As gay ski weeks become less common, the big ones gain in importance
ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Executive Editor
2015 has been a year of change for the gay skiing community. OutBoard — which earlier this year marked its 20th event, specializing in snow-capped fun for gay snowboarders — has held its last party, as the organization shut down in May; Utah Gay Ski Week, which became part of the Elevation party, also seems to be no more. Lake Tahoe Winterfest made it to 19 years until organizers pulled the plug. And the Dallas-founded Telluride Gay Ski Week’s 11th incarnation appears to have been its last.
But that just means you need to plan more carefully to find the outdoorsy winter parties that appeal to you. (Of course, there are always non-gay-ski opportunities to hit the slopes, including Wolf Creek, pictured, Crested Butte, Vail and many more resort destinations.)
Here’s our 10th annual — and possibly final — rundown on the major North American gay ski weeks for 2016.
Aspen Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Aspen, Colo. Jan. 17–24. Arriving a week later than last, the one that started it all — now in its 39th year — Aspen Gay Ski Week launches the season for snowmosexuals. (It has been around so long, it claims the generic URL GaySkiWeek.com without even having to say where it is.) With its mountain du jour (Aspen, Smowmass, Highlands) and special events specifically for lesbian skiers, the week-long celebration includes hot tub parties, dinners, a hospitality suite, movie screenings and more. GaySkiWeek.com.
Winter Rendezvous XXXII, Stowe, Vt. Jan. 20–24. The East Coast’s first (and biggest) gay ski party is this five-day free-for-all, targeted at skiers and non-skiers alike, with events such as comedian Sandra Bernhard, daily après ski parties, sleigh rides at the Von Trapp Family Lodge (they of The Sound of Music) and even a giant pool extravaganza and ice carving contest. WinterRendezvous.com.
Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Jan. 23–31. Previously named WinterPride, this 24th outing is probably the Great White North’s premiere ski week, welcoming 3,000 guest from 26 nations partaking of 65 events across eight days. From entertainers like Margaret Cho and DJs Abel and Seth Cooper to the closing night Snowball, passes can be tailored for both men and women traveling to Canada’s wintry resort. GayWhistler.com.
Elevation: Mammoth, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. March. The 14th annual Mammoth Lake snow party is still on the books, though as of press time, the precise dates and events haven’t been announced (it usually takes place in mid-March, however). As before, they expect 2,500 skiers and snowboarders, so check their website for details. MammothGaySki.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 4, 2015.