of the day, the dividing lines no longer exist that once did. After 20 years on a snowboard, I suck on skis. Nobody would want me anywhere near a decent run at any resort if my only option was skis. On a snowboard, however, I can make it down anything with a fair amount of finesse. When our kids get a little older, I’d like to be able to visit any resort our family chooses. My husband is a skier, and while I may prefer the park and he’d rather skin up to earn his turns, we do have a better time when we can stay together.

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