When I was a young Colorado gay-ling, circa 1995, when I first heard about Aspen Gay Ski Week I thought, "Heavens to Betsy! Ski slopes full of gay men? Exactly how far away is Aspen?" Despite not caring a lick about skiing, I was seventeen and the idea of an event with "gay" in its name in our Amendment 2-riddled state was reason to fantasize about packing a knapsack, hobo-style, and hitchhiking (I was obsessed with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues at the time) my way to this brazen homo-event.
Further inspection of the flier quickly made me realize that anyone not of legal age (and with only my allowance money) was not going to have a great time just hanging around in the cold outside of scores of amazing, sexy parties, and that I should probably save my allowance for that Super Nintendo I wanted, anyhow. But then even further inspection showed me the history behind the event, which suddenly elevated it beyond just an ice- covered pleasuredome. See also: Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage Forty Years Ago
In 1976 what had been a yearly gathering of ski clubs for the sake of getting guys together to meet and have fun ran into some trouble when two men danced together in an Aspen bar and set tongues wagging. After that, the gay ski week became a fun rallying cry for equal rights and eventually turned into a fundraiser for local gay communities -- which it remains today: All proceeds from the event benefit the Roaring Fork Gay And Lesbian Community Fund.
This year's Aspen Gay Ski Week runs from January 11 through January 18, and you don't need me to give you a breakdown of the countless ski days, dance parties, singles mixers and brunches. Instead, I'm going to reveal the top three events that have nothing to do skiing, dancing furiously with go-go boys or eating quiche with the ladies. For everything else, go to gayskiweek.com and start scheduling around them.
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Rocky Horror Picture Show 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 13 Wheeler Opera House How dare anybody screen this classic cult film on a weekday and before 10 p.m.? But after a few days of shooting down slopes and hopping in and out of nude hot tubs, an early night spent at the historic Wheeler doing the Time Warp in your Magenta costume will have you primed and ready to take on another mountain or tub the next day. Tom Bianchi's Fire Island Pines | Polaroids 1975-1983 Exhibit & Signing 7 p.m. Thursday, January 15 Nugget Gallery To go along with decades of documenting gays frolicking on the slopes, we can only hope that legendary photographer Tom Bianchi will bust out his lens at some Aspen parties this year and create a new book as fun as his most recent Fire Island Pines|Polaroids 1975-1983, which will be the focus of an exhibition and book-signing tonight at the Nugget Gallery. Bianchi has been capturing the tasteful, erotic nature of the male form just hanging out and having a good time, and may just make you offer up your bod for some modeling of your own. Lezberados Comedy Show 8 p.m. Friday, January 16 Belly Up Sandra Valls and Mimi Gonzalez are the Lezberados, a lesbian comedy duo who promise a spicy blend of laughs with their combined Mexican and Cuban heritage and boisterous personalities on stage. There are dozens of Sapphic events during the ski week, but we all know that comedy is a great way to do some girl-watching -- and might even give you some material to bring it home with some lucky lady.
For more information on Aspen Gay Ski Week, visit gayskiweek.com
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Dear Constant Reader, you can learn more about Keith Garcia on Twitter: @ConstantWatcher