Queers take the slopes.
By Natasha Avey
Stunning scenery, hot nightlife, and pretty people—what’s not to love about a gay ski week? It’s that time of year again, when people from all across the nation, Canada, and the world flock to some of the most beautiful U.S. mountain resorts, strap on boots, and take to the slopes for a week of unity, partying, and, yes, skiing. Whether you are an experienced pro or need help just getting on a lift, these destinations offer a fabulously queer winter getaway.
If you hurry, you can still book a flight to Canada for WinterPride. But if you miss it this year, you should mark your ski calendar for 2009. Every year, Whistler, British Columbia, hosts one of the most beautiful and unique parties for the GLBT community. Along with world-renowned skiing, this year the February 3–10 event will again offer fabulous parties and events for men and women. In fact, Whistler has added more activities designed to appeal to women, including a night of women’s music headlined by singer Melissa Ferrick as well as an L Word party.
Lake Tahoe Winterfest
At this Nevada event, you can do more than ski and party. You can gamble at one of the Tahoe casinos. Featured activities during the March 2–9 week include the PFLAG Winterfest Comedy Night with P-Town and Olivia Cruises favorite Jennie McNulty, the Rock Star Party with singer and sex symbol Ari Gold at the Hard Rock Café, and an evening dinner cruise on the lake. By the way, Tahoe boasts a famous slope with what is easily the most descriptive name in ski-dom: Heavenly.
Telluride Gay Ski Week
You can never get enough of queers on the Colorado slopes, making Telluride a great spot to show off your pride and ski skills. The town has the reputation of being quaint yet still sophisticated, and its February 23–March 1 Gay Ski Week offers a loaded schedule. Events include an Oscar Night Party, White Night Party, and TAB Fashion Show. Gay stars Charlie David and Reichen Lehmkuhl of the here! network series Dante’s Cove will be on hand this year, adding to the beauty.
Elevation: Mammoth Gay Ski Week
Sunny California has more to offer than beaches. That fact will be in evidence at Elevation: Mammoth Gay Ski Week, March 12–16. Make no mistake: This is a party week, with events such as SMACK! North, which takes the usual SMACK Thursday-night ambience of the popular O-Bar in Los Angeles to the mountains; Party at 10,000 Feet with DJ Brett Henrichsen; the Boys, Boarders & a Beach Party; and the main event, Cliffhanger, a dance bash at the top of Mammoth.
Not an experienced skier? Wherever you hit the slopes, lessons are available on site. And if you are already booking ski season next year, keep in mind these January events: Aspen Gay Ski Week (www.gayskiweek.com) and Winter Rendezvous in Stowe, Vermont (www.winterrendezvous.com). Winter Explosion, an upstate-New York ski week in February that targets African Americans (www.winterexplosion.com), is already sold out for 2008.
BEFORE YOU SKI
The new must-have items include these:
Oakley Thump Pro, a sunglasses/MP3 player combo that lets you take your tunes to the slopes. Weighing less than an empty CD case, it won’t drag you down. $249.99.
Monarch Jacket by Spyder made of stretch nylon with a water-repellent Spylon finish. $550. Pair the jacket with the Spyder ruby pant. $400.
Volki AC40 Carbon Ski is a high-performance model for accomplished skiers who want to be ready for every possible condition. A layer of carbon adds extra spring. $949.99.
Burton Vapor Snowboard, for you boarders out there, is a lightweight model billed as “the most technologically refined snowboard on earth.” $999.95.
Available at Sun & Ski Sports, which has five Houston-area locations, including 6100 Westheimer (713/783-8180, www.sunandski.com).