Gay ski weeks offer queer snowbunnies a chance to be out in the cold
I can barely stand on flat ground without tripping over my own feet. Sports that demand balance especially ice skating and skiing have never been high priorities.
But I love gay ski vacations. I was even married while on a ski trip.
They aren’t all about the slopes. They are also about scenery and the scene.
All across North America and in Europe as well resorts, travel companies, gay groups and tourism bureaus have built entire weeks around getting queer winter warriors together for comradeship, parties and O.K. some trips down the mountain on two planks strapped to your feet.
The crazies, also known as snowboarders, only strap on one plank.
Not all gay ski weeks succeed: Three from last season won’t be back for 2007. But winter wonderlands are some of the, um, “hottest” gay travel events going.
At least 10 resorts and towns have targeted gay and lesbian skiers and snowboarders for week- or weekend-long snow parties. Here’s a rundown of the major events this season.
Utah Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Park City, Utah. Jan. 3-7.The first major event of the season takes place, happily enough, during the Sundance Film Festival in Robert Redford’s back yard, Park City, Utah.
Aspen Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Aspen, Colo. Jan. 14-21. The granddaddy of gay ski weeks, Aspen’s week-long ski party has been around since 1977, and the plan is to blow it out for the 30th anniversary. Parties planned for the week are named after the seven deadly sins, if that gives you any idea about how wild it may get: Pride, Greed, Wrath, Lust and Gluttony. GaySkiWeek.com.
Winter Pride, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Feb. 4-11. The largest gay ski event in Canada formerly known as Altitude features nightly parties, including men’s singles mixers, a ladies night, a superhero-themed blowout and a cowboy (and cowgirl) hoedown. A mountaintop T-dance tops off a Friday evening on the slopes. GayWhistler.com.
Vail Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Vail, Colo. Feb. 6-11. Several different mountains (Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek) are singled out each day of the week, with many other events in the evenings.
QUAC Ski & Swim Weekend, Salt Lake City, Feb. 16-18. You’d have to be a quack to go to QUAC’s the Queer Utah Athletic Club swim and ski event, held in the frigid mountains near the Great Salt Lake. But then, skiers are famously odd, so why not? Quacquac.org.
Telluride Gay Ski Week, Telluride, Colo. Feb. 24-March 4. Falling during the Academy Awards, one of the highlights of the annual Telluride Gay Ski Week is the yearly Oscar party. This year also features a Calvin Klein underwear party with sexy models walking the runway in their unmentionables. Is it a fundraiser? Do you really care? TellurideGaySki-Week.com.
Winter Explosion, Kerhonkson, N.Y. Feb.16-19. Now 12 years old, this Upstate New York event (it takes place at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa) is targeted to queer African-Americans. Entertainment this year is pretty impressive: a live performance by Grammy winner Chaka Khan. WinterExplosion.com.
Lake Tahoe WinterFest Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Lake Tahoe, Nev. March 4-11. For a while, two different groups sponsored what can only be called competing gay ski events in the Lake Tahoe area. The apparent winner is WinterFest, which gets the resort region to itself this year. Gay brothers Jacob and Joshua also known as Nemesis and famous for their reality TV show are scheduled to perform. As will comedian Dana Goldberg. LakeTahoe-Winterfest.com.
Happy Gay Ski Week, Portes du Soleil in Avoriaz, March 17-24. This event on the border of the French and Swiss Alps is in its third year and features the allure of European slopes filled with gay skiers. HappyGayHolidays.com.
OutBoard, Steamboat Springs, Colo. March 28-April 1. This event, targeted to gay snowboarders rather than Alpine skiers, returns to Steamboat Springs after two years at Keystone. OutBoard.org.?
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 15, 2006