Which Ski Resorts Ban Snowboarders and Why? Can It Be Justified?

Which Ski Resorts Ban Snowboarders

Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports that are loved by many across the world. 

And while skiing has been around for centuries, snowboarding is a new sport discovered in the late 60s. 

The popularity of snowboarding in the 80s and 90s made many ski areas eventually embrace the new sport and allow snowboarders to have fun on their slopes. 

However, not all resorts adopted snowboarding onto their slopes. There are still several ski resorts out there that ban snowboarders. 

So, what are the ski resorts that have not conceded snowboarders, and why do they ban them? And can this be justified? 

While nearly every ski resort in the US has conceded snowboarding, Alter, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen still ban snowboarders. 

The three resorts ban snowboarding because they believe that snowboarders disturb the peace and tranquility the skiing community seeks when coming to the slopes. 

Many purist skiers will tell you that snowboarders (whether beginners or experienced) scrap all the ice on their way down the slope. But this is debatable. 

In this article, we’ll have an in-depth look at these ski resorts and provide you with an explanation of why they ban snowboarders. 

Ski-Only Resorts in the US

Ski-Only Resorts in the US

As snowboarding gains popularity and becomes less detested by skiers, ski-only resorts are becoming outdated. 

Here are a few ski-only resorts and how they justify banning snowboarding onto their slopes:

Alta Ski Resort, Utah

This is one of the best ski resorts in North America, providing an excellent environment for skiing with stunning views. 

Alta has stood their ground on banning snowboarders for many years despite the sport’s popularity in the past few decades. 

This resort believes the skiing field is competitive, and skiers who come to the Alta ski area always enjoy sliding on the peaceful and quiet slopes. 

With snowboarders, it would be impossible for Alta skiers to enjoy a calm and peaceful environment when skiing. 

Since Alta is a great resort, the owners have had to deal with all sorts of scandals their ban brings about. 

They have been in court several times to defend their decision to ban snowboarding onto their slopes. 

For example, in 2014, Wasatch Equality represented the Alta snowboard team and filed a case against Alta for excluding snowboarding near Salt Lake City. 

They claimed that Alta operates on Forest Service Land and, therefore, everyone should be allowed to have fun on the slopes. 

However, Alta managed to defend their business decision, and the case was dismissed the same year. 

What is even more fascinating is that Alta attorneys have always been successful in defending and justifying Alta’s ban whenever an outrage arises. 

Even their most recent case saw the court allowing the resort to continue allowing skiers only to their slopes since they have business rights. 

The U.S Forest Service attorneys said that Ata’s decision to ensure a snowboarder-free environment to encourage more skiers onto the slope does not violate constitutional rights. 

Fortunately, there is a viable solution for snowboarders looking to have fun in Utah. The Snowbird resort is next to Alta resort, offering almost the same terrain for snowboarders to have fun in the snow. 

Apart from Snowbird resort, there are countless resorts in Utah that allow snowboarding. These include Powder Mountain, Brian Head, Solitude, and more. 

If you are planning to spend your winter holiday in Utah, you can be sure to enjoy phenomenal snowboarding and skiing in any of such resorts with your family or friends

Otherwise, the Alta ski area is your perfect destination if all you want is to enjoy skiing peacefully on the tranquil slopes of Utah.

Deer Valley Ski Resort, Utah

Are you looking for a lavish resort in Utah to spend your next winter holiday? Deer Valley is your ideal option as the resort offers excellent services for skiers looking to feel private and posh. 

The stylish resort delivers the best amenities you can find in ski areas at a reasonable price, but only for skiers. No snowboarders allowed. 

If you ask most Deer Valley skiers, they will probably tell you that the reason behind banning snowboarding in this resort is exclusiveness. 

Deer Valley guests looking for a calm skiing environment pay quite a considerable cost to avoid the distractions and noise that result from snowboarding. 

And if you ask me, it’s understandable to a certain extent as the skiers don’t have to put up with snowboarders who scrape the ice as they ride down the mountain.

But this isn’t the end of the world for snowboarding fanatics. If you want to have fun on the snowy slopes of Utah, Park City resort is also a great option. 

So, don’t be disappointed when you find out that flush skiers have Deer Valley all to themselves. There are other posh resorts to enjoy in Utah!

Mad River Glen Resort, Vermont 

Mad River Glen Resort, Vermont 

While Mad River Glen isn’t a big ski area compared to the previous resorts on the list, they only allow skiers on their terrain. 

Vermont skiers can have a great experience in this resort regardless of their ski ability or experience.

Mad River Glen’s snowboarding policy states that the resort banned snowboarding between 1991 and 1992 after a number of conflicts between local snowboarders and owners. 

The snowboarding ban has remained in Mad River Glen since the confrontations, even though the owner claims that the ban is nothing personal. So, they see the ban as a way to boost the skiing experience in their terrain. 

But that doesn’t mean snowboarders cannot have fun on the slopes of Vermont. There are other nearby resorts that do not exclude snowboarders, such as Sugarbush and Killington resorts. 

What About Vail Resorts?

The above three are the only three resorts that haven’t embraced snowboarding on their slopes, but if you are a fan of Vail resorts, you might have been worried in 2019 when they announced their snowboarding ban. 

Luckily, this turned out to be a joke of 1st April (Fools Day), so there is nothing much to worry about. 

Many people can agree that this ban would have been a huge disappointment to snowboarders because most of them love the resorts’ services in North America. 

