While the bulk of Pride events around the world tend to take place during the balmy summer months, winter isn’t entirely devoid of LGBTQIA+ festivals. Shortly after the December holidays end and the New Year begins, Gay Ski Weeks begin to cast a rainbow glow on the snow-white slopes of America’s most popular ski mountains. After gay OG Ski Week was established in Aspen nearly five decades ago, resort towns from Vermont’s Green Mountains to Oregon’s Cascade Range have created their own lively events that combine the thrill of sports with winter with the convenience of après-ski social gatherings, while simultaneously raising funds for LGBTQIA+ organizations and causes. Although the 2020 and 2021 Gay Ski Weeks have canceled in-person celebrations due to the pandemic, many of them will be back for the next ski season. And we couldn’t 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 other festivals that have since joined the LGBTQIA+ winter event circuit. There’s no better time to visit Colorado’s fanciest resort, where you can shred four mountains with varied ski and snowboard terrain, as well as ride miles of trails through the Elk Mountains prepared for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking. Produced by local non-profit AspenOUT, Aspen Gay Ski Week will celebrate its 45th anniversary with a packed schedule of fundraising events, such as drag bingo, a downhill costume contest, a cowboy rave and a pool party.
Stowe, Vermont: January 19-23, 2022
The incredibly scenic village of Stowe has hosted Winter Rendezvous ski week for 38 years, but this year’s celebration promises 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: Hit the slopes of Spruce Peak and Mount Mansfield all day, then ice skate in Spruce Peak Village or dog sledding in Vermont’s postcard-perfect winter scenery . Winter Rendezvous officially begins with a cocktail party around a bonfire, continuing with a handful of rowdy parties including a “wet ‘n wild” pool party, karaoke and drag bingo fundraisers, a live show with the comedian Shawn Pelofsky and a final “Blow Out Dance Party” to top off the weekend.
Park City, Utah: February 23-27, 2022
Before COVID, Elevation Utah welcomed record numbers of gay skiers and allies to tackle the powdery slopes of Park City and Deer Valley. While this year’s full schedule of events has yet to be announced, Utah’s only gay ski week is set to go all out with a raucous welcome party, multiple drag shows, après-ski rallies well watered, etc. The organization has partnered with local LGBTQIA+ group Ski OUT Utah to offer up to 30% off equipment rentals at Cole Sport and Utah Ski & Golf. Attendees have access to accommodation packages, with special rates at boutique Park City Peaks Hotel, Waldorf Astoria Park City, Montage Deer Valley and The St. Regis Deer Valley.
Telluride, Colorado: February 26 to March 5, 2022
Though winter sports pros salivate over Telluride’s 147 trails and 4,500-foot drop all season, more than 1,000 revelers from all walks of life come each year to celebrate Telluride Gay Ski Week. The whole town joins in the fun: small businesses in the historic town enter a window decorating contest, the Telluride Choral Society hosts a “Night at the Opera” fundraiser, and local models walk the runway during the Telluride AIDS Benefit Gala Fashion Show and Auction, described as “New York Fashion Week meets Cirque du Soleil”. There’s as much to sip as there is to ski, too, with week-long liquor tastings at the Telluride Express Yourself Lounge at the Gorrono Ranch, après-ski drinks at the Liberty Lounge, and dance parties with live music every night. .
Bend, Oregon: March 3-6, 2022
The nonprofit organization OUT Central Oregon created the annual Winter PrideFest to promote inclusivity and visibility for the LGBTQIA+ community in rural areas like Bend. Activist Wyn Wiley, aka backpacking drag queen Pattie Gonia, is the face of the jubilant weekend, striving to bring the over-the-top nature of drag into the great outdoors. Along with top-notch skiing on Mount Bachelor, Winter PrideFest will feature drag tubing, ice skating, and several fun “snocial” events.
Mammoth Lakes, CA: March 15-20, 2022
Founded by Tom Whitman, the now international brand Elevation celebrates 20 years of its first Elevation Mammoth Gay Ski Week at Mammoth Lakes. After a two-year absence, California’s first LGBTQIA+ ski event will exclusively welcome those with proof of vaccination to participate in a long list of activities. Themes reign supreme at this massive extravaganza, including costume ski races, après skis where you can don pajamas or a name tag to share your romantic status, and parties with “frat” dress codes. boy” and kinky “gear”. Take advantage of accommodation specials at The Village Lodge at Mammoth host hotel or other participating properties including Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort and The Westin Monache Resort.