Big Powder: The Gay Skiing Movement Take Off

Photo Credit: Courtesy of OutRyders
Oh, the sweet nirvana known as fresh snow. Above, OutRyders ski club member Mike kicks some up.

You've Come a Long Way, Ski Bunny
"The early years of [Aspen Gay Ski Week] were very grassroots," says Bryan Gonzales, executive director of the Aspen Gay and Lesbian Community Fund, whose main fundraising event each year is Aspen Gay Ski Week. "[There was a group of] local gay guys, about 15, 20, or maybe 25 of them, and there was a group from Southern California that came up to ski, [about] 15 or 20 other guys. And they had a party in the Hotel Jerome on one of the nights, and from that Gay Ski Week was born."

Next month's event will literally take over the city of Aspen, as thousands of queers take to the slopes by day and party by night in one of the most beautiful towns in the West. Like a lot of skiing in Colorado, Aspen's slopes are known for their crisp powder and incredible slopes. At night, or "apr├Ęs ski" as the skiers like to call it, Aspen plays host to the gay and lesbian skiers with a packed calendar all week long.

"We have lots of entertainment, music, world-class restaurants, movie theaters, and stage productions, plus live events scheduled every night of the week," says Gonzales. "Probably the most popular event is the Pravda Vodka pool and ice party, held at our multi-million dollar recreation center which has an indoor pool, water slide, lap pool, steam room, sauna and a skating rink. It's a fantastic facility. Last year we had almost 1,000 people at it, indoors."

Sounds like a lot of fun, right? For the town of Aspen, going gay during ski season isn't just fun, it's good business.

"In direct and indirect dollars from the 2005 Gay Ski Week, [$6.2 million went] into the city of Aspen [in] one week time," says Gonzales. For Gonzales, the event funds his organization's GLBT center and helps it provide services to the greater area's GLBT community.

Skip Ahead
Page 1: Birth of a gay ski movement
Page 2: Aspen Gay Ski Week
Page 3: Gay ski weeks spring up
Page 4: Gay ski clubs
Page 5: Running a gay ski club
Page 6: Gay snowboarding
Page 7: Having fun off the slopes
Page 8: All ages and levels welcome
Page 9: Links to gay ski weeks and ski clubs