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Global gay ski weeks

BY DARREN COOPER, GaydarTravel.com

Gay ski weeks have become a hugely successful part of the queer calendar and there are now a whole host of events to choose from that are taking place all over the globe!  It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or if you can carve your way gracefully down the most challenging of black runs, there’s something for all levels of skier.

So strap on thse salopettes, grab your sunglasses and sashay down the slopes safe in the knowledge that you won’t be the only one checking out more than your sexy ski instructor’s technique!

If you do fancy working up a sweat on the slopes, then why not extend your break for a few more days and discover the charms of the local scene. Skiing and a city break – perfect!

Here’s out pick of some of the best gay ski holidays around.


Arosa Gay Ski Week: 5-11 January 2008
Arosa, Switzerland, www.arosa-gayskiweek.com

Sitting at the top of the scenic Schanfigg Valley, at an altitude of 1,800 metres, Arosa’s Alpine charm makes it a favourite resort with a wealthy but unpretentious European crowd. Snow sure with mounds of Alpine charm, there are over 70kms of pistes which largely favour beginners and intermediates although there is limited more challenging skiing for more advanced skiers too!

Boarders are also more than welcome, as in most European resorts, and all runs are suitable for both styles. Events for the Arosa Gay Ski Week include a fondue night, foam party, drag queen ski race and jungle party which will all make sure that there will be no early bed times!

Skier Rating: 4
Boarder Rating: 3
Gay Rating: 3


Utah Gay and Lesbian Ski Week: 9-13 January 2008
Park City, Utah, USA, www.gayskiing.org

Less just 32 miles from Salt Lake City is Park City, which played host to some of the snowboarding events in the 2002 Olympics. The resort centre maintains a distinctly Wild West feel and it’s where most of the ski lifts leave from, although the suburbs surrounding the resort are rather less appealing. The skiing consists of tree lined intermediate runs which are fairly straightforward and also the Jupiter Bowl area which is reserved for off-piste skiing, conditions permitting. Boarders are well catered for here with excellent boarder parks, half pipes and a dedicated beginner’s area if you want to give it a whirl.

Skier Rating: 3
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 2

Aspen Gay Ski Week: 13–20 January 2008
Aspen, Colorado, USA, www.gayskiweek.com

This is the resort that started it all and it’ll be celebrating 30 years of gay ski weeks in 2007. Aspen is one of the finest resorts in North America and you might just bump into some serious A-list celebrities who favour this beautiful Victorian town for their ski vacations. Four mountains make up the ski area, which caters for just about every ability and style of skiing and boarding possible with combined runs of over 200kms linked by a bus system.

Aspen Mountain has a vast array of different slopes for skiers but it doesn’t allow boarders, which are well catered for on other mountains. Snowmass has the largest vertical drop in the USA (1,345m) and favours intermediates as does Highlands and Buttermilk is more geared towards beginners. The excellent activities arranged during the Aspen Gay Ski Week will keep even the most hardened party monsters entertained well into the night!

Skier Rating: 4
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 4


South Lake Tahoe's Blue Gay-La: 23-27 January 2008
Lake Tahoe, California, USA, www.ltva.org

Located on the picturesque south shore of America's largest alpine lake on the border of the California and Nevada Sierra Nevada Mountains. It doesn't get any better than Lake Tahoe when it comes to outdoor pursuits, seven spectacular resorts, record breaking snowfall and a nightlife which runs 24/7 and caters for just about every conceivable taste. There are more resorts and ski/board terrain here than in any other destination in North America with the fantastic Heavenly resort just on the doorstep. There is also an amazing array of activities for non skiers to enjoy from snowmobile rides and ice skating to boat cruises and spa treatments. Of course, you could always jsut take in some of the fantasstic entertainment laid on for this event if none of the above tickles your fancy.

Skier Rating: 5
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 4


Gay Whistler Ski Week: 3-10 February 2008
Whistler, Canada, www.gaywhistler.com

The Whistler-Blackcomb ski area is the largest in North America and has quite rightly been voted the best ski resort in the world on several occasions. An advanced high speed lift system whisks you to the top of the mountains from the town centre, which has undergone a major face lift in the last ten years. The skiing here is excellent, for all abilities, and it’s also a boarders paradise with a huge boarder park located on Blackcomb Mountain. No wonder then that the 2010 Winter Olympics will be hosted here!