Why Some Resorts Don’t Allow Snowboarders

Why Some Resorts Don’t Allow Snowboarders

The few ski resorts that ban snowboarding tend to have the same explanation behind their choice. The reasoning is usually an attempt to preserve the slopes for skiing enthusiasts. 

Snowboarders and other skiers argue that the prohibitions usually result from old-fashioned biases against snowboarding. 

Even so, the owners and operators of the resorts believe that snowboarders can pose a risk to the ski slopes and disrupt the calm environment that many skiers look for. Thus, they will continue to prohibit snowboarding. 

And while some skiers believe that snowboarders ruin the snowy terrain with things like more complex carving, this can happen when skiing as well. So, it’s quite hard to tell whether such issues are genuine or not. 

In my view, it all comes down to the hotels’ choices and preferences since their private business rights allow them to exclude or let them onto their slopes. It’s simply their business decision. 

Why Some Skiers Hate Snowboarders

Why Some Skiers Hate Snowboarders

If you are not new to the snowboarding or skiing world, you must have realized that some skiers just don’t like snowboarders. So, why does this happen? 

Well, one of the most common reasons behind the division and detest among snowboarders and skiers is the age difference. 

While snowboarding was recently discovered in the late 1960s, skiing has been around for several centuries. 

So, skiing fanatics are seen to preserve a special place in their hearts for the sport, and they typically see snowboarding as a winter sport for young persons. 

This happens particularly in posh resorts where wealthy people who love skiing and are so devoted to it want to ride in tranquil environments. 

Thankfully, many people don’t take the division seriously, as there are also mature people who pursue snowboarding, and they love it. Only a few people tend to use a more unfriendly approach. 

In fact, the divide between skiers and snowboarders keeps reducing as time passes, and the participants of the two sports are embracing and respecting their differences. 

Another significant factor contributing to the detest between skiers and snowboarders is that the two winter sports are quite different from the equipment used in riding styles. 

Such differences can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and a lack of empathy between skiers and snowboarders. 

Do Skiers and Snowboarders Have Different Effects on the Snow? 

Do Skiers and Snowboarders Have Different Effects on the Snow 

Yes, there is some difference in the effect skiers and snowboarders have on the snow condition when riding. 

Many skiers argue that boarders ride on a larger area than skiers, scrapping more ice and causing more significant damage. 

On the flip side, skiers only scrap snow with one ski at a time, and they leave less damage on the piste. 

But this is not always the case since there are some skilled snowboarders who ride leaving slight marks, and there are other skiers who leave huge tracks when carving. 

So, both skiers can be victims of ruining the snow condition when they don’t ride properly while thinking about others who might come behind them. 

This means that both snowboarders and skiers should be responsible and accountable when riding on the same slopes to avoid damaging the piste for no good reason. 



Q: Why Do Ski Resorts Ban Snowboarding?

A: There are several reasons why some ski resorts ban snowboarding, but it has nothing to do with discrimination. 

The main reason why some resorts ban snowboarders on their slopes is that they want to create a snowboarder-free experience for skiing enthusiasts looking for such an environment. 

Many people argue that snowboarders tend to congregate in groups or sit to rest in the middle of the mountain, which can be disruptive for other skiers using the same terrain. 

This can actually result in a hazardous situation, but not all snowboarders sit in the middle of the run. Some snowboarders are responsible and empathetic. 

Another reason is that snowboarders often scrape a lot of snow as they ride down the mountain. 
But it is important to note that not all skiers find snowboarders to be annoying or intimidating in any way. They can have fun on the same slopes, and the good thing is that most resorts allow skiers and snowboarders. 

After all, there is no significant difference between good skiers and good snowboarders, and a bad skier can cause harm just like a bad boarder on the slopes. 

Q: What Ski Resorts Do Not Allow Snowboarders?

A: While most ski resorts allow boarders onto their slopes, there are three resorts that exclude them, including Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen resorts. 

Vail resorts had also banned snowboarding on 1st April 2019, but they later announced that it was only an April Fool’s Day joke. 

Q: Why Does Alter Not Allow Snowboarders?

A: The Alta ski area does not allow snowboarders because they want to preserve their slopes for skiers who enjoy riding in calm and quiet environments. 

Snowboarding can sometimes be too noisy, and some skiers might find it quite intimidating, especially if they are new to the sport. 

Some lifelong skiers who usually go to Alta slopes nearly every winter claim that boarders are excluded from the resort because of their riding style, which usually ruins the snow. 
And when the snow is not so good for skis, it wrecks business since not many skiers will return. 

Furthermore, some boarders usually sit to rest in the middle of the run or even at the top. 

This pauses a risky situation for both boarders and skiers seeking entrance. Many skiers also perceive it as rudeness.  

Q: Why Are Snowboarders Not Allowed At Deer Valley?

A: Snowboarders are not allowed at Deer Valley because of safety concerns, and many skiers who use the resort actually support the ban. 

Deer Valley is an exclusive resort with excellent groomers and incredible food. The guests of this resort are skiers who pay a lot of money to keep the blissful slopes all to themselves. 

If you want to snowboard near this area, there are still some great options, such as Park City, to try!

Final Word

Final Word

Since its discovery in the late 60s, snowboarding has become a popular winter sport, and many resorts have embraced it.  

Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen are the only remaining resorts that do not welcome boarders onto their slopes. 

They believe purist skiers deserve to enjoy a great experience riding on snowboarder-free slopes. 

While many people see this belief as old-fashioned, snowboarders can still have fun on various slopes since many resorts out there allow snowboarding. 

So, if you want to pursue snowboarding or skiing, nothing should stop you. You have countless destination options to choose from.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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