Aspen Gay Ski Week 2000

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The Yanks love to do things big! - The gay ski week at Aspen in Colorado USA is a typical example. It's the largest gay winter event in the world, this year in its 23rd year, attracting around 5,000 gays and lesbians from around the globe.

The Aspen resort is deemed to be one of the best in the world. It is renowned as the winter playground for the rich and famous, and so could be considered an ideal location for the event! Although the resort attracts a lot of the "hoity toity" rich person's attitude and lifestyle, it does offer something for everyone's budget. Due to the event being held in the last week in January, off peak hotel rates can be taken advantage of - After all, its not the cheapest place to stay if you are after a centrally located hotel.

After over 28 hours of travelling via 3 planes, 3 coaches, a puncture and a few delays - I arrived. The hotel was great, as you'd expect from most American accommodation - spacious and full of luxury extra's. There was also an outdoor heated pool and two hot tubs - after a hard day on the slopes, they provided a great opportunity to slip into some well fitting speedo's, relax and get to know the other cute boys in the hotel.

The gay ski week heralds entertainment throughout the week, from Aprés ski in the early afternoon, cocktail parties, a gay film festival, drag shows, evening and after-hours parties for those of us who just didn't want to sleep. Most nights they were held at The Tippler, a two floor, log cabin style venue in the centre of town. It had a fantastic close atmosphere - where everybody was well into the party/holiday mood! The muscle boys strutted their stuff on the bar tops and chart anthems played the night away - some nights till 5am!! Of course the American boys made sure there were many private parties too, some being more sexually orientated than others! If you haven't seen the film "The Other Side of Aspen" then I'd recommend it!

There are 4 mountains to ski, providing endless runs. Some seem to be appropriately named for us, the best include: Bottom's up, Hal's Hollow, Naked Lady, Fanny Hill, Bear Bottom, Adam's Avenue and even Sam's Knob! The snow was fantastic with well over a metre of fresh powder settling during the week. The snow, the breath-taking scenery and the fantastic runs lined with beautiful snow drenched pine trees all made the resort live up to it's hype.

Queues were non-existent, with the help of some of the newest, longest and fastest chair lifts in the country. A different mountain restaurant was nominated for lunch each day of the week. This sometimes generated a queue if you got there dead on 1o'clock, but provided another good opportunity to meet new friends and exchange the thrills and spills of the day. Prices weren't too bad at round £10/meal, offering a good choice of American junk food along with more healthy salads.

Midweek at the base of Aspen Mountain there was a downhill costume competition. Its not judged by speed, form or athletic talent, rather the panel of judges (dressed in white wedding gowns) which were looking at fashion to be the races most important denominator. 10 participants took part including myself dressed as "Super Brit" A British take on Superman which included a union jack cape and boxer shorts, blue lycra superhero bodysuit and a very large strap on device bought from Clone Zone earlier in the year. It earned me second place, headline news in The Aspen Times and the Aspen Daily News and even an appearance on TV! - albeit censored!! One thing is for sure, Americans love the British, I don't know whether it's due to our foreskins, that out accents don't have the American twang, or just the fact that a queen rules our country! Other participants included busty drag queens, The Church Lady, Little Bo Peep and The Riddler. Some 2,000 people, gay and straight lined the slopes and finish line, cheering and chanting as the competitors skied down. It was just such good fun.

There are many like-minded gay ski weeks and weekends on offer. One closer to home is the European one in the French Alps, held late March. We will be part of the go-go dancing team this year, so if your going - see you there. Unfortunately it's already sold out this year but next year it'll be at the 3 Valleys so get booking early. Another big one is in Canada at the Whistler Resort, attracting around 2,500 people (I'm hoping to go to this too next year).

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