In an effort to preserve the mountain’s unique character the shareholders of the Mad River Glen Cooperative have opted to not permit snowboarding at Mad River Glen. We are well aware that this policy is quite uncommon and we strive to make sure that people are aware of the policy prior to visiting.
Mad River Glen was one of the first areas in the country to allow snowboarding. Many people don’t realize that Mad River actually did allow snowboards very early on in snowboarding history beginning in 1986. Betsy Pratt, Mad River Glen’s owner at the time, was friendly to snowboarders but ran into safety issues on Mad River Glen’s main lift, the Single Chair. While most ski lifts have a raised platform for disembarking, the Single has an offloading area that is flat which made it difficult for snowboarders to get out of their seat and ride away from. Naturally, this made people push off from the chair but that caused it to derail from the sheave wheels, this became a common issue that obviously had safety implications.
After that snowboards were restricted from the Single Chair. While most of our legendary expert terrain is accessed off of the Single this caused some animosity amongst the community and lead to an infamous confrontation between Betsy and some local riders, she decided to ban snowboards entirely beginning with the 1991-92 season. When the Co-op took over the mountain in 1995, the shareholders voted on the issue with more than 75% voting to maintain the snowboarding ban. There has never been another vote since.
We want to make clear that there is no animosity towards snowboarders per se. The ski industry is very competitive and our Co-op owners believe that the snowboarding policy is the best course for the mountain. According to the Co-op’s By-Laws the only way the policy can change is if a two-thirds majority of the shareholders vote to change it.