Although we were mildly horrified by the snowfall in New York City over Halloween weekend (how apropos), that quickly faded into elation: Ski season is coming! And with the inches already being laid down this year, it's shaping up to be a doozy.
If you're looking to hit the slopes with some gay and lesbian friends – or make new ones – but aren't quite ready for the powder-and-party of a proper Gay Ski Week (check out last year's post for a sample), then a Ski Bums (www.ski-bums.org) package is the way to go. Founded in 2005 with day trips from NYC, it has grown to become the world's largest LGBT skier and snowboarder club with new chapters in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, and over 800 members worldwide (roughly 80 percent men and 20 percent women), a third of which are snowboarders, and everyone a heckuva lot of fun. Membership is free when you book a trip ($49 otherwise) and includes discounts of 30 to 50 percent off top-quality gear from Backcountry.com, plus typical savings of 15 percent off over booking the same trip independently. Book now for its eight major trips in 2012 (outlined below).
Excursions range from simple day trips and overnighters run by the chapters (the party bus back is legendary) to long weekends in premier resorts like Telluride and Sun Valley. New this year, a luxury-class jaunt to Beaver Creek which has you bedding down in the beyond-superlative, best-in-its-class Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (www.ritzcarlton.com), all in all a new standard for the Bums. As for its capstone international trip? This year it's St. Anton, Austria, famous for its extensive terrain as much as the après-ski and alpenglow.
- Salt Lake City, UT: January 4–8, 2012; $999 double occupancy/$1,299 single
- Beaver Creek, CO: January 18–22, 2012; $1,599 double/$2,499 single
- Stratton, VT: February 2–5, 2012; prices TBA
- Sun Valley, ID: February 15–19, 2012; $1,049 double/$1,499 single
- Women's Weekend, VT: March 1–4, 2012; $649 double/$949 single
- Telluride, CO: March 7–11, 2012; $899 double/$1,199 single
- Killington, VT: March 10–11, 2012; prices TBA
- St. Anton, Austria: March 16-24, 2012; $2,399 double
Trips are fully planned and include hotel reservations, lift tickets, transfers, morning and après-ski meet-ups, lessons, equipment rentals, group lunches, event dinners, and after-parties. In essence, a self-enclosed mini gay ski week(end) – all at around a 15 percent discount over booking independently! If you're on the mailing list, pre-season sales happen in July and August for further savings. 2013 will be here before you know it . . .