That title is a bit misleading; it’s also cross-country, lifts and mountains when you plan a ski vacation. While all the northerners are heading down to sunny Florida and clogging our streets with extra traffic, why not check out some of the LGBT ski events? Even if you’re not much of a skier, there are parties, film festivals and other fun activities associated with these gatherings. You don’t even need to own your own equipment or ski clothes, most resorts rent both. Pack a pair of long underwear, a few pairs of socks, jeans and sweaters and you’re set. You’re bound to be one of the few people there with a tan; that ought to be a good conversation starter. The best part? When you head home, you get to leave all that cold weather behind you!
Jasper Pride Festival - March 9-12
Jasper, Calgary, Canada
Jasper is a diverse and welcoming community attracting travelers, workers, students, ski bums and residents from all over the world. Think of it as Canada’s version of Wilton Manors. Since 2009 the Jasper Pride Festival has grown from a one-night-event attended by about 40 people to 24 events and activities in 2016 with more than 1,000 participants. The Pride Festival taking place in Jasper National Park, "Jasper, Proud and Free" celebrates Canada's 150th anniversary. Night-time activities include; concerts, a beer party at Jasper Brewing Co., movie screenings, a "Boylesque” show, a “Lum-bear” jack party, family events and a 007-themed closing gala, “From Jasper With Love”. Skiing, guided ice canyon walks, ice-climbing, sledding, snowshoeing, and a "high heel dress-up” ski competition fill the days.
Elevation: Mammoth - March 15-19
Elevation bills itself as “… an alternative to the party circuit scene with 2,500 riders, nine major parties and 0 attitude." That’s because the focus is on some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. The accommodations range from high-end luxury condos to budget accommodations. Passes for the parties and event range from $90-$225, lift tickets are extra.
European Gay Ski Week - March 18-25
Les Trois Vallées, France
With 370 miles of ski runs linked by 180 lifts and three glacier areas, Trois Vallées in the French Alps, is one of the world’s largest ski areas. The slopes stretch from France to Italy, and rarely dip below 6,500 ft. Events at European Ski Week include a welcome party and events with such tempting names as “Erotica,” “Bearpit,” the “Snowball” and the “Splash Roma” pool party where the attire is listed simply as “Speedos.” Event passes are 200-260 euros and include a discount on a six-day lift pass, admission to all private club parties, discounted drinks, drinks tokens, discounts on ski or snowboard equipment, ski and snowboard lessons and special rates on transportation and accommodations.
There is a wide variety of accommodations from four-star luxury resorts to private mountain chalets. The event draws about 1,000 people, skiing and snowboarding are the most popular day-time activities, although many prefer to spend the day fireside in the lodge or indulging in spa treatments.
European Snow Pride - March 18-25
Tignes has been called the “sportiest town in France” and has some of the top ranked ski and snowboard trails in Europe. In addition to daily snow activities, a number of parties, pool events, cabaret and costume contests are planned. The event pass is 359 euros and includes dance parties every day, a pool party, ski & snowboard guided groups, one free drink at each party, discounted rates accommodations and discounts on lift passes, ski equipment and tickets for the film festival taking place concurrently.
Gay Ski - March 30-April 2
Norway’s top ski resort boasts four parks with 47 slopes, some nearly 5,000 ft. long! The reasonably priced festival pass ($100-$440 U.S.) includes party access, discounted meals and rentals, and free ski and snowboard lessons! There are numerous lodges and hotels at all price points. Gay Ski is an active, social and fun ski weekend with a varied program during the four days the festival is taking place. There are ski and snowboard courses and fun competitions.