Back in January, we attended Snow Pride Barcelona – a gay ski weekend north of Barcelona. Knowing that this was the first official year (sort of second-ish) of the event, we weren’t sure how many people would attend and truthfully, whether it would ultimately be worthwhile. After all, back in 2007 we went to a gay ski week in Lake Tahoe and it was terrible…bad events, weird people and an overall boring vibe.
Luckily this event was nothing like that. It was fantastic!
The event was hosted at the La Molina Ski Resort in the Pyrenees just on the border of France. Before departing, they organized a reception at the Mortiz Brewery where we got few free drinks before piling onto a bus full of gays. Mistake #1 was drinking 4 beers before a 2 hours bus ride. Not even 10 minutes into the ride our bladders were at their limits and we could hardly wait for the coming pit stop to relieve ourselves of the four mistakes we had previously drunken. In any event, we made it all the way without wetting ourselves, quickly checked into the hotel and went off to dinner. In fact, the entire hotel was shut down for this event and we were the only guests staying at the property when we arrived on Friday night.
Events & Activities
The itinerary was put together by our friend Eloi from Rainbow Barcelona, a LGBT oriented tour company operating in Barcelona and several other cities. Along with the rest of the Snow Pride team, they did an awesome job and the weekend of Snow Pride was packed with activities for all tastes, from ski classes and facials (not that kind) to dinners and parties.
Besides the snowboarding (which was the main reason we went!) our favorite event was probably the Spa Party. Sure, the nighttime parties were fun (Saturday’s better than Friday’s) but we can go out and party any night – especially living in Madrid. The Spa Party was different though – filled with cute boys in little Speedos (love Europe!), great music, a nice heated pool, sauna facilities (no not that kind either) and various performances – it was a great time and an experience we’ve never had before.
Other activities throughout the weekend included girls speed dating (networking for the ladies since 90% were guys), karaoke, parties on Friday and Saturday night, beginning ski classes, snowshoeing and tubing.
Skiing & Snowboarding
The 4-star hotel named La Collada was located offsite so they provided bus transfers every hour to the mountain – just a 10 minute ride. La Molina was a nice mountain and had good number of lifts and runs. The snow conditions on Saturday were pretty good having just snowed the night before. It was really warm on Saturday which unfortunately caused some icy conditions on Sunday. Of course, the weather is never predictable but we definitely had a nice time on the slopes overall.
La Molina is actually connected with another resort called Masella, located just on the other side across the French border. They sell joint lift tickets if you want to ski both mountains – which we learned the hard way. It went something like this…
Auston: “Let’s take the gondola to the top….we haven’t done that run yet.”
David: “Ok sounds good.”
Auston (half way down the run): “So should we go left or right?”
David (who couldn’t be bothered to look at a map): “Umm, let’s go right…why not?”
And down we went…little did we know we were crossing the border. Then at the bottom of the run…
David: “Ohhhh….look there’s an outdoor bar! Let’s sit and have a few beers.”
Auston (surprised and confused): “Obviously! You know what? I don’t recognize this area. Wonder why we didn’t see it before.”
David: (not caring and already flagging down the server): “Dos cervezas por favor!”
One hour and 3 beers each later we decide to head up the mountain with a nice buzz…
Lift operator (as we approach): “Can I see your pass?”
Auston: shows his pass…
Lift operator: “You can’t use this lift with that pass.”
Auston (overconfident, buzzed and partially annoyed showing his pass): “Of course we can, we’re with the Snow Pride group…look!”
Lift operator: “That’s for La Molina.”
Auston: “Umm ya obviously…where the hell are we?.”
Lift operator: “You’re in Masella…this is France”
Luckily, we convinced them to sell us passes for just 7€ which let us go up to the top just one time so we could take the return route to La Molina. It worked out in the end and we made it back in time for the bus transfer (technically). Only problem is that we stupidly missed the transfer not seeing the bus far off in the parking lot.
We lived up to our name ‘TwoBadTourists’ that day…
Perhaps I’m being vain, but I have to say one of the surprising things about this event was how many cute guys were there. And even better was that everyone was actually really friendly and open. I think we all went into this event with an open mind and that really helped set the atmosphere. I mean, let’s be honest…a room full of cute gays can be nice to look at but pretentious vibes are too often palpable and can ruin the mood. This was not the case at Snow Pride Barcelona – in fact, it couldn’t have been more the opposite.
In total, 140 people attended the event – mostly gays, groups and singles – with maybe 15 girls brave enough to hang. Quite a few people came alone which takes some guts so I was impressed by those single travelers. Most of the crowd was from Barcelona with about ¼ from elsewhere in Spain, France or Europe.
If great events and friendly (and sexy!) people is not enough to get you to Spain’s gay ski weekend then perhaps the prices will entice. Not counting our train to Barcelona, the tickets cost just 240€ (~$300 USD) per person. The best part was the all-inclusive convenience, getting us two nights at the hotel, two day lift tickets, gondola access, all meals (with wine!), bus transfer from Barcelona and access to all events and parties. If you’re into this sport then you already know that this is a great deal.
This is without a doubt the least expensive gay ski event in Europe. Just don’t mistakenly end up in France (like us) or this will set you back another 7€ ☺
What makes it unique?
Gay ski events are not new nor is it rare to see large LGBT events in just about any major Spanish city. Yes you already have Circuit in Barcelona or Gay Pride in Madrid which attracts thousands, if not millions of people.
But even with Spain’s liberal attitude towards LGBT people and events and the amount of ski resorts in the country – Spanish people have yet to have their own gay ski event, at least until now. The hotel was great with all the amenities you’d want – especially the indoor pool and sauna. The bus ride from Barcelona to the mountain was also a hoot. Imagine 60 gays on a 2 hours bus ride and a drag queen as our hostess and trip leader. There was even a striptease part way into the journey with the Brazilian model Lucas – one of the trip ambassadors. Admittedly, the return bus ride was not nearly as fun as most us of were tired, hungover and passed out.
If you’re thinking about attending in 2016, you can follow Snow Pride on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on the event…you’ll know we’ll be back! Like this year, you’ll probably get a 10% discount if you book early so keep an eye out.
Don’t be afraid to go alone but definitely invite some friends if you can since the price is lower based on sharing the hotel. Also, don’t expect to wake up and hit the mountain first thing. Spanish people drink a lot and love to party until VERY late. Case in point: the breakfast room was completely empty even at 10am on Sunday since most people were still sleeping off the night before.
And lastly, you might want to practice a bit of Spanish. While most of the event organizers spoke English as well as many of the guests, this is still a very Spain-focused event as they haven’t really advertised to the larger European community.
Have you ever attended a gay ski week? Where? If not, would you consider going? Let us know in the comments!
Note: The team at Snow Pride BCN has provided us with a small discount to attend the event though we paid most of the cost to attend the events ourselves. As always, rest assured all opinions are 100% our own. Featured image via Rainbow Barcelona.