Rainbows & Powder: WinterPRIDE Returns to Whistler
Guest Blogger: Barb Snelgrove / @megamouthmedia
With plenty of fresh packed snow, a vibrant social scene and 8100 acres of skiable terrain, Whistler is well worthy of the title of North America’s best winter resort. But from January 26 to February 2nd 2014 it will also be the best place in the world to ski a giant 30-foot long rainbow flag down a mountain as WinterPRIDE, Whistler’s 22nd annual LGBTQ Pride Festival hits town in an explosion of fabulousity.
With incredible scenery, events and a super-friendly atmosphere, this year’s WinterPRIDE promises plenty of new friends in the making, and plenty of glitterama. And while the idea of hosting a Pride event at the coldest time of year may seem to go against the standard “scantily clad dancing on a balloon festooned float” visuals that usually comes to mind, nothing about Whistler or WinterPRIDE is typical. But maybe that is what makes this Pride event so special and amazing.
While Whistler has no shortage of incredible shopping, spas and dining the outdoor activities are really what makes WinterPRIDE unique. Smack dab in the middle of all that great Pride-week skiing is the annual “Ski-Out” and march through Whistler Village. It’s a truly original annual tradition and definitely something to partake in (or watch) as everyone grabs their corner of a gigantic rainbow flag and skis off in unison. Slowly winding its way down Whistler Mountain, the giant flag elicits cheers and roars of approval from LGBTQ peeps and allies on the mountain as well as from the excited masses waiting at the bottom. There is no feeling quite like it, and the sense of true “Pride” hanging in the air is palatable to everyone involved.
But it doesn’t stop at the base of the ski hill. Crowds of smiling faces swell as the flag makes its way along the snow lined Village stroll before finally arriving at the Après Ski party to end all ski parties. As the Mayor of Whistler officially welcomes Gay Ski Week it begins to set in just how unique and special WinterPRIDE is. And then the DJs kick in and things really get memorable.
The “Ski-Out” is just one of many exciting events scheduled for WinterPRIDE 2014. There are plenty of other amazing outdoor activities and evening events and parties including the annual Pool Party, the SnowBall and the crowning of Mr. Gay Canada featuring Australia’s deliciously talented export, Courtney Act.
Find all the action, scheduling and accommodation info at whistler.com. What are you waiting for? Get your Pride on at Whistler WinterPride 2014.
Barb Snelgrove is a radio host, columnist and reporter living in Vancouver, B.C. You can catch her ramblings on twitter @megamouthmedia