Board ban protest launched
Opponents of the snowboarding ban on Aspen Mountain have taken their cause to cyberspace.
A group called Free the Snow established its Web site yesterday to provide a forum for riders to protest the bans at Taos and Alta, as well as Ajax.
“It’s a direct slap in your face and an insult to snowboarders everywhere …” says the opening line at the site. “But now you can take a stand and do something about it.”
The site – at http://www.freethesnow.com – is still under construction and has some rough edges to fix. However, Free the Snow founder Matt Kreitman of Santa Fe said recently that he was rushing construction of the site to take advantage of a flurry of publicity for the campaign.
The site features sections such as “The Campaign,” “Know the Issues,” “Take a Stand,” “Sponsors” and “Frontline News,” which now consists of one article each from The Aspen Times and Aspen Daily News.
When clicking on “Take a Stand,” a sample letter is offered that supporters are urged to use as a model for their own. A list of public officials to whom the letters can be sent will be provided, but it isn’t available yet.
Kreitman wants supporters to write letters primarily to U.S. Forest Service officials, who control the ski areas’ operating permits. The strategy is to pressure the feds to force the ski areas to lift the bans.
People checking out the site are urged to fill out their name and address and pledge to actively support the effort. In return, they can pick a “Free Ajax,” “Free Alta” or “Free Taos” bumper sticker.
Kreitman expects heavy demand from Aspen. By Friday, before the Web site was well established, he had received requests for about two-dozen “Free Ajax” stickers after publicity of the campaign in the Aspen papers.
The sponsors section of the site displays the logos of Heelside Snowboard Co. and Nike’s All Conditions Gear, with its signature swoosh. It doesn’t explain what role the sponsors play, but will apparently let browsers offer feedback on their participation.
Nike’s role has turned off some Aspen observers.
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International visitors have traditionally accounted for 10 to 20 percent of Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits in recent past seasons. Travel fears and restrictions tied to the coronavirus are expected to wipe out most of that market for 2020-21.