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Winter Pride a big snowball of cool, Gay fun
by David Luc Nguyen - SGN A&E Writer

Have you ever seen a pack of guys wearing pink feather boas ski by you at 40+ miles per hour? Can you recall a time in your life that you danced at the top of a snow-covered mountain with nearly 1,000 sexy, shirtless guys? Have you ever spent an evening sipping a glass of wine as you prepared erotic foods with other sexy singles? If your answer to these questions is no, then you haven't had the pleasure of attending Winter Pride in Whistler, British Columbia. It's a hot (as in sexy) weekend designed to attract Gay and Lesbian skiers (and several non-skiers) from across North America. For Seattleites, it was a convenient and exciting way to ski the days away, sip cocktails in the afternoon, taste the great restaurants the resort town had to offer, and then burn off those calories by shaking your booty. As an added bonus, you did it at the site of the 2010 Olympics Alpine Skiing events.

Last week, more than 2,500 non-hetero guys and gals from all over the continent (including many from Seattle) ascended to the Black Comb Mountain Ski Resort to frolic in the snow for the 16th Annual Winter Pride Week in British Columbia. Participants were treated to a phenomenal variety of both indoor and outdoor activities. Not wanting to miss out on all the great experiences Whistler had to offer, mornings and afternoons could either be spent enjoying truly exciting ski runs or simply communing with Mother Nature. Evenings were very social; men and women "canoodling" with a cocktail in hand and dancing the night away. It was a tossup of which activities were more exhausting and fun. Here's what you missed, and what to look forward to next year.

The crowd
A large majority of the attendees were Gay white males, ranging from their late 20s to late 40s. There were quite a few "bears" present, too, which was surprising because I thought bears hibernate during the winter. The higher-than-average-aged folks usually associated with Pride festivities and circuit parities may have been due in part to the expenses associated with Winter Pride. Tickets to events ranged anywhere from $15-$125. Add lodging expenses and lift tickets, and a person could easily spend $500-$1,500 for the long weekend.

Outdoor activities
Even though it was Winter Pride, there were more straights in Whistler than there were 'mos, so I really enjoyed the Queer ski groups that gave visitors opportunities to make friends with other homos wanting to hit the slopes. Other "family" events (rainbow family, that is) included a sunset sleigh ride with Gay and Lesbian cuties, and a dogsled tour where I got to drive my own team of Alaskan Racing Huskies (I always knew I'd be head bitch one day).

Other non-Gay nature-centric activities included a Zip Trek Ecotour, in which you're in a gondola suspended high above the whitewater river that divides Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains that was part sight seeing, part environmental education. There's nothing's sexier than Gays going green.

Indoor activities
After spending the day in the snow, there was an abundance of ways to defrost and ride out the rest of your evening with a slew of apres ski (after skiing) events like cocktail hours, dining experiences to give you a taste of local restaurants, and a thriving nightlife.

The most memorable (and warm) parts of the week included the Winter Pride Banquet, which had a live singer and a performance by Cirque Du Soleil - Zumanity, the Queerly Canadian Comedy night headlined by Last Comic Standing's Debra Digiovanni, and the Costume Party at Garfinkels.

There were also great chances to shake your groove thing at the Brokeback-Western Themed Party, the Costume Ball, The Manhunt T-Dance, and the L Party. By far the most exciting and expensive parties were The Mountain Top party in a lodge that overlooked Whistler Village and the closing event, Snoball, with DJ David Knapp from Atlanta that lasted until 5 a.m. There was a lot of eye candy too, as the guys from BC's Next Gay Top Model competition made the crowd drool for appearing as go-go boys baring all but their low-rise boot cut jeans and white jockstraps. It was also apparent some of the guys were hitting a different kind of white powder than the slopes were able to provide. The music was a good mix of classic club hits to more current tracks, like Janet Jackson's new single set to a house beat.

The Winter Pride experience was definitely not what I remember it being. Between all of the events, socializing, and skiing, it was a pretty grueling few days. The weeklong event has really redefined itself as more than just a party weekend that we often associate with Pride events or circuit parties. It's found the balance between good vigorous outdoor excitement and a fun, hip party week.
 

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