Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows have recently confirmed that they will continue to restrict access to people riding snowskates in the upcoming 2012/2013 season. With Sugar Bowl’s acceptance of snowskates this past season, this leaves Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows as the final ski resorts that restrict access to snowskaters in the Lake Tahoe area.
Considering that all the other ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area allow snowskates, that they have no recorded snowskate related incidents or safety concerns, that Squaw Valley now owns Alpine Meadows, and that they have yet to produce any evidence as to why they restrict snowskates, it appears that it is a company policy based on nothing more than ignorance.
Unfortunately for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, their ignorant and hollow policy could lead them into severe legal trouble.
Many people with disabilities turn to snowskating as the only snow sport they can physically do. Take the case of Danny Sheehan who shattered his ankle skateboarding and can no longer bear the pressure that bindings and snowboard boots put on his ankle. However, he is able to snowskate which doesn’t require stiff boots or bindings, just a leash. Another example is Christopher Jensen who actually injured his knee while snowboarding. Now, snowboard bindings tweak his knee out of socket doing the most basic maneuvers. He has turned to snowskating, where he can still carve and jump without the torque of snowboard bindings. Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows refuse service to these individuals based on their disabilities, which is illegal under Title III of the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA- 42 U.S. Code Chapter 126).
I’m not trying to imply that Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are intentionally discriminating against the disabled with their anti-snowskate policy. However, Disparate Impact (or unintentional discrimination against a protected class based on a policy or practice) is equally illegal under Title III of the ADA. I’ll say it again,
Squaw and Alpine need to “get wise” before they do any more damage to their image or get in serious legal trouble!
Project Snowskate is written by Kendra Wilson, creator of ProjectSnowskate.com. With Project Snowskate, she seeks to bring snowskating to the forefront of the snow sports industry by calling attention to snowskate companies, athletes, events, technology, etc.