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Snowboarders argue their rights in Utah

Associated Press Associated Press 16/06/2016 Lindsay Whitehurst

A group of snowboarders isn't giving up its legal fight against a ban on the sport at a Utah ski resort.

The group called Wasatch Equality has asked a US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling that upheld the rule at Alta Ski Area, according to court records.

Most of the resort's slopes are leased public land, and the snowboarders argue banning snowboarders from federally owned property is discrimination.

Alta argues that they're a private company, and made a valid business decision to be a skiers-only mountain. The US Forest Service has backed the resort.

A three-judge panel sided with Alta in April, ruling the federal government didn't encourage or enforce the ban by granting the resort a lease.

Snowboarders are asking all 12 judges on the appeals court to reconsider.

In the petition for re-hearing filed on June 3, they argue that their arguments have been painted as simply a "constitutional right to snowboard".

The snowboarders say dismissing the case could create a chilling effect for other people challenging discrimination on federal land.

Alta lawyer Rick Thaler disagreed. He said it was a narrow ruling that won't have a slippery slope effect and there's no need to hear it again.

No deadline was set for the appeals court to decide.

Alta is one of the last resorts in the country to prohibit the sport, standing out from the other 119 ski areas that operate on public land and allow snowboarding.

Snowboarding bans were once the norm at ski resorts, but they fell away as the new sport revitalised the industry starting in the 1980s.

Two other resorts still ban snowboarding: Deer Valley, also in in Utah, and Mad River Glen in Vermont.

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