For all things ski-related, the go-to authority is Ski Bums, billed as the world’s largest club for LGBT skiers and snowboarders. They offer equipment purchase discounts, skill improvement programs and skier networking. Ski Bums also knows all the buzz on the larger, international ski weeks, an members are offered smaller ski events like a women’s trip to Vail & Beaver Creek (Jan. 19-23); the group’s first trip to Park City, Utah, to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival (Jan. 25-30); and a 50-participant trip to Stowe, Vt. (Feb. 3-6).
Chris French, president of Ski Bums, calls Aspen, Colo., Gay Ski Week the first and largest LGBT winter event in the world. Now in its 34th year, Aspen offers four mountains, 5,300 miles of terrain and endless shopping, food and hotel options. Roaring Fork Gay & Lesbian Community Fund raises money during the week to promote tolerance, understanding and diversity. The theme this year is the “Wild, Wild West,” with events scheduled from Jan. 16-23.
The second of the top two ski weeks — north of the border in Whistler, B.C., — attracts the more party-oriented skiers. The 19th annual Winter Pride is held in the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
GayWhistler.com is the producer of LGBT events year round, but the Winter Pride ski week is the best known. During the week organizers host a CowBoy & CowGirl Party, comedian Michele Balan and a Winter Pool Party. This year’s event is set for Jan. 30 to Feb. 6.
Telluride, Colo., is called the Top Gay Ski Week in the United States by Gay.com. T-11 events include the Academy Awards watching party, White Night Party, Wet-Pool Party and top rated skiing and snowborading. The week, Feb. 24 to March 5, helps fund the Telluride AIDS Benefit.
“Elevation 2011,” the 9th annual Mammoth, Calif., Gay Ski Week, is considered the third largest in North America. From March 16-20, they intend to bring more than 2,000 men and women up to the High Sierras for a variety of fun, including seven major parties. Take a night ride up the gondola and dance at The Party@10,000 Feet.
New this year is an LGBT ski week in Crested Butte, Colo. Crested Butte Mountain Resort and StraightOut Media & Marketing have teamed to host the first annual Matthew Shepard Foundation Gay Ski Week, March 19-26. Events include the annual Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill Race, the Purple Party, Shoot the Butte Bar Crawl and Soul Train Dance Party.
East coast options
Closer to home, you can drive to the upcoming Summit Ski Weekend in Blowing Rock, N.C., set for Jan. 20-23. The third annual North Carolina Gay Ski Weekend is presented by NC Mountain Boys and JustTwirl.com, with activities at Crestwood Resort and Spa.
In addition to skiing at Sugar and Beech mountains, events include a pool/dance party, wine tastings, shopping trips and Summit Live, with comic Julie Goldman from Logo’s “Big Gay Sketch Show.” The Snowball 2011 dance party features DJ/Producer Seth Cooper.
Further to our north, “Winter Rendezvous” is the theme of this year’s Gay Ski Week in Stowe, Vt., set for Jan. 19-23.
Pricing for all ski weeks vary depending on your participation. Expect to pay between $150-$750 plus food, drinks and accommodations.
Top photo: Aspen Gay Ski Week is now in its 34th year, offering plenty of fun for LGBT visitors both on and off the slopes. (Courtesy Gayskiweek.com)