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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.

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 Aspen Gay Ski Week Parade | Photo courtesy of Matt Power

Aspen Gay Ski Week Parade | Photo courtesy of Matt Power

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 in Stowe

Photo courtesy of Winter Rendezvous in Stowe

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.

RELATED: It’s snow joke that big savings await when you sign up for Orbitz Rewards!

Pool party at Whistler Pride | Photo courtesy of Whistler Pride

Pool party at Whistler Pride | Photo courtesy of Whistler Pride

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 | Photo courtesy of

Telluride | Photo courtesy of Ryan Bonneau

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 

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Tagged: LGBT travel, Ski Resorts, Sports Vacation

Jason Heidemann

Jason Heidemann

Jason is an associate editor at Orbitz, a social media marketing consultant and a freelance cultural reporter for numerous publications. His works has been featured in the Huffington Post, Time Out, Passport, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and many others.
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Where the motorcycles roam

No travel experience compares with the feeling of exploring America astride a motorcycle. Free from the confines of an enclosed vehicle, when you travel by motorcycle you become part of nature. Here, six of America’s most accomplished motojournalists invite you to join them on a virtual ride to their favorite destinations, offering up a handful of great all season motorcycle trips…

Related: The road trip less traveled – California’s Highway 395

Buzz Kanter

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Buzz Kanter

When Buzz Kanter is not at his desk as editor-in-chief of American Iron magazine, he’s restoring, riding or racing his vintage motorcycles on short runs and extended cross-country expeditions.

“America has so many amazing roads for riders that it’s tough to recommend one favorite. Some of the best riding I’ve done on new motorcycles, and even a 1915 Harley Twin on the cross-country 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball event, is on the winding mountain roads in and around Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherohala Skyway, and Deal’s Gap (also known as the “Tail of the Dragon”) are famous for their tight and technical twists. In this region, it’s hard to find roads that aren’t a blast on two wheels. And make sure you carve out time to see the vintage motorcycle collection at the world famous Wheels Through Time Museum. And bring your camera!”

Teri Conrad

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Teri Conrad

Teri Conrad’s ( love of exploring open roads has led to numerous cross-country journeys astride a variety of Kawasaki motorcycles. It also led to a personal cross-country move when the California native relocated to Arkansas for a change of scenery and pace. Follow her road trips at

Arkansas is a motorcyclist’s dream with endless ribbons of asphalt that twist, turn, bend and dip through some of nature’s most breathtaking scenery. One of my favorite routes in The Natural State is the 54-mile stretch of tarmac known as the Talimena Scenic Byway that connects western Arkansas to eastern Oklahoma via Routes AR88 and OK1. This forested drive takes you through the Ouachita National Forest and offers everything from wide-open sweepers to challenging hairpin turns that wind around Rich Mountain to Arkansas’ second-highest point at 2,681 feet. You’ll want to stop at one of the scenic vistas and fill your lungs with the crisp mountain air, then take in the magnificent panoramic views of the rugged Ouachita Mountains. In the fall, it’s especially gorgeous when the colors go from luscious greens to vibrant shades of red and gold.”

 Related: Five perfect island itineraries for Hawaii moped rentals.

Robert Pandya

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Robert Pandya

Recently named one of the Top 50 “Makers of Motorcycling” by the Bonnier Publishing Group, Robert Pandya owns SpokesPeople PR and represents Indian Motorcycle and Victory Motorcycles. You could try to follow his adventures online, but he says he’drather ride with you down a backroad.

“If I could magically drop anywhere for a two-day ride, it’s Western Colorado. The stunning and challenging “Million Dollar Highway” (Highway 550) heading north from Durango is amazingly beautiful, technically challenging, and a richly rewarding experience. From there you’ll rise in elevation to reach Silverton, Telluride, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, as well as the very cool Gateway Canyons resort and car museum. The western slope of the Rockies features stunning and varied geography and foliage, but keep in mind weather and the right gear has to be considered any time of the year. Once you’ve been there, the rewards of riding through this region will live on for years and inspire you for a lifetime.”


