Guest Author: Brian Webb, TheHomoCulture.com
Avid explorer, LGBT activist, and Mr Gay Canada People’s Choice – our guest author Brian Webb knows a good time when he sees it. Follow Brian and HomoCulture to stay up to date with the latest in gay culture, and read on for his expose of Whistler’s Pride and Ski Festival (it’s not all skiing and snowboarding, you know)…
It’s time to pack your ski gear, leather harness, dancing shoes, and swimsuit. Yup, you read that packing list right. It’s that time of year again, to head up to Whistler for the hottest week of the winter season! From January 21 – 28, 2018 Whistler, British Columbia proudly rolls out the rainbow carpet to welcome men and women from around the world to celebrate diversity during the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, one of the largest and friendliest winter Pride events in North America.
Decked out in rainbow Pride flags, Whistler Village is the perfect host, showcasing true Canadian hospitality. The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival includes over a dozen activities, events, and parties throughout the week long event, with a grand finale Snowball party on Saturday, January 27.
Slope Style and Skiing Out
For skiers and boarders, Whistler Winter Pride is the ultimate opportunity to get out on the mountain and meet other gay snow bunnies looking to make tracks in the fresh pow. The key to exploring over 8,100 skiable acres across two mountains? Join the free daily tours with the Whistler Pride ski guides. They meet each morning for an epic day of enjoying the mountain. Groups are divided by level of experience, so you can go at your own pace and meet others with similar capabilities.
At the end of each day, relax and unwind with après-ski drinks and snacks at the ski-in/ski-out restaurants before taking in the evening Pride festival events, ranging from comedy shows to circuit parties.
The highlight of Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is the gay ski out down Whistler Mountain on Friday January 26 in the afternoon. Over 100 people participate, skiing or snowboarding down the mountain, carrying rainbow Pride flags. As they arrive in the village, thousands gather at the base to welcome the group.
Following the annual Whistler Pride photo at the village base, the group sets off on the Pride March through the village to the Olympic Rings. Bring your Pride flags and gear and join in! 2017 saw the largest ever march, with over 200 participants carrying Pride flags and sporting colourful rainbow-inspired outfits, costumes, and gear.
No Ski? No Problem
If you’re not a skier, there are still plenty of fun outdoor adventures to explore the great Canadian outdoors. There is snowshoeing through peaceful, pine-scented forests, sleigh rides through snow covered trees, cross-country skiing over undulating hills, ice skating on a frozen outdoor rink, and dashing through the snow being pulled by man’s best friend on a dog sled. Also, check out the exhilarating ziplines where you can race your friends on a zipline course through the woods. So many fantastic ways to take in the fresh, cold mountain air.
Certainly there’s something to be said about staying inside where it’s warm and cozy. Curl up with a blanket and hot cocoa, to catch up on a good book by the fireplace. Spend the day at the beautiful Scandinave Spa with rejuvenating massages and treatments. Challenge yourself at the indoor climbing wall or get pumped up for the night activities at the gym.
From formal dining to grab-and-go, there are certainly plenty of options in Whistler. Fuel up in the morning on coffee and a hearty breakfast, pop in for a quick bite between meals, and then relax with après ski beers and snacks. Step it up by suiting up in goose-down jackets to try a shot-ski experience at the Bearfoot Bistro Ice Room – a true Whistler tradition!
In addition to boutique shopping along the cobblestone walkways, the Saturday afternoon of Whistler Pride and Ski Festival the Village Stroll comes alive with booths and exhibits from LGBT organizations, community groups, sponsors, and partners. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about the advancements of LGBT programs, products, services, and education.
Let’s be honest, in addition to an incredible winter resort getaway with friends and enjoying some fun daytime activities, what people really come to Whistler Pride and Ski Festival for is for the nightlife. There’s something to be said about getting dressed up for a night of fun with friends, meeting new people, having some drinks, and moving to the beat of great music.
Throughout the entire week of the festival there is an incredible line-up of great events. Plan to arrive on Thursday night so you can go to the Splash Pool Party, which is always a popular event, where there is a bar and DJ set up along the pool deck.
Friday night the weekend heats up with the Furrocious theme party. Guys will be sporting fantastic outfits ranging from army gear to uniforms, leather harnesses to plaid onesies.
The events continue midweek, with themed parties, fine dining events, spa nights and the ever popular night of comedy featuring Emmy and Grammy nominated artist Margaret Cho.
If you can only do one thing during Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, you have to go to the Snowball. Held Saturday night at the Whistler Conference Centre, Snowball26 is THE big party and celebration. Get your tickets early, because this is a party not to miss. With DJ’s like the Cube Guys, go-go dancers, lights, and a massive dance floor, this is the party to break out your fiercest winter party outfit – plaid, leather, feathers, jockstraps, and boots – it all goes!
Your night out doesn’t have to include a night party. The CABN at the Aava Hotel is open each night for drinks, games, and entertainment. It’s an excellent spot to hang out with friends, and met new people.
But What to Wear?
Need some help with what to pack for this epic winter weekend adventure? No problem! Gay ski unicorns come prepared with these five essential gay ski week outfits to show up at all the fabulous activities with looks that are both fierce and fabulous!
There are only 52 weekends in a year. Don’t waste a single one of them, especially when this is one of only a couple of winter Pride weekends in North America. If you ski or snowboard, enjoy magical winter getaways, relaxing days at the spa and boutique shopping, combined with an incredible line-up of outstanding nightlife and entertainment, you have to put the Whistler Pride and Ski Festival on your calendar for 2018.
What are you waiting for? Now that you know everything that is fun and amazing at Whistler Pride and Ski Festival, it’s time to make your reservation, grab your tickets, and pack your bags!