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Gay Ski Week Round Up: The Gay Girls Guide to Fun in the Snow

Gay Ski Week Round Up: The Gay Girls Guide to Fun in the Snow

Time to hit the snow, bunnies. Gay ski weeks are fast approaching at resorts across the U.S. and Canada, with new events popping up all over. Here's some info on where to hit the slopes for the best lesbian and gay ski weeks including Aspen, Stowe, Summit, Whistler, Telluride, Lake Tahoe and Mammoth.

Time to hit the snow, bunnies. Gay ski weeks are fast approaching at resorts across the U.S. and Canada, with new events popping up all over.

“We are so excited with this coming season as we head into what appears to be an El Nino year which means to us:  Colder than normal temps, big snow, big crowds, and lots of boyz & gurrlz wanting to have some fun OUT on the Slopes,” says Dean Nelson, producer of 2011 WinterPRIDE Festival at Whistler.

Many ski weeks feature a variety of events for LGBT skiers and snowboarders to meet up, like après ski happy hours, dance parties with world-class DJs and celeb guests, pool parties, comedy nights, movie nights, drag shows, ice skating and spa packages. Many also offer a number of casual opportunities for buddy skiing and dining. The Matthew Shepard Foundation Memorial Ski Week at Crested Butte features a formal dinner gala fundraiser.

The oldest of LGBT ski weeks is Aspen, which as been around for 34 years, which is also famed as the largest LGBT winter event in the world. Another legendary and long-standing event is Whistler/Blackcomb. The two newest events on the map are the Matthew Shepard foundation Memorial Ski Week and a weekend in North Carolina.

While the turn out at many ski weeks is usually “about 95 percent male,” says Mike Stommel, a promoter of Elevation, the 9th annual gay ski week at Mammoth Mountain, The events are “open to the rest of the GLBT community and friends of the community.“

WinterPride 2001, which brings in more than 2,000 guys and gals up to the High Sierras, is one of the few LGBT ski events that hosts a women’s party, Shred Betties, held this year on February 5, sponsored by Vancouver lesbian producers Flygirl Productions.

Like every Pride event out there, ski weeks vary in tone and tude. Some skew older and attract a lot of moneyed men and women while others appeal to a younger clubby crowd. While many ski weeks are heavily promoted and well attended, some resorts will host a so-called gay ski week with little happening, so check the event websites for details and calendars of events.

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All ski weeks have in common the draw of a good time, camaraderie and community. Ski weeks provide "a great venue for gay people to get out in the great outdoors. Gays often live in cities. You can make friends, and get to be a little rugged and adventurous," said Bryan Herb, chief marketing officer for Zoom Vacations and a past chair of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.

These thoughts are echoed by Dane Steele Green, head of Steele Luxury Travel, who has taken groups of gay skiers to many of the designated weeks. “Any gay person, whatever his or her skiing or snowboarding experience, can have fun,”’ said Green.

Here’s a round up of the major gay ski weeks:

Jan. 16-23, Aspen Gay Ski Week

Jan. 19-23, Stowe Winter Rendezvous

Jan. 20-23, Summit Ski Weekend, Blowing Rock, N.C.

Feb. 1-6, Whistler

Feb. 26- March 5, Telluride

March 6-13, Lake Tahoe Winterfest, Lake Tahoe South Shore

March 16-20, Elevation, Mammoth Mountain

March 19-26, Butte '11, the Matthew Shepard Foundation Memorial Ski Week, Crested Butte 

March 30 – April 2 Vail

Gay winter event contacts:

Ski Bums has chapters in New York, California, Washington, D.C., plus chapters for women and for college students

Steele Luxury Travel, New York City

Zoom Vacations, Chicago

Gear Up!

Goddess of Warmth

Look cool while keeping warm with the Marmot Venus jacket for women, the down sweater for serious winters whether you’re hiking through the snow or city-slicking in freezing temps.  Constructed of lightweight down-proof fabric and stuffed with 800 fill power goose down, this sharp looking jacket features like zippered hand pockets, elastic draw cord hem and a wind flap behind the front zipper to protect against drafts. Angel-wing movement allows full range of motion in the arms to prevent the jacket from riding up. For convenient storage and travel it packs away in its own pocket. 165.00. REI and quality outdoor retailers throughout North America.

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Sexy Skis

Dash through the snow with the K2 160 GotBack skis for her (MSRP: $649.95-$825.00), the undisputed powder queen of women’s skis. If you thought big waists weren’t sexy, think again. The GotBack packs 102mm under her belt and is proud of every bit. Throw in AT shovel rocker, and you’ve got a ski with phenomenal float and stability, along with exceptional maneuverability making her equally at home etching huge arcs in a wide open bowl or dancing through tight trees. The Traixial braided Bioflex core keeps it lightweight and agile, while the progressive 14/12 sidecut provides versatility after the powder’s tracked out. You know what they say – once you go fat… $825. Locate dealers on K2's site

In a Bind

The perfect complement to the new wider skis is the Marker Griffon 12 Freeski Binding, the best bang for the buck for good skiers that want a strong and light weight design. The Power Width Design offers maximum power transmission, and the Inter Pivot Heel keeps you in without pre-release. Sale price $229.99, Sun And Ski.

Fast and Fur-ious

The Tecnica Attiva M12 Ski Boot for women was designed for both comfort and speed. The liner has a narrower heel pocket, wider forefoot and upper boot design to accommodate lower calves for women, and its comfy warm velvet fur lining will keep your toes toasty. This boot is for that woman who is an intermediate skier who is comfortable on the blues and will venture down the black diamonds, especially if she sees Lindsay Vonn headed down the face. Sale priced $229.99, Sun And Ski.

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Power in the Powder

Get a grip with the K2 3 Speed Ski Poles with a patent composite fiberglass construction for a skier looking for quality and value. The full composite shaft is topped with a comfortable rubber overmold grip and hard snow basket. Sale priced $49.99, Sun And Ski.

Extreme Accessorizing

Keep your extremities warm with accessories that show style, head to hands, like the Marmot Women's Moraine Mittens ($45) with DriClime lining that wicks away chilling moisture, and the wool-alpaca-acrylic blend North Face Women's Cable Fish Beanie ($30) with a micro-flece earband for cold days on or off the mountain. Sun And Ski.

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Cool Shades

Shield your eyes and look chic in the super stylish Alexander Daas “Eye Do” sunglasses, designed by San Francisco Optics optician and owner Alex Feldman, who engineers the line for comfort using more than 50 measurements for a perfect fit. Crafted in Japan using zyl acetate and European hinges, the shades retail for $399 ($450 for polarized frames) and come in four colors for women (black, tortoise, chocolate and olive tortoise) and three for men (moss, tortoise and gray blue).

Heavy or Not

Avoid paying extra bag fees on your luggage and gear by weighing it before you go to the airport. Do it at home or in your hotel room with the BalanzzaMini Luggage Scale. The slim and lightweight hand-held scale can weigh bags up to 100 pounds and can pack easily in your luggage. $24.95.

Listen Up

Enjoy your own private club mix on the slopes or en-route to and from your destination in crystal clear audio quality with the V-MODA Vibrato in-ear headphones. Crafted like a fine piece of jewelry from Zinc Alloy and featuring hybrid silicone ear tips in four sizes for the perfect fit, a 3-button remote, sport ear hooks and leather protective pouch these earphones travel well and offer while they offer the ultimate listening experience. $129.99, Apple or V-MODA.

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K. Pearson Brown