Gay Skiing & Snowboarding

To some people the idea of a holiday is relaxing on the beach to others it means a time for action and excitement. Skiing is obviously the latter, but you shouldn't knock it before you've tried it. The love of a skiing holiday isn't just about skiing it's about the whole thing - the wonderful scenery, the country and the people you meet. It's for all age groups from 5 to 85, taking it as steady or as fast as you like. The thrill and pumped adrenaline that the slopes bring you is totally unique. Its just like flying - your up there on top of the world gliding through glistening white powder beneath an ink-blue sky, it makes you feel like a bird.

With 130 tour operators offering 320 resorts in some 16 countries, it is not easy to decide where to go and how to get there. When choosing your resort, if you want to be sure of adequate snow cover, avoid any European resorts with a top lift station at less than 2,800m. Choosing the right accommodation is important too, try and get door-to-door skiing, there is nothing worse than carrying a pair of skis while walking in ski boots.

gay ski weekThe most popular destination for us British skier is France, attracting over 30% of the market, well it's not surprising with those sexy French accents and good looks... Oho la la. Austria is then second favourite over Italy, which takes third place. Next with about 13%, comes little Andorra, which has recently spent £31 million on upgrading its principal resorts. Canada and the United States only manage to take fifth place together, despite the marketing hype. Switzerland lies lower in the league, but as its not in the EU it has favourable duty free value for money.

How much it is going to cost depends totally on how much you want to spend. An average "spend" from a typical British skier or snowboarder is around £590 per person. However the hidden costs of clothing, lift pass, equipment, lessons, in-resort meals and entertainment can easily double this figure. There are loads of websites offering direct bookings and some great last-minute bargains are worth checking out: www.lgluski.com and www.thomsonski.co.uk

Aprè-ski is very important too, there is nothing worse than not having anything to do in the evenings. As you'd expect finding a thriving gay nightclub or bar in a ski resort is very slim and so the après-ski can be very hetro unless you travel on one of the gay ski weeks on offer. There are several gay events to choose from:-

The first takes place in Aspen, in the United States. This Colorado resort was quite rightly recommended as one of the best in the world and is for skiers and shoppers of all standards. It's got a reputation as being the winter playground for the rich and famous, the skiing and snowboarding is nothing short of superb. The week takes place around the end of January. It’s one of the longest running ski events and known as "the largest gay winter event in the world" attracting 5,000 people. Parties and events are laid on throughout the week like the infamous downhill costume competition! They can either be paid for daily or all pre-paid at $175 (£110) saving about 30%. For further information check out the web sight www.GaySkiWeek.com

The second big event of the year is in Canada. The resort of Whistler is host to the gay ski week that usually takes place around the beginning of February. It’s called Winter Pride Whistler and attracts around 2,500 people. Like Aspen there are many events and après-ski entertainment on offer (24 to be precise). This one is my favourite as the skiing is fantastic and the circuit parties are wild. I hope to be going to this one again very soon, hope to see you there too. For more info and prices log onto www.GayWhistler.com

European Gay Ski WeekThe European Gay Ski Week takes place towards the end of the season in mid to late March. It attracts up to about 1,000 people and usually in a French resort. Its nice to go to different resorts each year and experience new exciting runs. There are ski and board lessons, as well as mountain tour guides for the experienced black runners. A different mountain restaurant is nominated each day for us to meet up with everyone for lunch. For more details log into the web site www.EuropeanGaySkiWeek.com 

Switzerland is another country to hold a gay ski week called SWING (Skiing With International Gays) in early March. Since 1993 Swing has been taking place in the well known ski resort Lenzerheide. For further info log onto www.GaySki.ch.

Gay Ski Week in Solden, Austria: Anyone who has sampled après at one of Austria's livelier resorts will know that the locals aren't afraid to party hard. Since 2000 Solden has staged this raucous week of sport, boozing, drag cabaret and club nights. Get more info at: GaySnowHappening.com

Other gay ski events include: Lake Tahoe USA, Telluride USA, Mammoth USA, Butte USA, Arosa Switzerland, Chile Gay Ski and New Zealand. Also check out: Gay Ski Club and GaySkiTrips.com

There are many other gay ski weekends and clubs to investigate across the world. Just do a search for “gay ski” on Google and see what comes up. Weather you choose to ski or snowboard it's an experience you won't forget. If you have never skied before then I'd strongly recommend it. A good tip is to get yourself to a gym and get those leg muscles into shape before you travel... unless you want to ache for the entire week. Remember you're never too old to start and you've always got one of the many dry slopes to practice on before you travel.

 

ChrisGeary.com