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While the slopes in Aspen, Colorado, open in November, for many ski season doesn’t officially start until the drag queens arrive.
In the early ’70s, Jon Busch noticed a growing number of LGBT ski clubs organizing trips to Aspen and got the idea to gather them together for an annual visit. That effort laid the foundation for what is now the oldest, annual LGBT ski event in the nation.
Next month, Aspen Gay Ski Week will celebrate its 40th anniversary, with 5,000 people expected to attend.
Celebrations will involve daily après–ski meet-ups, dinners, dance parties, film screenings, comedy shows, a massive indoor pool party, and plenty of skiing and snowboarding. It will also include the event’s signature downhill drag costume competition.
“I attended the 25th anniversary and have not missed a single year since,” said Hudson Young. “I went the first time because some friends invited me to go with them. Now I go because it’s so much fun and the attendees are welcoming and not cliquish.”
Young, who is a native of the D.C. area and grew up skiing in the Mid-Atlantic region, also likes the fact that the Aspen ski area caters to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. As part of Aspen Gay Ski Week, participants have access to four different mountains with trails perfect for beginners and experts
But Aspen isn’t alone in hosting an LGBT-focused ski event. From California to Norway, Switzerland to Vermont, there’s events happening throughout the 2017 ski season.
2017 LGBT Ski Schedule
Aspen Gay Ski Week, Aspen, Colorado: Jan. 15 to 22
Winter Rendezvous Gay Ski Week, Stowe, Vermont: Jan. 18 to 22
Arosa Gay Skiweek, Arosa, Switzerland: Jan. 21 to 28
Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, Whistler, Canada: Jan. 22 to29
Elevation Utah, Park City, Utah: February 23 to 26
Telluride Gay Ski Week, Telluride, Colorado: Feb. 25 to March 4
Swing Gay Ski, Lenzerheide, Switzerland: March 5 to 12
Elevation Mammoth, Mammoth, California: March 15 to 19
European Gay Ski Week, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, France: March 18 to 25
European Snow Pride, Tignes, France, March 18 to 25
Gay Snow Happenings, Solden, Austria: March 25 to April 1
Scandinavian Ski Pride, Hemsedal, Norway: March 30 to April 2
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