A higher elevation

Posted on 03 Dec 2009 at 11:42am
By ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

Our annual roundup of gay ski weeks prospering from Canada to Vermont


GIRLS ON TOP | Whistler hosts the Olympics before its WinterPride Gay Ski Week this year.

Dallas got its first taste of snow this week, but for ski resort communities around the country (and internationally), the powder has been piling up for weeks. Indeed, from early January until April, hardly a week will go by between when you can’t find a colder clime targeting gay skiers, snowboarders or just altitude junkies.

It’s winter, and that means ski season — especially Gay Ski Week season. From the granddaddy, Aspen — more than 30 years swooshing and swishing — to the less-than-a-decade-old Elevation in Mammoth, Calif., and Telluride, it’s a tradition we have come to love.

Utah Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Park City, Utah. Jan. 6–10. The season kicks off in uber-conservative Utah, but check it: This is the Sundance Film Festival’s back yard, so its liberals everywhere for a few weeks. GaySkiing.org.

Aspen Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Aspen, Colo. Jan. 17–24. The 33rd annual gay ski week — so established, you can just check it’s Web site URL — is a true week of events. Called Into the Woods this year, activities include a pool party, performances by DJ Irene and the Demented Divas … and Dallas’ own Paul J. Williams as Sister Helen Holy mastering the ceremonies at Drag Downhill Comedy. GaySkiWeek.com.

Winter Rendezvous XXV, Stowe, Vt. Jan. 20–24. Head to the East Coast for a different kind of powder with Winter Rendezvous, now at 26 years. Varla Jean Merman headlines along with other comedians and a few DJs to keep the music going. WinterRendezvous.com.

Vail Gay Ski Week, Vail, Colo. Jan. 27–31. To encourage gay skiers, the Colorado resort is offering a second vacation package (to Las Vegas) when you book two nights’ accommodations on their Web site. VailGaySkiWeek.com

Winter Explosion, Kerhonkson, N.Y. Feb. 12–15. The 16th annual party for the African-American community will be its last, but it’s going out in style with Ledisi headlining. WinterExplosion.com.

Telluride Gay Ski Week, Telluride, Colo. Feb. 20–27. Named the U.S.A.’s top gay ski week by Gay.com, the lovely Mountain Village overlooks the quaint Colorado town, but it’s all hot, with the Perry Twins closing out the week and new parties with names like Hump Night on Wednesday and the Blue Ball Dance. Telluride-GaySkiWeek.com.

WinterPride, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. March 1–8. Hmmm, Whistler… now why does that name sound familiar. Oh, yeah, the Winter Olympics are being held here in February.

That other event bumped Canada’s largest gay ski event by a month, but that just means for the 18th installment, you can ski slopes where world records were set only days before. And maybe some winter Olympians will hang around to celebrate like Michael Phelps did — and we know he knows how to party. GayWhistler.com.

Lake Tahoe WinterFest Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Lake Tahoe, Nev. March 7–14. WinterFest XV follows last year’s OutLaugh Comedy Festival with comedian Danny Leary appearing with DJ Joe Bermudez. LakeTahoeWinterfest.com.

Mammoth Gay Ski Week, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. March 17–21. Elevation 2010, California’s biggest gay ski festival, includes the Cherry Pop @ 10,000 Feet party with DJ Josh Peace and theCliffhanger blow-out with DJ Manny Lehman. MammothGaySki.com.

OutBoard: Gay and Lesbian Snowboard Week, Breckenridge, Colo. March 30–April 4. The season ends, as always, with the snowboarders of OutBoard. And once again, the event has migrated to a new Colorado locale (Breckenridge, following Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs the last two years) and a new "official" name. Dude! Dude. OutBoard.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 4, 2009.

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