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Vail steps up its Gay Ski Week

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Vail’s Gay Ski Week, Jan. 27-31, comes the week after Aspen hosts its 33rd annual Gay Ski Week. Though Vail has taken a couple of stabs at a gay ski week – it was skipped during last season’s economic downturn – organizers are stepping it up in a big way this season with hopes of luring 500 to 1,000 attendees, according to Tommy Hoffman, founder of the Vail event and owner of Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals in Vail.

“We know that we can grow this to [be] 3,000- to 5,000-people strong,” he said.

Aspen’s Gay Ski Week, hosted by the Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund, will take place Jan. 17-24. Peter Helburn, the fund’s interim director, said he doesn’t expect the Vail event to compete with Aspen’s. The local group is glad to hear Vail is creating more visibility for the Eagle County gay and lesbian community, he said.



Eighty percent of Aspen’s Gay Ski Week attendees come from out of state, Helburn estimated. Roughly 1,500 to 2,000 people attended last winter’s Aspen event, he said.

Hoffman, too, doesn’t expect the two events to compete. He anticipates Vail will draw heavily from the Denver area, but will seek out destination travelers, as well.

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“In no way shape or form did we want this to be competition for any other ski weeks, specifically Telluride or Aspen,” he said.

Telluride’s seventh annual Gay Ski Week is scheduled Feb. 20-27.

Vail organizers are this year working with the business community to secure special ski week deals, and Vail Resorts will offer special lift ticket pricing and ski school deals in conjunction with the event, according to Hoffman. The Dallas company that markets Telluride’s Gay Ski Week has been hired to promote the Vail event, he said.



Parties, apres ski socializing, group skiing and icy dips with the Vail Splash Club are among the planned events, along with a dinner to benefit the GLBT Community Center of Colorado in Denver.

For the party scene, Hoffman envisions “bringing the best of the [gay] bar scene from Denver into Vail.”

A Gay Summer Week is also planned next August, he said.

janet@aspentimes.com


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