"This is the first Telluride Gay Ski since the defeat of the marginalizing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy for our LGBTQ U.S. military service members," says Reichen Lehmkuhl, celebrity host of Telluride Gay Ski Week, in a news release touting the event.
Telluride Gay Ski Week 2012 runs from February 25 through March 3, and promoters are hosting a military-themed "Do Ask, Do Tell" dance party and offering free VIP "T-Pass" party passes (otherwise $150) to all active service members to mark the occasion. "I'm excited not only to see the end result of so many years of my and our community's hard work to end it," Lehmkuhl says of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, "but also that so many of my military friends will be able to join us openly at Telluride Gay Ski Week. If all of this isn't a reason to celebrate together, I don't know what is!"
Lehmkuhl, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former USAF captain, is best known for winning season four of The Amazing Race with then-partner Chip Arndt and, more recently, for his 2006 memoir Here's What We'll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force, as well as his work as a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
Proceeds from the annual Telluride Gay Ski Week festivities support the Telluride AIDS Benefit, a local nonprofit. This year's schedule kicks off with an après-ski welcome reception at the Peaks Resort, 136 Country Club Drive, on Saturday, February 25. There are daily "Meet & Eat" lunches on the mountain and parties every night, of course, including an Oscars party on Sunday and the annual White Night party on Thursday, March 1.
The must-see events, though, whether you're a participant or a spectator, will be the Wig Run (last run of the day on Wednesday, February 29, at 3 p.m.) and the Telluride AIDS Benefit Fashion Show on closing night, Saturday, March 3.
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See the complete schedule here.