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Poaching (snowboarding)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Bumper sticker promoting the poaching of Alta Ski Resort

Poaching, first referred to the act of snowboarding at a resort where snowboards were explicitly prohibited, is sometimes understood as a form of civil disobedience.

However, usage of this term as a means of protest is falling out of favor, as most resorts now allow snowboarding. In the United States only three resorts, Deer Valley, Alta Ski Area (both in Utah) and Mad River Glen in Vermont, continue to ban snowboarding. In contemporary usage, the term sometimes refers to skiing and snowboarding in out-of-bounds areas.

Background of poaching[edit]

Even though snowboarding was accepted by the mainstream winter sports industry in the 1990s, and is now recognized as a Winter Olympic sport (debuting in 1998), ski areas adopted the sport at a much slower pace than the winter sports public. For many years, animosity existed between skiers and snowboarders, which led to an ongoing skier-vs-snowboarder feud.[1] Early snowboards were banned from the slopes by park officials. In 1985, only seven percent of U.S. ski areas allowed snowboarding,[2] with a similar proportion in Europe. Because of this, snowboarders sought ways to protest such treatment from resorts owners and to a lesser degree, other skiers. Indeed, the snowboarding way of life came about to rebel against skiing. As a result, snowboarders chose to "shock" skiers by snowboarding at ski-only resorts as a protest.

Resorts still banning snowboarding[edit]

Mad River Glen Ski Resort[edit]

Mad River Glen is situated on private property and is privately owned.[3] The policy of the resort states, "To preserve the area's unique character the shareholders of the Mad River Glen Cooperative choose not to allow snowboards."[4]

Deer Valley Ski Resort[edit]

Deer Valley is also situated on private property and is privately owned. The policy of Deer Valley states, "Deer Valley is a ski only resort. Guests on alpine, telemark or mono ski equipment with feet placed side by side and facing forward are allowed. Snowboards and carving boards are restricted from use."[5] It is possible that the reason for this is due to guests not wanting snowboarders on the resort, and the resort eventually made this a rule.[6]

Alta Ski Resort[edit]

Alta is unique among the three resorts because it resides on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service — land which is currently leased by the resort.[7] Alta states in its rules, "Alta Ski Area is for skiers and restricts equipment other than skis (which means skis that have metal edges, retaining devices and are attached to ski boots by bindings) for anyone who wants to ride the lifts and ski the mountain or play around the base areas." [8]

The most recent case against the rule was filed by Wasatch Equality and was taken to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 19, 2016, which affirmed the previous decision by the lower court that Alta Ski Resort is able to ban snowboarders.

In the official court document it states, "Under the terms of the permit, the Forest Service reviews and approves Alta’s winter site operation plan each year. This site plan includes a hill management section detailing Alta’s management decisions regarding its ski runs. In relevant part, the hill management section grants Alta the right to exclude any skiing device from its ski runs." [9] This hill management section allows Alta and any other ski resort owned by the U.S. Forest Service, to determine how its own ski runs are operated.

Along with Alta, there are over 100 other ski resorts that are also on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service.[10]

Sabotage stupidity[edit]

Sabotage Stupidity[11] is a contest in 2007 created by Burton Snowboards to encourage the average snowboarder to go out and poach the four remaining resorts (the three resorts stated above, plus Taos Ski Valley) that did not allow snowboarders. The founder of the company, Jake Burton Carpenter, had a strong view on poaching: "In the face of this blatant and aggressive disregard for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, poaching isn’t simply a peaceful form of protest, it is truly your patriotic duty." Taos made the announcement that they were lifting the ban soon after the competition was announced.

10 Commandments[edit]

Burton Snowboards has established The Ten Commandments for Poaching. These commandments made it clear that this form of protest is non-violent and requested that except for the act of snowboarding itself, all other regulations are to be followed. Some of the Commandments include: "Don't break the law."; "Always buy a lift ticket."; "Keep it safe, stay inbounds, and always wear safety equipment". Respect the authorities (e.g. ski patrols); and - "Always respect Ski Patrol; even if they tackle you.". The Commandments have parallels in the theories of civil disobedience.[11]


  1. Skiers vs Snowboarders: The Dying Feud,
  2. Phillips, John (2001). Ski and Snowboard America - Mid-Atlantic: The Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Tubing, and More Throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-7627-0845-X. Search this book on
  3. |The History of Mad River Glen |Accessed December 10, 2016
  4. |Mad River Glen Policies |Accessed December 10, 2016
  5. |Deer Valley Frequently Asked Questions |Retrieved December 10, 2016
  6. |Taking the Kids -- to Deer Valley, where guests say 'no snowboarders!' |by Ogintz, Eileen |Published October 24, 2014 |Accessed December 10, 2016
  7. |Will Alta Ever be Forced to Share With Snowboarders |by Starich, Olivia |Published December 15, 2015 |Accessed December 10, 2016
  8. |Alta Ski Resort Policies |Accessed December 10, 2016
  9. United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit |Case Number 14-4152 |April 19,2016 | |Accessed December 10, 2016
  10. |U.S. Government Recreation Web Site |Accessed December 10, 2016
  11. 11.0 11.1

External links[edit]

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