Winter Park was correct in keeping veteran’s service dog off chairlift, state Civil Rights Commission rules
A dog on an open chair lift poses a safety threat to the animal, skiers and staff, the ruling says
The Denver Post
In a case closely watched by the ski resort industry, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has dismissed a woman’s complaint against Winter Park ski area, which did not allow her service dog to ride a chairlift to the top of the mountain.
CarrieAnn Grayson, a Grand County volunteer ski patroller and former U.S. Army captain who served in Iraq, filed a formal disability complaint against the resort last fall, arguing the resort should allow her service dog, Guinness, to ride a chairlift with her. It was the first complaint of its kind in the history of the ski resort industry.
Aubrey Elenis, the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division, ruled against Grayson, arguing there was no evidence of adverse treatment or discrimination when the ski area last year denied her service dog access to chairlifts for safety reasons.
“The evidence suggests that there is a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason service animals are not permitted on chairlifts: namely, allowing unrestrained animals to ride open chairlifts, which can be suspended over 30 feet from the ground, poses a threat to the service dog, skiers, staff, and rescuers who might have to rescue an animal from a chairlift,” reads Elenis’ 10-page ruling. The ruling also notes that Grayson rode chairlifts at least 43 times at Winter Park the previous winter without her dog.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”