Winter is upon us and the ski season is just getting started. But with the coronavirus pandemic still out of control, 2021 travel is still not the norm. Most large events were canceled in 2020 but the ski season of 2021 may have some promise depending on your location and the destination. Of course, any gay ski event that does take place in 2021 will certainly be unlike past events with restrictions on number of attendees, parties, group events and enhanced safety regulations. But if all goes well, you might just be lucky enough to attend one of these 5 events. If not, 2022 is just around the corner.
What is a Gay Ski Week?
An LGBT+ ski event, often referred to as a gay ski week, is an organized event at a ski resort specifically for the LGBT+ community. These events started in the 90’s and there are now lots of events to choose from, mostly across North America and Europe. Gay ski weeks can attract hundreds or even thousands of attendees and the organizers put on a variety of shows, parties and gatherings throughout the event. Even if you’re not a ski or snowboard fan, most of these events have enough going on to keep you entertained. If you're a reader of our blog then you know we love gay prides, LGBT+ parties & events and winter sports. So what better way to celebrate than to attend a gay ski week – our absolute favorite winter activity!
Packing Tips for a Gay Ski Week
Packing for a gay ski week will not only involve typical warm winter gear but you may also be encouraged to pack costumes for themed events (pending 2021 restrictions). If you’re an avid skier or snowboarder then be sure to include all your standard adventure gear from goggles and jackets to gloves and neck warmers. For the best gear to stay warm and look cool, check out Hoo-Rag, which offers bandanas, hats, neck gaiters, and headbands, just to name a few. If you own your own gear, then you’re welcome to bring it all with you, otherwise you can rent just about everything from the ski resort. All gay ski events host a variety of activities and events so be sure to check the schedule to see if you need to pack any special outfits, gear or costumes.
European Gay Ski Week (France)
March 20-27, 2021
European Gay Ski Week is in its 12th year and takes place in the French Alps bringing crowds from across Europe. Located in Les Menuires, the event normally attracts more than 1,000 people during the week. The organizers have a ton of experience with these events and a large budget to provide fun and engaging activities. In addition to hitting the slopes during the day and dancing it up at night (not likely for 2021), you’ll find other activities like pool parties, private mountain tours and cabaret shows. Should the regulations in March allow, they will host some small gatherings in the resort and all events will be free of charge. If you choose to attend in March 2021, your event pass will be given to you without an additional fee. To qualify for the free event pass you will need to book your accommodation and lift pass through the EGSW website.
Jasper Pride Festival (Canada)
April 22-25, 2021
Canada is known as a very gay friendly destination. It was the 3rd country in the world to legalize same sex marriage making it a welcoming destination for LGBT+ visitors. Jasper hosts one of the most unique Pride celebrations in Canada and combines the celebration with an LGBT+ ski event. The entire community comes together to celebrate pride, proudly displaying flags and banners all along the town’s Main Street. There’s an energy at Jasper Pride Festival that you won’t feel anywhere else. Being surrounded by natural beauty in a town that openly and proudly supports the LGBT+ community year round. You can’t help but feel like you’re a part of something special. The Jasper Pride Festival Society strives to create a safe and inclusive atmosphere of equality, acceptance and support for the LGBT+ community.
Gay Ski Weekend Queenstown (New Zealand)
August 27 – September 5, 2021
Queenstown Winter Pride is the largest and perhaps the only major gay ski event south of the equator. This event takes place in New Zealand’s winter during the month of September. If you make the trek to New Zealand you’ll enjoy great events including drag shows, a foam party, queer quiz night and more. This LGBT+ event has been going strong for years. And given the fact that it takes place in August, it’s much more likely to have limited restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Held annually, Queenstown is one of the best places in the world to host such a festival. As well as being the adventure capital of the world, it’s also a top tourist destination and is full of supportive local businesses and people who welcome the community all as their own. Attendees are typically 45% Australian, 45% New Zealander, with the rest coming from other places around the world.
Arosa Gay Ski Week (Switzerland)
January 22 – 29, 2022
Arosa’s 2021 event was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are coming back bigger and better than ever in 2022. During the last week in January the Swiss Alps will heats up as LGBT+ people from across Europe come together to celebrate Arosa Gay Ski Week. The event creates a welcoming atmosphere for all LGBT+ people and allies in the gay-friendly village of Arosa, Switzerland. From the White Party at the top of the mountain to evening classical music concerts, the week-long event has something for just about everyone and every taste. If there’s one thing Arosa Gay Ski Week does well it’s entertainment. They arrange for countless drag queens and dancers from across Europe to join the event and entertain the crowds by both day and night. Perhaps the only thing we like more than snowboarding is joining the après ski in the afternoon after a long day on the mountain. Each day attendees can join the official Après Ski held at various locations throughout the week in Arosa.
Snow Queer Festival (Spain)
March 22-27, 2022
Coming in March 2022, Spain’s gay ski week is back. Taking place in the north of Spain, Snow Queer Festival is the premier LGBT+ ski week in Europe and the first of its kind in Spain. And in 2022, it will be more inclusive and diverse than ever. Formally the 4-day event called Snow Gay Weekend, the festival has embraced a more diverse name and expanded to one full week of activities including skiing, wellness and relaxation, celebrations plus much, much more. From March 22-27, 2022, the event will change locations and will take place at the Panticosa Spa Resort. The ski resort itself has more than 180km of slopes to explore. Though not as long-running as its gay ski week cousins in the Alps like European Gay Ski Week or Arosa Gay Ski Week, Snow Queer Festival is the only gay ski event in Spain with the first edition in 2014. Plus the prices for the festival are a bargain compared to those you’ll find in France or Switzerland.