This year Whistler is promising to expand the number and range of events that it has especially for women with daily ski guiding and apres ski just for the ladies, excellent entertainment and the Saturday night L-Party. Find our more here.

Skier Rating: 5
Boarder Rating: 5
Gay Rating: 4

Vail Gay Ski Week: 5-10 February 2008
Vail, Colorado, USA, www.communityvisions.org

Vail is another North American heavyweight ski resort and boasts a huge ski area including Beaver Creak and the nearby resorts of Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin which are all covered on the same lift pass. The skiing largely caters for intermediates, although there is an excellent ski school and dedicated areas for boarders too. Those of you who can manage some off-piste skiing can hit the ‘Back Bowls’ area which is left un-groomed. The resort is also one of the most expensive in the States, although with the weak dollar 2008 could be the perfect time to try out some ski exclusivity. Situated high in the Rockies, at 2,400 metres, be prepared to be a little out of breath too!

Skier Rating: 4
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 2


Lake Tahoe WinterFest:
2-9 March 2008
Lake Tahoe, California, www.laketahoewinterfest.com

Lake Tahoe is part of the Heavenly Ski Area, which sits on the California/Nevada border and offers great skiing for all abilities, fantastic views and an excellent snow record thanks to the locations and snow making equipment. The resort has excellent beginner’s slopes, fantastic intermediate runs and challenging off-piste areas as well as dedicated parks and half pipes for boarders.

Nightlife here reflects the glitzy atmosphere of Nevada where gambling is legal and there is an air of Las Vegas about the town with big hotel casinos on the Nevada side of the border. This all contributes to the glitzy atmosphere of the town which also has excellent accommodation and restaurants although little charm.

Skier Rating: 4
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 5


Mammoth Gay Ski Week: 12-16 March 2008
Mammoth, California, USA, Website: www.mammothgayski.com

Located to the south of the Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Mountain rises to over 3,300 metres and receives over 32 feet of fresh snow each winter, making it one of the most snow sure resorts in North America! With over 3,500 acres of terrain ranging from gentle nursery slopes to seriously challenging off-piste with well maintained parks and pipes there is a huge amount to offer skiers and boarders of all abilities. Critics of the resort say that the resort is fragmented, although recent upgrades to the infrastructure have helped to solve this problem. Also, the transfer times from San Francisco are in excess of 3 ½ hours which is fairly lengthy.

Skier Rating: 4
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 3


Alternative Gay Ski Week: 22-29 March 2008
Val Thorens, France, www.alternative-holidays.com

Europe's largest ski area, the Trois Vallees in France, plays host to the Alternative holidays European Gay Ski Week in Les Menuires. 600kms of pistes and exclusive use of the fantastic Kata Hotel all promise to make this year's event an even bigger success than the last, if that is at all possible. Not only is this area the largest skiable domain in the world it also boasts a near perfect snow record and some of the highest altitude skiing available. An excellent lift system, which links the resorts of Les Meniures to Meribel and chic Courchevel, means that there are slopes which cater for every conceivable type of skier with a varied terrain that is well organised by the lift system. Plus, there’s an excellent snow park for boarders too.

Skier Rating: 5
Boarder Rating: 4
Gay Rating: 4

Happy Gay Ski Week: 29 March-5 April 2008
Tignes, France, www.happygayholidays.com

Tignes is served by the large, well linked ski area called L'Espace Killy. Tignes shares the L'Espace Killy with Val d'Isere and with over 300km (190 miles) of pistes with 150 shops, 115 bars, 7 ski schools, 1,500 staff and extensive off-piste skiing. No wonder it has become one of Europe's premier resorts! Due to its altitude Tignes has a very reliable snow record which, after recent seasons of reduced snowfall, has encouraged people to choose higher mountain resorts. According to The Good Ski And Snowboarding Guide 2005 Tignes/Val d'Isere is one of only two ski areas in France listed as  'snow-sure resorts'. Tignes boasts a fast and efficient lift system 97 lifts including 2 high speed underground trains (funicular railways) and a glacier. All standards from beginners to expert are catered for with '5 free lifts for beginners'.

