Every year across North America, and indeed the world, thousands of LGBT snow bunnies (or should we call them ‘mo bunnies?) strap on their ski gear and hit the mountains for a raucous week of winter shenanigans that almost always include some sort of downhill drag competition, late-night circuit events, indoor pool parties and daily après skis. Despite the winter weather, male participants at these events are often shirtless. Believe it or not, people do manage a little sport here and there, and even if you’re downhill skiing and snowboarding aren’t up to par there’s always the bunny hill. Here are four “must-attend” queer ski weeks and how to do themright.
Aspen Gay Ski Week: Aspen, CO (Jan 15-22)
Perhaps the most famous ski week in the queer calendar, Aspen Gay Ski Week (AGSW) celebrates 40 legendary years in 2017 by bringing together more than 5,000 outdoor enthusiasts to one of the most well-known and ritzy mountain towns on the planet. Surprisingly, AGSW is a nonprofit venture that benefits AspenOUT and LGBT organizations including the Point Foundation, the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, the Western Colorado AIDS Project and others.
DON’T MISS The Downhill Costume Competition is an annual highlight. Last year’s event was judged by Margaret Cho and RuPaul’s Drag Race faves Shangela, Ginger Minj, Ivy Winters and Katya. The centerpiece AGSW bash is the Mountain Party which happens 11,000 feet above the world at the Sundeck at Aspen Mountain.
Be sure and hit up Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro for a wild time. In case you’ve never been, it’s the legendary “cabin” atop Aspen Highlands mountain where skiers swing by around 2pm for an après-ski bite with a little bubbly. By 3pm everyone is on their chair spraying the cabin with champagne while grooving to dance music. There’s literally nothing else quite like it. This all happens around 2 pm, and around 3, they “hit the crazy switch” and blare dance music. Diners get on the chairs (still in their ski boots, of course) and rock to the music, often spraying Champagne everywhere. There’s nothing else quite like it.
Winter Rendezvous: Stowe, VT (Jan 18-22)
If you’ve never been to the teensy winter resort town of Stowe, just know that it’s as adorable as the rest of the Green Mountain State, but with less fuss and pretension than its Rocky Mountain counterparts. Winter Rendezvous attracts up to 500 skiers annually to the largest and longest-running LGBT ski event on the East Coast. It’s also easier on the wallet then some of its competitors with an event pass that includes discounted lift tickets, rentals and lessons and access to all six main events including the opening Party, a live performance from Jimmy James, comedian Julie Goldman, the pool party, a VIP Cocktail Reception, the Blowout GLOW party and special rates on lodging.
DON’T MISS The pool party at Trapp Family Lodge and the Downhill Costume Drag Race at Stowe Mountain Resort.
HOT TIP Be sure and register! Winter Rendezvous participants ski and ride for only $46 per/day, compared to the normal lift ticket rate of $120 per/day. They also receive 25% discount on rental equipment and lessons.
Whistler Pride and Ski Festival: Whistler, BC (January 22-29)
One of the largest andoldest (25 years and counting) LGBT ski events on the calendar, Whistler Pride finds more than 3,000 LGBT guests from 26 countries (including a large contingent from Canada, California and the Pacific Northwest) descending upon North America’s largest ski resort (Whistler Blackcomb is an astonishing 8,171 acres) for an 8-day ski celebration that doubles as Pride Week, meaning the mayor herself takes part and don’t be the least bit surprised to see a rainbow blur of Pride flags in storefronts as you stroll Whistler Village.
DON’T MISS Comedy Pride Night featuring bitchy flight attendant Pam Ann and mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, the Whistler Pride Ski/Snowboard Guide Program which matches skiers together on the basis of skiing and riding abilities (great for beginners!) and the signature party Snowball25.
HOT TIP The daily après skis are insanely popular, so much so that guests are advised to arrive early or risk having to wait to gain entrance. Also, make dining reservations well in advance and always book a table with a couple extra seats. Chances are you’re here to make new friends and maybe even a new friend, so bare that in mind when making a reservation.
Telluride Gay Ski Week: Telluride, CO (Feb 25-Mar 4)
Out Olympian and Brit downhill skier Gus Kenworthy kicked off last year’sevent (which sold out every single one of its parties) and brought hundreds to the chic Rocky Mountain town of Telluride (also famous for its annual film fest) for this 15th annual ski week which always includes an opening day party, daily après ski and a late-lounge or event that extends into the wee hours. Previous headliners have included Sandra Bernhard, Shawn Colvin and DJ Ruckus and DJ Bimbo Jones so when it comes to entertainment, the event goes all out.
DON’T MISS Events for this year’s ski week have not yet been finalized but last year’s White Party (literally!) brought the house down. Luckily, no one was hurt.
HOT TIP Hundreds of Telluride fans are beginners and just as many don’t even ski at all so don’t worry about skill level. Also, Telluride Gay Ski Week happens in tandem with a week of events hosted by Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB) which on its own brings hundreds of people from around the world to town. Be on the lookout for a joint closing party between the two organizations.
Featured image courtesy of Whistler Pride