6 Gay Ski Weeks That Will Add Some Heat to Your Winter
Get ready to cast a rainbow glow over the snow-white slopes of America’s most popular ski mountains.
While the bulk of worldwide Pride events tend to take place in the balmy summer months, wintertime isn’t entirely void of LGBTQIA+ festivals. Soon after the December holidays wrap and the New Year kicks off, gay ski weeks begin to cast a rainbow glow over the snow-white slopes of America’s most popular ski mountains. After the OG gay ski week was founded in Aspen nearly five decades ago, resort towns from Vermont’s Green Mountains to the Cascade Range of Oregon have established their own buzzy events that combine the thrill of winter sports with the coziness of après ski social gatherings, while simultaneously fundraising for LGBTQIA+ organizations and causes. Though the gay ski weeks of 2020 and 2021 canceled in-person celebrations due to the pandemic, many of them will be back for the upcoming ski season. And we could not be more ready to hit the slopes.
Aspen, Colorado: January 16-23, 2022
Aspen Gay Ski Week is the largest and longest-running gay ski event in the Western Hemisphere, and still sets the bar for all the other festivals that have since joined the circuit of LGBTQIA+ winter happenings. There’s no better time to visit Colorado’s ritziest resort town, where you can shred four mountains with varied skiing and snowboarding terrain, plus tackle miles of trails throughout the Elk Mountains primed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. Produced by local non-profit AspenOUT, Aspen Gay Ski Week will be celebrating its 45th anniversary with a jam-packed calendar of fundraising events, such as drag bingo, a downhill costume competition, a cowboy rave, and a pool party.
Stowe, Vermont: January 19-23, 2022
The impossibly quaint village of Stowe has hosted Winter Rendezvous Ski Week for 38 years, but this year’s celebration is promising to make up for an abbreviated schedule in 2021. For the uninitiated, there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be found in and around Stowe: Spend all day zooming down the slopes of Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield, then switch it up with some ice skating in Spruce Peak Village, or go dog-sledding through Vermont’s perfect-as-a-postcard winter landscape. Winter Rendezvous officially commences with a bonfire cocktail reception, continuing on with a handful of rowdy parties including a “wet 'n wild” pool bash, karaoke and drag bingo fundraisers, a live show headlined by comedian Shawn Pelofsky, and a final “Blow Out Dance Party” to cap off the weekend.
Park City, Utah: February 23-27, 2022
Pre-COVID, Elevation Utah welcomed a record number of queer skiers and allies to take on the powdery slopes of Park City and Deer Valley. While the full calendar of this year’s events hasn’t been announced yet, Utah’s only gay ski week is set to pull out all the stops with a raucous welcome party, multiple drag shows, boozy après ski gatherings, and more. The organization has partnered with local LGBTQIA+ group Ski OUT Utah to provide up to 30% in equipment rental discounts at Cole Sport and Utah Ski & Golf. Attendees have access to lodging packages, with special rates at the boutique Park City Peaks Hotel, Waldorf Astoria Park City, Montage Deer Valley, and The St. Regis Deer Valley.
Telluride, Colorado: February 26-March 5, 2022
Though winter sports pros drool over Telluride’s 147 runs and a 4,500-foot vertical drop all season, more than 1,000 revelers of all backgrounds come each year to celebrate Telluride Gay Ski Week. The whole town takes part in the fun: Small businesses around the historic town participate in a window decorating contest, the Telluride Choral Society puts on a “Night at the Opera" fundraiser”, and local models strut down the runway during the Telluride AIDS Benefit Gala Fashion Show and Auction, described as “New York Fashion Week meets Cirque du Soleil.” There’s also just as much sipping to do as there is skiing, with weeklong spirit tastings at the Telluride Express Yourself Lounge at Gorrono Ranch, après ski tipples at The Liberty Lounge, and dance parties with live music every night.
Bend, Oregon: March 3-6, 2022
Nonprofit OUT Central Oregon established the annual Winter PrideFest to promote inclusivity and visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community in rural areas like Bend. Activist Wyn Wiley, a.k.a. backpacking drag queen Pattie Gonia, is the face of the jubilant weekend, striving to bring the over-the-top nature of drag to the great outdoors. Besides top-notch skiing on Mount Bachelor, Winter PrideFest will feature drag tubing, ice skating, and several fun-filled “snocial” events.
Mammoth Lakes, California: March 15-20, 2022
Founded by Tom Whitman, the now-international Elevation brand is celebrating 20 years since its inaugural Elevation Mammoth Gay Ski Week in Mammoth Lakes. After two years of absence, California’s premier LGBTQIA+ ski event will exclusively welcome those with proof of vaccination to partake in a hefty roster of activities. Themes reign supreme during this mammoth extravaganza including costume ski races, après skis where you can don a pajama onesie or dog tag to share your romantic status, plus parties with “frat boy” and kinky “gear” dress codes. Take advantage of lodging specials at host hotel The Village Lodge at Mammoth, or at other participating properties including Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, and The Westin Monache Resort.