Victory at Aspen for Free The Snow

One down, four to go as Ajax snowboard ban is lifted.

The snowboard ban at Ajax was officially consigned to the trash can ofhistory last Thursday, when Aspen Ski Company and owners the Crown family,announced the ban would be lifted from April 1st 2001.The announcement represents the first significant victory for Free The Snowin our campaign to see an end to division on US ski slopes. At last, AspenSki Company has opened its mind and accepted the idea of providing an openmountain for all snow enthusiasts with the skills, passion and respect forothers.

As Jake Burton said when he heard about the ban being lifted ìHey, I’d belying if I didnít say it was overdue, but you have to respect a company thatdoesnít let pride get in the way of a sound decision.î

Officially, Aspen Ski Company maintains their decision to lift the ban waspurely based on business, and that Free The Snow did little more than raiseawareness. But at a meeting of the Aspen Mensí Club over the weekend, COOJohn Norton reportedly acknowledged Free The Snow for being instrumental inASCís change of policy and congratulated us on the way we had run thecampaign.

“While we canít claim to have directly forced the issue, where we didsucceed was by using limited resources to transform the debate onsnowboarding at Ajax from one based largely on the emotional arguments, intoa factual discussion which made it obvious there were no real justificationsfor the ban.” says FTS coordinator Matt Kreitman. “In doing so we werehelped by local Aspen and Colorado based media who simply by beingobjective, doing their jobs and asking questions about the issues we raised,confirmed the lack of justification for a ban. A lot of local volunteersalso put in time and work and their efforts are now rewarded.”

From now on Free The Snowís efforts in Aspen will be devoted to working withthe Aspen Ski Company to ensure their change of policy and the lifting ofthe ban is completely successful. Free The Snow offers its complete supportin making this so. Aspen has announced a major event to launch snowboardingat Aspen and we plan to be there in line on April 1st and urge all boardersthat can make it to be there too.

The conclusion by Aspen Ski Company that their ban represented a flawedbusiness policy, makes it all the harder for Taos Ski Valley to continue tomaintain their ban is based in business rational. For this reason thecampaign in Taos will increasingly reach out to the local business communitywhich is increasingly expressing its hostility to the ban. The campaign willnow also be extended at Alta and expanded to include Mad River Glen and DeerValley.