Celebrating its 35th year, Aspen Gay Ski Week 2012 kicks off January 15 with a trip down memory lane, along with all the parties and powder that have made it not only the nation's largest and oldest gay ski event, but one of the most fun happenings of the season overall (read our post on Aspen Gay Ski Week in 2011). Plus, it's a boon for charity: Proceeds from this year's event benefit GLSEN, the Trevor Project, and the Point Foundation, in addition to select local organizations, and come with an opportunity to get some charity in the from of free passes for yourself, as well.
With the theme 'Through the Years,' this years gay ski week will embrace our beginnings in 1977, says co-producer Bryan Gonzales, program director of Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund. Each night will feature a themed decade party with prizes for the best costumes. In addition to a week of epic skiing, après-ski, and nightly events, and the popular downhill costume competition, Aspen offers visitors world-renowned restaurants, indulgent spas, and first-class shopping, he continues. There is something for everyone, even for the non-skier.
- Sunday, 1/15: Opening party at Baldwin Gallery. Catered by the famous Caribou Club, the party will be all-inclusive, complete with food and drink.
- Wednesday, 1/18: The annual Boutique Night Stroll. Expect participating shops to stay open late.
- Thursday, 1/19: UNCUT: Letting It All Hang Out. A comedy show starring Nuclia Waste, Portia Potty, Iona Trailer, and Gabrellia ButzIn.
- Friday, 1/20: Wild West Bordello Party. Held at the historic Hotel Jerome.
- Saturday, 1/21: The Aspen Recreation Center's infamous pool party week-ender. Features DJs, dancing, hot tubs, waterslides, a lazy river, and open bars.
To get the best bang for your buck, purchase a Patron Pass ($750) or Black Diamond Pass ($300), offering savings of $275 and $130, respectively, versus buying individual tickets à la carte. Passes guarantee admission to all events, and include extras like day or week access to the Aspen Club & Spa, seating at the Downhill Costume parade, VIP gift bags, lift tickets, and a charitable donation.
Or save a bundle by volunteering ? it's work, sure, but a great way to attend the events and earn a pass in the process. (We think that warm fuzzy feeling you can only get by pitching in beats a hot toddy any day.) From event setup to breakdown, as well as administrative assistance, the producers need all kinds of volunteers. E-mail Bryan Gonzales (firstname.lastname@example.org) for info.
Visit Aspen Gay Ski Week (www.gayskiweek.com) to purchase event passes and book lodging. All but the luxury rooms in the Limelight Lodge host hotel are sold out, but $199 rooms at affiliated properties are still available if you act quickly. Weekly lift tickets can be had for a group rate of $61 per day, versus $97 at the walk-up price.