Army Veteran Wants To Take Service Dog On Chairlift

By Matt Kroschel

WINTER PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– 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.

winter park dog intro transfer frame 212 Army Veteran Wants To Take Service Dog On Chairlift

(credit: CBS)

CarrieAnn Grayson, a former U.S. Army Captain who spent eight years in the military including participating in the 2003 Iraq invasion, has filed an official complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division against Winter Park Resort. The complaint alleges the resort discriminated against her by not allowing her service dog to ride up the resort’s chairlifts.

Grayson told CBS4 the resort offered an alternative method of transportation, to drive her and her service dog Guinness, up the mountain but the resorts wants a five-day notice. She says that is not acceptable.

dog chair lift Army Veteran Wants To Take Service Dog On Chairlift

(credit: CarrieAnn Grayson)

Grayson says Granby Ski Area already allows her and her service dog to ride the lift. She modeled her request off of other reports across the country that do allow the practice.

She says her dog wears a safety harness at other locations and simply wants Winter Park to allow the dog there as well.

winter park dog intro transfer frame 332 Army Veteran Wants To Take Service Dog On Chairlift

(credit: CBS)

Winter Park officials tell CBS4 they are following common ski resort protocol.

“For a number of safety reasons that involve the animal, the handler and other guests, we cannot allow people to bring their service animals on the lifts,” Steve Hurlbert, spokesperson for Winter Park Resort, said.

“We suggested alternatives. We offered free transportation from the base to Sunspot for her and her dog. We wanted a heads-up with some advance notice; unfortunately that was unacceptable to her,” he added in a statement to CBS4.

winter park dog intro transfer frame 512 Army Veteran Wants To Take Service Dog On Chairlift

(credit: CBS)

Under the law, employers and businesses that provide public accommodations are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to disabled employees or customers.

Grayson’s case could potentially make waves ski industry-wide as officials from the Rocky Mountain ADA, part of the national network of ADA centers, told Sky-Hi News, the local newspaper that first reported the situation, that they have never fielded any questions regarding service dogs riding chairlifts at ski resorts, before this.

Officials from Rocky Mountain ADA told the newspaper they were reaching out to in-house legal experts to get their take on the responsibilities of ski resorts when it comes to accommodating service animals and their owners.

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Susan Wensel says:

    Alternative driving arrangements are a reasonable accommodation – IF the resort can specify the safety concern posed by the service dog. However, requiring five days notice is more than a little unreasonable, particularly if a guest has no prior notice that the resort will not accommodate the service animal on the lift.

  2. Hi, I work with the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, we obtained further information on this topic and called the original reporter – who never called us back. If anyone wants to learn what new details we have, please call us.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Denver

Weather App
Future Leaders
Together 4 Colorado

Watch & Listen LIVE