Skier Rating: 5
Boarder Rating: 5
Gay Rating: 3

Gay Ski Week New Zealand:  tba (but 1-9 September 2007)
Queenstown, New Zealand, www.gayskiweeknz.com

If you love skiing and want some action all year round then there are two gay ski weeks which take place in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. Queenstown, known as the extreme sports capital of the world, is the base for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest gay and lesbian ski week, which celebrates its sixth year in September 2008. Three resorts lie within and hours drive of Queensland, which lies in the centre of the countries Alpine region and although they lack the infrastructure of European or North American resorts there is a huge and varied terrain on which to ski.

Skier Rating: 3
Boarder Rating: 3
Gay Rating: 2


whiteOUT:
24-27 July 2008
Mount Buller, Australia, www.whiteout.org.au 

Three hours drive from Melbourne is Australia’s very own alpine resort which hosts Australia’s gay ski event, whiteOUT, that's now in its ninth year! Rising to an altitude of 1,805 metres above sea level, the resort embodies some of Victoria's most spectacular alpine and sub-alpine terrain. It offers 180ha of ski trails as well as wide, open space above the tree line. The longest ski trail is 2.5km with an average snowfall of 1.5m. There are 25 ski lifts, capable of moving 40,000 people every hour.

There is a large and vibrant gay scene in the beautiful Victorian city of Melbourne which is Australia’s most ‘European’ city. Renowned for its cultural events and café society this is a delightful city for any gay traveller.

Skier Rating: 3
Boarder Rating: 3
Gay Rating: 3


Find out all the latest gay travel information by ordering the brand new 2008 Spartacus International Gay Guide. Get it online and save some money to put towards the other Bruno Gmunder guides - Hotel and Restaurant Guide and Sauna Guide.

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Its a little late but here is some info on Vail's Gay & Lesbian Ski Week 2008!

Vail Gay Skl Week, Jan. 30th thru Feb 3rd, will be one of the best Vail getaways you guys have had in a long time. We have a full line-up of events and activities all over the Vail Valley to give you a true taste of one of the best places on earth. Come ride over 7500 acres of the best skiing on the planet and eat, stay and play at some of the best establishments in the Valley. We have stepped up the game a notch with VailSkiVacations.com to ensure everyone is taken care of on all levels with the premier vacation and concierge service company in the Valley.

Check out VailGaySkiWeek.com for all the details and booking information for this event.

The Lake Tahoe ski resort event is a lot of fun!

Arosa Gay Ski Week - January 3-9, 2009 (Switzerland)

The annual Gay Ski Week in Arosa, one of Switzerland’s most enchanting winter resorts, is in its 5th year and constantly growing with people participating from all over the world. Come experience Swiss hospitality, the charm of a true mountain 
resort and glamorous parties while you’re enjoying yourself with various activities throughout the week.
There is a wide range of accommodations. Stay in hip 3 to 5 stars hotels or in a cozy Swiss-style chalet. Don’t forget to order your event pass for the week, or do you want to miss the foam party, a fondue night at the mountain hut, a classical concert, the pool party, our cabaret-night or the drag- queen ski race? 
So what are you waiting for? Check us out on the web and make your plans now for a truly unforgettable Switzerland experience!

More information: http://www.arosa-gayskiweek.com

Tourist board Arosa: +41(0) 378 70 20 (dial 011 before, when from US)

Arosa Gay Skiweek - January 9-16, 2010 (Switzerland)

Perched high at top the Schanfigg Valley in a broad, sunny bowl surrounded by mountain peaks, Arosa is a special alpine pearl hosting one of the most exciting gay events in Switzerland: the Arosa Gay Ski Week. A whole week of outdoor activities, along with live concerts, après-ski happenings and plenty of exquisite parties with famous DJs including a ‘Horse Meat Disco’ and a foam party. Special highlights include the so-called ‘Drag Queen Fun Race' a slalom competition at the heart of the pists (the race draws a huge crowd)!
Mark your calendar for the next Arosa Gay Ski Week taking place from January 9 through 16, 2010. For more details and early-bird discounts, log on to gayskiweek.ch. Different packages with six partner hotels and holiday appartements will ensure a memorable vacation.

It's an excellent business idea. It provides a place where many can hook up and enjoy skiing with people like them, away from any chance of discrimination etc.

That was a really great list, another thing I like that it comes with different ratings. Thanks for sharing and more power.

Brian

I second to your comment aspen ski attractions! You are absolutely right.

Anyway, I haven't tried ski for more than five years since we migrated here in the Philippines. How I wish I could do it again. So how's the ski area there?

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