Don Emde

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Don Emde

An inductee into American Motorcycle Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Don Emde is a Daytona 200 champion, publisher, and author of the upcoming book ‘Finding Cannon Ball’s Trail’.

“I’ve ridden coast to coast twice. The first time was to research the route that Erwin ‘Cannon Ball’ Baker had taken back in 1914 when he set a transcontinental motorcycle record. The second time, in May 2014, I was riding at the record-setting pace Baker achieved a century ago: San Diego to New York City in 11 ½ days. As I followed Cannon Ball’s trail on this epic journey my favorite section of the ride was U.S. Highway 40, America’s historic ‘National Road’. Where it winds through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio it was great to enjoy the leisurely pace of the now-paved highway.Plus, as a history buff, I kept an eye open for the few remaining mile markers that helped me envision the highway when it was merely a dirt road traveled by thousands of early settlers in covered wagons. When you ride the National Road, you’re revisiting history by motorcycle.”

 Related: St. Augustine and beyond – A historic road trip through Florida’s First Coast

Glen Abbott

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Glen Abbott

An unquenchable passion to re-discover America via motorcycle is the element that fuels Glen Abbott’s repeated road trips. Fans follow his exploits through pictures and stories shared at Abbott’s travel site:

“For me, there’s nothing better than being on two wheels in the middle of nowhere—and U.S. 50 through the middle of Nevada is as middle-of-nowhere as nowhere gets. The old highway parallels the original Pony Express route through Nevada and is part of the Lincoln Highway, one of the country’s first transcontinental roadways. When you ride the 250-mile stretch between Fallon in the west and Ely in the east, you’ll encounter just a couple of small towns with lots of sand, sagebrush, and snow-capped mountains in between. Life magazine once claimed this road had ‘no points of interest’ and warned motorists to avoid it unless they were ‘confident of their survival skills.’ My kind of place!”

“Be sure to spend a night in Ely at the Hotel Nevada. When the six-story hotel opened in 1929, it was the state’s tallest building. Railroad enthusiasts will want to visit the Nevada Northern Railway, a National Historic Landmark recognized as the ‘best-preserved, least altered, and most complete main yard complex remaining from the steam railroad era.’”


Sarah Schilke

Orbitz- Motorcycle Trip-Sarah Schilke

Sarah Schilke has made motorcycling her profession for more than 20 years. The avid motorcyclist has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor, MotoQuest tour guide, and currently works at BMW Motorrad. She was recently named one of the “50 Makers of Motorcycling” by Bonnier Publishing Group.

“For some people Alaska is atop the bucket list, for others it’s not even on the travel radar—but it should be. This remote and sparsely populated state offers spectacular scenery including our country’s tallest mountain, indescribably blue glaciers, and plenty of interesting wildlife (and not just the furry variety). The culture varies across the state with Anchorage offering five-star Alaskan cuisine and accommodations, eclectic art, and native Alaskan history exhibits. But when you venture off into the rest of the state, you’ll experience rugged, rural culture and sights that are hard to come by in the heavily populated Lower 48. My favorite experiences are off-roading along the Denali highway, taking a sulfur-soak at Chena Hot Springs, and pausing wherever I am to take in breathtaking views of the multiple snow-covered mountain ranges.”

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Tagged: Road trip!, Solo travel, Top 10 Lists

Gary McKechnie

Gary McKechnie

Gary is a two-time National Geographic author (USA 101,Ten Best of Everything: National Parks), as well the author of Great American Motorcycle Tours, the nation's best-selling motorcycle guidebook. The recipient of two Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards also served as Florida's Off the Beaten path reporter. He lectures on American travel, culture, and music aboard the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as well as the ships of the Seabourn and Silversea lines. Find him at
Gary McKechnie

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