SPORTS & ACTIVITIES

Big Powder: The Gay Skiing Movement Take Off

Photo Credit: Richard Mitchell
Aspen Gay Ski Week organizers work their butts off to make sure that the après-ski events are at least as fun as the skiing itself.

Fostering Fun Off the Slopes
Like many groups and events organized around one particular sport, the gay ski and snowboarding clubs and event organizers understand their mission is as much social as it is sports-focused.

Says Ski Bums' French: "We know that when people are going on our trips, they're going to ski, but more than anything they're going to meet fantastic people and make new friends."

To help facilitate this, most gay ski clubs offer social events before, during, and after the gay ski season to help make members comfortable and to bring the fun off the slopes and home to the city. OutRyders even appointed two members as social chairs to help foster the community outside of ski season. This year the group started with an opening party at Club Café in Boston, followed by more parties and dinners. OutRyders' Russo says it "gets people excited" about their biggest passion: skiing or snowboarding.

Ski Bums keeps it regular with a twice-a-month party at a bar called Therapy in Manhattan. Ski Bums' French says it gives potential members a chance to check out who is in the club before committing to a membership. French says that it's all part of developing a community of gay ski and snowboard enthusiasts.

"I've been amazed," says French. "So many members of our club have met other people on their first or second trip and have become friends now for years. That's really rewarding to see these people who have developed these really meaningful friendships. Within gay culture, it can be surprisingly difficult to meet and develop really meaningful friendships. Ski Bums seems to do that."

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