Queer the slopes

Winter resorts welcome gay skiers all season long, but many plan specific gay ski weeks that appeal to every taste

SNOW BEAR?  |  Elevation, the gay ski week in Mammoth, Calif., celebrates its 10th annual event — which, if anything like last year’s (above), will be cold and hot.

SNOW BEAR? | Elevation, the gay ski week in Mammoth, Calif., celebrates its 10th annual event — which, if anything like last year’s (above), will be cold and hot.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES
Life+Style Editor

jones@dallasvoice.com

There are some notable anniversaries among the gay ski weeks this season — Aspen turns 35, and Mammoth celebrates a decade — but queer skiers have plenty of choices, starting right after New Year’s and extending into April. The Shoot the Butte extravaganza from last year won’t be back (too bad! Read about Crested Butte in Dallas Voice soon), but from Canada to Colorado, Utah to Vermont and over to California, skiing to snowboarding, choose your favorite.

• Utah Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Park City, Utah. Jan. 4–8. The season kicks off, as always, in the home of the Sundance Film Festival. Gayskiing.org.

• Aspen Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Aspen, Colo. Jan. 15–22. The forerunner of gay ski weeks brands itself “Through the Years” this year, with the retro look of ’70s porn in its marketing materials (the ski week began in the 1970s; this is its 35th annual event). It truly is a weeklong event, starting with an opening party, continuing with the Downhill Costume Contest and wrapping up with a pool party, with parties like Demented Divas, Boutique Night and Late Night at Hunter Bar thrown in. GaySkiWeek.com.

• Winter Rendezvous XXVIII, Stowe, Vt. Jan. 18–23. Competing directly with Aspen — albeit on the opposite side of the country — is Winter Rendezvous in Stowe, Vt. The 28th outing includes performances by DJ Harrison, the team of Amy and Freddy and drag diva Varla Jean Merman. Winterrendezvous.com.

• WinterPride, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Feb. 5–12. Whistler’s big annual ski week bounced back to a week later than last year for its 20th party where Queernadians are joined by their neighbors to the south (that’s us). Comedian Jason Stuart hosts a comedy night, DJ Ted Eiel will be there for the Furrocious party, for bear lovers and Manny Lehman spins the closing night Snowball Dance. GayWhistler.com.

• Telluride Gay Ski Week, Telluride, Colo. Feb. 25–March 3. Named the U.S.A.’s top gay ski week by Gay.com, the Mountain Village event is back with T-12. Events include the Wig Run, the Telluride AIDS Benefit fashion show (and several preview parties). American Airlines, the official airline for Telluride Gay Ski Week, offers directs from DFW to Montrose, plus a discount code (9121BB) when booking at AA.com/rainbow. TellurideGaySkiWeek.com.

• Elevation Mammoth X: Gay Ski Week, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. March 14–18. For the milestone 10th party, Elevation welcomes a string of DJs, including Brynn Taylor, Beau Dasher, Drew G, Josh Peace and DJ Pornstar at some of the nine scheduled parties. The big closing party Avalanche features headliner Roland Belmares. MammothGaySki.com.

• OutBoard Gay and Lesbian Snowboard Week, Steamboat Springs, Colo. March 27–April 1. OutBoard is unique among gay skiing events: It changes out its location every year or so. Not a bad idea — it caters to snowboarders, who are always looking for new challenges. Events planned for the 17th annual winter wonderland include an opening night cocktail party and western-style hoedown. Yee-haw! OutBoard.org.

• Vail Gay Ski Week, Vail, Colo. Dates not yet announced. Vail is excitedly touting its next ski week in 2012, but as of press time, the dates hadn’t been released (last year it was March 30–April 3, though the previous year, it was in late January). Keep an eye on VailGaySkiWeek.com for updates (and we’ll follow up on the website as soon as we learn anything concrete).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

The gay ski week fraternity adds its newest member: Shoot the Butte

amedia-photosARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Aspen has been holding a Gay Ski Week so long, the Village People weren’t considered a nostalgia act yet — they were still on the pop charts. But everyone has to start somewhere. Which is how the newest entry in the gay ski week fraternity got going.

Shoot the Butte, which runs March 19 through March 26 in Crested Butte, Colo., isn’t starting small, either. The inaugural week-long event, designed for queer skiers and snowboarders, serves both as one big party and as a fundraiser for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. In fact, among the scheduled events is a staged reading of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, the acclaimed play about the murder of Shepard in neighboring Wyoming more than 11 years ago.

Among the other activities are daily “hookups” (meet-ups with other skiers), an apres-ski tubing party, “Martini Monday,” the Splash Pool Party (yes, you can swim in the mountains if you know where to go for the heated lanes) and a closing-night party with O.A.R. and DJ Logic. And if you book for at least four nights in the host resort, you get a complimentary “GayCard” that admits you into all the authorized events. There’s nothing like turning a little downhill fun into a worthwhile benefit.

For more information, visit MatthewShepardGaySkiWeek.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

SLIDESHOW: Aspen Gay Ski Week

DV freelance photographer Chuck Dube of MarceloMedia just sent over some great shots from Aspen Gay Ski Week, which marked its 34th year from Jan. 16-23. Dube notes that this year’s festivities were MC’d by Dallas’ own Paul J. Williams.

“The energy and enthusiasm from the participants in this year’s Costume Contest far exceeded recent years and that energy greatly contributed to this being one of the best we’ve had in my 10 years of hosting!” Williams said. “On top of that, I was able to bring back three of my favorite performers for our Comedy Night who performed to a nearly sold-out house.”

