SPORTS & ACTIVITIES

Big Powder: The Gay Skiing Movement Take Off

Photo Credit: Courtesy of OutRyders
Definitely not a straight-acting ski: OutRyders ski club member Dennis finds himself stranded with a ski bent in a most unfortunate manner.

Gay Ski Clubs Breed Like Snow Hares
As gay ski weeks have been popping up like so many gay bunnies in the snow, so have gay ski and snowboarding clubs. These clubs, once a handful of small groups who grew slowly through word of mouth spread from chairlift to chairlift, have, in large part thanks to the Internet, blossomed into highly organized groups who rely on the power of web sites, online groups technology, and email to plan extensive snow-bound fun for their members.

Today, there are at least a dozen active ski groups in the country, with a collective thousands of gay skiers and snowboarders belonging to them. New gay ski groups pop up regularly as a growing number of gays and lesbians find they share a sporty passion: hitting the slopes.

Despite the power of the Internet to speed its growth, the gay ski club movement has still been a rather grassroots affair. Most were founded by gay people looking for other gay people in their town with whom they could go skiing. Out of that simple desire have spring some great gay organizations.

Ski Bums out of New York City is one of the largest and most organized ski clubs in the country. The brain (and skier) behind the organization, Chris French, founded Ski Bums in 2003 after moving to New York City.

"I created Ski Bums because after I had been living in NYC for a while I found that all of the friends that I had been skiing with in college didn't live in New York," says French. "Suddenly I didn't have any friends to go skiing or snowboarding with. I thought it might be nice to make other gay friends with whom I could ski and board. It was somewhat selfish, and I didn't expect that three years later we would have 500 members. I thought we'd maybe have 25 or 30 [members] in New York."

This year, those 500 members, about 80 percent of whom live in the New York area, will go on a collective 13 trips throughout the U.S., including seven day trips in the New York City Metropolitan region, two long-weekend trips to New England, and four longer ski trips out West to Vail, Whistler, Lake Tahoe, and Salt Lake City.

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