by David Luc Nguyen -
SGN Contributing Writer
In grade school, we learned that bears hibernate during the winter. Hibernation is a state of inactivity, lowered body temperatures, slowed breathing, and extended periods of slumber.
This week in Whistler, I learned that this is simply not true. Sexy bears and cubs joined twinks, circuit boys, Lesbians, and athletic supporters from all over the world to descend on the former Olympic Alpine site to show their Winter Pride.
Winter Pride - often called Gay and Lesbian ski week - offers an alternative to the usual party, party, party atmosphere Gay men and women have become accustomed to during pride. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of partying, but Whistler offers other events in tandem for the more athletically inclined event goers. There was a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities to choose from, sure to appease even the most physically active, granola-eating Seattlite.
SGN readers can now get to the snowy paradise much easier and faster than before. Road construction and other modes of transportation following the Winter Olympics last year changed the trip from six hours to just over four hours. Just watch out for Canadian Mounted Patrols, because as I found out they are quick to target lead-footed Americans. I was pulled over for going 80 MPH in a 50 KPH zone. That means I was going twice the speed limit! Also, laws are different in Canada, where flashing yellow lights actually means stop at the light instead of slow and proceed with caution. Both tickets would have ended up costing me $1,150 dollars, and with two violations, they would have impounded my car for seven days! Luckily, the very cute and kind Mountie gave me a break with a warning. After our brush with the law, we cautiously proceeded to the top of the mountain ready to take in everything that Gay Whistler had to offer.
During the day, we hit the challenging ski runs, shopped in the Olympic Village, socialized at the après-ski (after skiing), and attended various charitable events. The most memorable and unique parts of our days were the dogsled run, zip trek, and snowmobile eco-tours, where we were able to enjoy the mountain's natural beauty.
Evenings were spent catching up with old friends we met during previous Winter Prides, treating our palettes to exquisite food and wine from all over the world, and mingling with new friends over strong cocktails. Late nights offered the usual circuit events such as Furrocious, Purrlesque, and the marquee event, Snoball. Thursday night even had a pool party - leave it to Gay men to find any reason to wear a Speedo. Hundreds of people had the opportunity to dance the night away to great music from featured artists including DJ Ted Eiel, Zayra of Rockstar, Diamond Minx, Maggie Pie, and DJ Nick Bertossi. Around 3 a.m., it was also apparent some of the guys were hitting a different kind of white powder than the slopes were able to provide.
My only complaint is that tickets to these events ranged anywhere from $15-$90. Add in lift tickets (at $70 each, versus $40 at Washington ski resorts), dining, and lodging, and a person could easily spend more than $1,500 for the long weekend.
Winter Pride has redefined itself as more than just a meat market/party weekend that we often associate with circuit parties. Producers of the event have found a nice balance between good vigorous outdoor excitement and exciting social events that has become the must-attend event of the winter season.
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