Check out Dube’s photos by going here.

—  John Wright

Leslie Jordan cancels Aspen Gay Ski Week gig

Leslie Jordan has had to back out of his appearance at Aspen Gay Ski Week, says producer Paul J. Williams, due to a conflict with another obligation. Instead, Williams has made this a “best of” year, with returning favorites: Michele Balan, Chuck Sweeney and Jim David will take over for the Jan. 20 concert.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Queering up the slopes

A new gay ski event joins winter wonderlands already catering to gay sportsmen (and chill partiers)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

SHOOT THE BUTTE | Crested Butte, Colo., is home to two gay winter events next year: OutBoard and the inaugural Matthew Shepard Gay Ski Week.

The landscape of gay ski weeks is changing faster than the view from a waxed Telemark swooshing down a double black diamond.

The African-American-centric Winter Explosion enjoyed its last slalom earlier this year, but there’s a new gay ski week founded in conjunction with the Matthew Shepard Foundation — and it’s closer by! And some of the big ones changed their dates in a big way.

Of course, there are many more reachable resorts that don’t have gay ski weeks per se (read about some next week in the Voice), but here are the ones that plan entire weeks around getting queer skiers (and just people who like to cuddle up in the lodge with a furry fellow) to hit their slopes.

Utah Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Park City, Utah. Jan. 5–9. The season kicks off, as always, in the home of the Sundance Film Festival. Gayskiing.org.

Aspen Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Aspen, Colo. Jan. 16–23. The 34th annual granddaddy of gay ski weeks brands itself the Wild Wild West this year, and all we have to say is, yee-haw! Dallas-based comedian Paul J. Williams returns to host the Drag Downhill comedy night and performs with Emmy winner Leslie Jordan. GaySkiWeek.com.

Winter Rendezvous XXV, Stowe, Vt. Jan. 19–23. For those who prefer the powder of the Northeast,  Winter Rendezvous returns to the home of U.S.-based gay marriage — Vermont — for its 27th outing. Comedienne Shawn Pelofsky, who recently stopped by the Rose Room, headlines. Winterrendezvous.com.

WinterPride, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Jan. 30–Feb. 6. Earlier this year, WinterPride got bumped later in the season because of the Winter Olympics (a fair trade — one town can only handle so much gay at one time), but it’s back to early in the season for the 19th annual party where Queernadians are joined by their Anglo-Gringo supports across the border for this skier and snowboarder party. DJs like hot bear Ted Eiel keep the fun going. GayWhistler.com.

Telluride Gay Ski Week, Telluride, Colo. Feb. 26–March 6. Named the U.S.A.’s top gay ski week by Gay.com, the Mountain Village event is back with T-11. Returning to the party are The A-List’s Reichen Lehmkuhl, who will hosting the pool party Wet, and dragcomedy legends the Kinsey Sicks. (Big  news for the Dallas-based traveler: A new nonstop direct flight on American from DFW to Montrose/Telluride Airport.) TellurideGaySkiWeek.com.

Lake Tahoe WinterFest Gay & Lesbian Ski Week, Lake Tahoe, Nev. March 6–12. Organizers insist WinterFest XVI is on the calendar for the first weekend in March, though no details have been released yet. LakeTahoeWinterfest.com.

Mammoth Gay Ski Week, Mammoth Lakes, Calif. March 16–20. Not that boarders aren’t welcome everywhere, but for the biggest gay ski event in California, you just know they are gonna turn out in droves. The 9th annual event kicks off with DJ Josh Peace (who also hosts The Party @ 10,000 Feet) and yummy DJ Escape spinning at the Avalanche party. MammothGaySki.com.

Shoot the Butte (Matthew Shepard Gay Ski Week), Crested Butte, Colo. March 19–26. The newcomer to this year’s ski family is both an ambitious party and a benefit for the murdered teen’s foundation. Reichen pulls double duty (here and in Telluride) with an appearance, and there will be daily skier “hook ups” (meet-and-mixers), a pub crawl and several late dance parties. Be the first to check out this one.  MatthewShepardGaySkiWeek.com.

OutBoard Gay and Lesbian Snowboard Week, Crested Butte, Colo. March 29–April 3. If you like Shoot the Butte, why not just hang around a few days — OutBoard begins just three days later. (In the last three years, it has moved from Crested Butte to Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge and back again to CB this year). You don’t need to snowboard, either — there are ice-skating and wall climbing adventures to be had as well. OutBoard.org.

Vail Gay Ski Week, Vail, Colo. March 30–April 3. Vail, which this year had its event in late January, bumped it two months into the late winter, capping off the gay ski season. This version brings back the Vail Splash Club hot tub and pool party as well as the beer bust and daily après ski socials. VailGaySkiWeek.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Another reason to go to Aspen: Leslie Jordan

Last week, I mentioned that time was running out to get some early-bird deals for Aspen Gay Ski Week, the Who’s-your-granddaddy of gay ski events. Scheduled entertainment included Dallas’ own Paul J. Williams, who will host the “comedy night.” Now word comes in that the headliner for the event will be Leslie Jordan.

The Emmy-winning star of Will & Grace and Sordid Lives is a fixture in Dallas where his home-spun queer humor plays well. No word yet on whether Jordan will perform his Trip Down the Pink Carpet one-man show, his standup or just improvise with Williams. (I know from experience: Jordan needs no help to be funny extemporaneously for long stretches.)

The show takes place at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen on Jan. 20. Tickets are $50. Buy ‘em at 970-920-5770.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones