Elevation Utah gay ski week proves that size matters

What makes a gay ski week epic?

Park City is the US’s largest ski resort, with a nearly never-ending 7300 skiable acres for even the most diehard powder hound to conquer. If you’re a fancy-pants skier, Deer Valley is one of the most lux ski resorts in the world. If you’re up for a drive, you can also ski Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, and Solitude resorts. The combined Alta/Snowbird resort is on every true skier’s list of favorites.

Getting off is just as important. Off the slopes, we mean. When you aren’t skiing or boarding, you want the full ski-town experience, and Park City delivers. This historic mining town turned lux destination has shops, art galleries, chalet-like hotels, and a density of bars and restaurants that befits its beginnings as a raucous silver town filled with saloons.  And the food scene, from brewpubs and bistros to fine dining from Michelin-starred chefs, it’s a discerning snomosexual’s dream destination.

It’s not who you know, but who you’ll get to know.  Is there anything more likely to make you get in the mood faster than a scruffy, square-jawed homo in snowboarding pants and a tight T-shirt, sweaty from the day on the hill, beer in hand, and a twinkle in his eye? The answer is no.

ELEVATION Utah, the state’s only gay ski week, has become such a runaway success. The brainchild of LA event and TV producer Tom Whitman, ELEVATION Utah lands every year on top lists, not just for gay ski weeks in America, but for gay ski weeks in the world.

This year, the 13th annual event, Whitman is expecting upwards of 1500 ski queens and board bunnies to schuss into Park City, transforming the artsy enclave into a gay paradise for five sparkling days. 

Whitman says it’s Elevation’s reputation for “Altitude without Attitude” that makes these events bigger and better every year. “Every year people return because of the friends they’ve made and the connections they’ve forged,” he explains. “That’s one of my favorite things about the event, how friendly and welcoming everyone is. It’s great to be in a space where everyone has at least two shared interests – snowsports and our LGBTQ community.”

It’s also the town of Park City and the local venues that put Elevation Utah at the peak of gay ski weeks.  “We have the most amazing venues,” says Whitman, “not only because of the physical space but because the local staff gets so excited about Elevation. If they are working the Neon Party, you can be sure they’ll be decked out in dayglo from head to toe.”

“Elevation is a particular event that we look forward to every year,” says Malia Denali from the Cabin Park City. “From our colorful staff to the community we serve, Elevation brings energy and fun that carries through the rest of the season.”

And then there is Whitman’s lineup DJs, dancers and drag queens. This year, breakout star DJ Joe Pacheco is spinning the Saturday night GEAR party, after his revelatory Elevation debut in Mammoth last year. Big room DJ GSP will be spinning our Neon Party in his Elevation debut.

Iconic LA DJs Dawna Montell and Josh Peace are OG members of the Elevation family, and newcomer DJ Ty Jordan rounds out our schedule.

The schedule goes like this: Hit the slopes in the morning and ski (or board) until your legs get shaky.  Come off the mountain and sashay to the iconic apres-ski events like the Onesie Party. Meet way too many handsome guys and sexy girls. Walk along Main Street to a world-class restaurant. Get dolled up for one of the classic themed parties, like Friday’s Neon Party or Saturday’s sexy and leather-positive GEAR party. Rinse and repeat.

Start with moguls and music, add a little bit of party and a lot of Pride, toss in handsome bromos from across the continent with a healthy dose of hard-bodied Utah boys–that’s the recipe for an epic ski week.

And that recipe is why people return year after year. “From apres-ski afternoons to evening dance parties, Elevation gay ski weeks are hands-down my favorite boarding trips every season,” says attendee Jordan Brusso, “We have met so many life-long friends at these events.”

But don’t be overwhelmed by the listing of DJs or themed parties. Regardless of whether you want to plant yourself on a dance floor every chance you get, sip an aprés cocktail while checking out the go-go boys, or nurse a non-alcoholic beer while making new friends just off the hill, there is something for everyone.

Elevation Utah is the easiest of the major ski weeks to get to, with a 30-minute drive from the SLC airport to Park City. Don’t think we haven’t flown on a morning flight and been on the slopes before noon.

This brings us to my final tip: As much fun as it is to shred the mountain before shredding the dance floor, you can have a helluva time at Elevation even if you aren’t a skier or a boarder. Take a lesson with other gay beginner snow bunnies – can you imagine a better start to a gay romantic comedy than tumbling down the hill only to land in the arms of a mountain, uh, top? And if you’re taking the day off, browse the galleries and shops on Main Street, check in to one of many high-end spas, explore the snowshoeing trails, take a sleigh ride, and go tubing, the possibilities are endless. And then you meet up with all the sporty shorties at apres-ski with a unique story to tell.

Info and tickets for Elevation Utah and other Elevation events are at www.elevationgayski.com. Follow @elevationgayski on Instagram for real-time updates.

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