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