Tenth Annual Telluride Gay Ski Week Starts Friday
by Marta Tarbell
Feb 21, 2013 | 1469 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

TELLURIDE - “Telluride” is the operative word in Telluride Gay Ski Week, the ski- hard, party-hearty event that comes to town every year on the heels of Presidents’ Day weekend, said event co-founder John McGill.

Staffers in the Telluride Ski and Golf Co.  marketing department first approached McGill and his StraightOut Media & Marketing business partner (and GSW co-founder Scott Barretto) more than a decade ago with the idea for Telluride Gay Ski Week, which takes over the Mountain Village a ski mountain by day, and Telluride/Mountain Village bars and restaurants by night, for ten days of nonstop fun. 

“We did a pretty extensive survey this last year of people who attend Gay Ski Week,” McGill said this week, from his StraightOut Media & Marketing, in Dallas, which produces and promotes Gay Ski Week, “and what makes Telluride so popular is the skiing.” 

Of course, GSW brings most of the nightlife with it, with hot-ticket events that range from Sunday’s Night at the Oscars to Tuesday’s performance by Coco Peru to the legendary White Party and, new this year, Dick’s Night out. 

“We always try to be edgy,” said McGill, of event planning, “and I think you’ll find, if you look at our website, a lot of innuendo.”

The parties draw locals and visitors, gay and straight, and “it seems like Gay Ski Week is the favorite week of the year” for both straights and gays. 

And that’s no accident. “We’re a lot of fun,” McGill  said of the gay crowd, “and when we all get together, we have a lot of fun. We like to celebrate life.”

Gay Ski Week celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and celebrants keep on coming back (and bringing their friends), McGill said, because “they love the town. “ From challenging ski runs to a stimulating nightlife, “It’s hard to find a town atmosphere that matches Telluride.” 

McGill went skiing last month wearing his $80 T-Pass, a GSW ski-discount card. “I got on the lift, “ and the lift operator, upon recognizing it, “started jumping up and down and hugging me and saying, ‘We can’t wait until you guys come up here.

“We feel grateful,” said McGill, who has worked with various local boards and organizations over the years, from Telluride Ski and Golf Co., which initiated the event, to the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Assn., “and they’ve al been very supportive” of the event.

“People go out of their way to volunteer,” he added.

As gays are increasingly integrated into America’s mainstream, does McGill envision a world in which labels like “gay” and “straight” will cease to define us?

“One thing I’ve noticed over the last decade,” he said, “is that younger kids don’t seem to see a line at all,” based on people’s sexual preferences. Increasingly, he said, “It’s just who you ultimately are,” and that’s really “what everybody really wants, just to be who they are. 

“Everyone falls somewhere on the scale,” he said, and “really, we’re finding labels harder and harder. It will be great if we can someday live without them.”

Although, he added, when that day comes, “We’ll still call it Gay Ski Week. 

“We still have to call it something.”


Gay Ski Week by Night

Friday, Feb. 22

Early Comers Bar Meet, 9 p.m.

Kru Bar at SMAK at the Hotel Madeline 


Saturday, Feb. 23

First Day Down Draft, 9 p.m .

Tomboy Tavern

Sunday, Feb. 24

Oscar Night Bar Watching Party, 5-10 p.m.

Kru Bar at SMAK at the Hotel Madeline 

Monday, Feb. 25

Ten Amazing Years Shot Party, 9 p.m.

The Little Bar at Lumiere in Mountain Village

Reichen Lehmkuhl toasts ten years. 

Tuesday, Feb. 26

The Coco Club, 8 p.m.

Hotel Madeline – Mountain Village  

The world-famous drag comedian Miss Coco Peru hits Telluride for a one-night only special performance.

Wednesday, Feb. 27

Dick’s Night Out (9 p.m. on)

Tomboy Tavern – Mountain Village

Thursday, Feb. 28 

The Annual White Night Party, 9 p.m.

Ballroom at Hotel Madeline – Mountain Village


Friday, March 1

Down Low Friday! 9 p.m.

Honga’s (Underground) – Telluride

Saturday, March 2

Telluride AIDS Benefit Gala Fashion Show

Telluride Conference Center – Mountain Village

Telluride’s own Project Runway!  

TAB After Party, 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m.

Sheridan Opera House – Telluride 


Sunday, March 3

Après Ski, 4-6 p.m.

Kru Bar at SMAK at the Hotel Madeline


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