Aspen Gay Ski Week comes to another triumphant close

Aspen Gay Ski Week
(Photo: @jetsetjeremy | Instagram)

Aspen Gay Ski Week drew to a close on Sunday after delivering a week of snowboarding, skiing and lots of apres-ski fun. 

The Colorado event has been running for the past 43 years. Highlights include the flamingo pool party and the annual downhill costume contest last Friday, that drew everything from Rocky Horror Show aficionados to Dolly Parton impersonators – undaunted to be skiing during a heavy snowstorm. 

(Photo: @jetsetjeremy | Instagram)

It’s now traditional for some of the skiers to glide down Aspen Mountain’s Little Nell slope carrying a huge rainbow flag, which makes for quite a sight. 

Related: Gay bars in Aspen

(Photo: @nelsonmd | Instagram)

Celebrities in attendance during the week included Lance Bass, with his husband Michael Turchin, and skier Gus Kenworthy.

Related: Gus Kenworthy found Aspen’s Glory Hole

A new initiative for this year’s event included a dedicated section for rainbow families. Organizers teamed up with LGBTQ travel group R Family Vacations to program events specifically aimed at kids and families, with accommodation for them in the town of Snowmass Village. Gay Ski Week events took place in both Snowmass and Aspen.

Aspen Gay Ski Week
(Photo: @joyce__morrison | Instagram)

“The growth of LGBTQ families has been exponential in the last few years,” Kevin McManamon, executive director of non-profit AspenOUT told the Aspen Daily News ahead of the gathering. “I have two children that I adopted, they’re 23 and 20 years old now, and at the time, I knew no one else who had adopted.”

Besides now catering for families, the event also raised money for good causes.

AspenOUT, the non-profit which runs Aspen Gay Ski Week, last year awarded over $18,000 to LGBTQ+ seniors and their allies, and provided more than 40 hours of free counseling for individuals and families. It has also funded LGBTQ scholarships for students. 

Unsurprisingly, many people return year after year.

Aspen Gay Ski Week
(Photo: @woodys_unrealitys | Instagram)

“Aspen Gay Ski Week is always one of my favorite weeks of the year,” Woody Hartman told GayCities. “There’s just no better way to catch up with old friends and meet new ones than skiing some fresh powder in the Rockies.”

(Photo: @danwmitchell | Instagram)

Simon Gage, from London, was an Aspen virgin.

“It was a heady mix of skiing and partying which has left me wrecked,” he told GayCities. 

The Abbey in Aspen
(Photo: The Abbey/W Aspen)

“I made great progress learning how to ski, but staying at the W it was all about the Apres-ski, parties put on by West Hollywood’s The Abbey, with half-naked go-go’s dancing in the snow. Then there was the downhill drag race, the White Party at the top of Aspen Mountain, the Pool Party… you have to make sure you get some skiing in!”

Aspen Gay Ski Week in Colorado
(Photo: @its_fit_vito | Instagram)

Jeremy Turpen also enjoyed his first experience of Aspen Gay Ski Week. 

“I had an incredible time. It was refreshing to see a combination of gay culture and outdoor enthusiasts! The events are put together seamlessly and there’s nothing like the charm of Aspen. The positive energy is palpable in the cool mountain air.

(Photo: @jetsetjeremy | Instagram)

“I grew up in a small Colorado mountain town where it was difficult to be gay. Even though I moved to California I always felt at home in the mountains. Aspen was the first place where I could share my passion for snowsports with gays worldwide! I’ve been dreaming about moving there ever since.”

The team from The Little Nell hotel took part in the costume competition (Photo: Matt Power)

Related: Check out these other Ski Week events around the world

Here are a few more photos of the shenanigans during Aspen Gay Ski Week, courtesy of man-about-town John McGill: