A U.S. Army veteran from Colorado wants a ski area to grant her and her service dog access to ski lifts so they can join friends for dinner at the restaurant on top of the mountain, but that currently is forbidden, writes the SkyHiNews.com.
Veteran CarrieAnn Grayson, a former U.S. Army captain who spent eight years in the military including participating in the Iraq Invasion in 2003, filed a formal complaint this fall alleging that the resort would not allow her to take her service dog, Guinness, up the chairlifts at the resort and that the accommodation offered to her was not a reasonable accommodation.
“I initially contacted Winter Park in June,” Grayson said, “asking if I could take my service dog on the chairlift. They said they don’t allow dogs. I volunteered to come to Winter Park to talk about different options, to talk about how it can work, to talk about different accommodations.”
After a lengthy back-and-forth with other offers, Winter Park Resort eventually offered to take Grayson and Guinness up the mountain in a vehicle but required Grayson to provide advanced notice. According to Grayson, the resort requested at least five days notice. For Grayson, the advance notice requirement, her separation from the general public while traveling up the mountain and her inability to ride the chairlift with Guinness were all unreasonable accommodations.
While the law does not specifically outline what qualifies as a “reasonable accommodation” for all circumstances, the law states reasonable accommodations must be made unless doing so would pose an undue hardship by creating significant difficulty or expense.
Officials from the resort confirmed this week that they were aware of Grayson’s request, that they do not allow service dogs to ride up chairlifts out of a sense of caution, and went on to say Winter Park Resort’s policy is consistent with other ski resorts in the country, especially at those located on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Steamboat Springs Resort, all the ski resorts around Aspen and all of Vail’s resort properties employ similar policies for service dogs riding chairlifts.
Winter Park Resort put the entire incident in the context of safety.