Thomas Traviglini claims Deer Valley Resort is saying he’s not handicapped “enough”. They kicked the Connecticut guest and his friends off the mountain April 2, 2013, for riding a snowboard which he says is more like a modified monoboard for handicapped athletes. But DV President Bob Wheaton says he checked with the National Ability Centers in Winter Park, Colo., and in Utah and, nope, that’s definitely a snowboard in their book.
The bones in Traviglini’s right foot are deformed and that leg is shorter than the other. He says the only way he can ski is with a “Teleboard”, where one foot goes in front of the other on one ski so that the back foot carries little weight. The board is a modified snowboard but with telebindings mounted one in front of the other (instead of side by side) so that its ‘person’ faces downhill and uses ski poles.
Judging from these photos, it looks and skis more like a monoski than a snowboard. Monoskis are allowed at Deer Valley.
Traviglini has taken it to the court of public opinion. He stopped by Salt Lake City’s ABC 4 News yesterday for a chat. “I don’t think they should be allowed to deny a handicapped person access to the mountain,” he said. He also described a very standoffish attitude from Mountain Ops Director Chuck English who helped escort Traviglini off the hill “like a criminal”. The irony is that both English and Wheaton snowboard as well as ski.
Later, Wheaton spoke personally with Traviglini to assuage his ire and find clarity. According to a family member, DV approved Traviglini’s Teleboard last season (over the phone) and allowed him access. This year, they called Alta and skied there all day on April Fool’s. Wheaton says he’ll review the matter before making a final decision as to whether a Teleboard is a snowboard but their lift tickets have been refunded.
Let’s face it, Folks. Deer Valley owns their land and they can do anything they want with it; including banning snowboarders. Their guests love that rule so it won’t change anytime soon. If a disabled person wants to ski Deer Valley they can, they just need to use a different device? Anyway, get over it. You don’t really want to be caught in the daily mêlée down Northside or Birdseye on a board, do you? Go ride at Canyons or Park City Mountain Resort. You’ll be glad you did.