Gay Ski Week

In the coming days, as Aspen Gay Ski Week descends on town and the festivities move from mountain to mountain and club to club, it’s OK to take a little pride in Aspen’s gay-friendliness. You’re here. You’re part of the open-minded attitude that allowed the country’s first (and, for many years, only) gay ski week to take root nearly 40 years ago and blossom into the ballyhooed affair it is these days.

You contribute to the all-inclusive vibe that allowed Aspen, way back in 1979, to become the first city in Colorado with gay rights protections (even ahead of Boulder). So go ahead and feel good about yourself even if you have no intention of partaking in any Gay Ski Week festivities. It’s OK. No one is going to force you to attend anything, but you might have fun if you do. 

The week starts off Sunday with Aspen Mountain as the “Mountain du Jour,” with a rotation including Highlands and Snowmass to follow, and there will be parties, dinners, yoga, art walks, a comedy show at the Belly Up, a Big Gay Ice Show and, of course, the famous Downhill Costume Competition and party next Friday. It may seem like a lot, but there’s nothing threatening to anyone’s masculinity there. It just sounds like a lot of fun.

But I still get it. It’s not your thing. That’s fine. There are still ways to show how open-minded and tolerant you are without having to be amongst dozens of men who aren’t the least bit interested in you. You can still be the good person you know you are and show the women in your life you have a thoughtful side.

Tonight, there are art openings at Aspen Art Museum, The Art Base and Toklat Gallery in Basalt, Carbondale Clay Center and CMC Art Share at Morgridge Commons in Glenwood Springs. Saturday night brings talented singer-songwriter Liz Vice to the Wheeler Opera House, and Carbondale will welcome The Salon, an evening of spoken-word performance, poetry, dance and multimedia, that night to the Launchpad.

Later in the week there are things like a cooking class, a free physics lecture and a lecture series at the Aspen Art Museum called “Art and Empathy.” All not gay, and all guaranteed to earn you major sensitivity points. They may not be quite as fun as parties and comedy events, but at least there will be little chance of another man mistakenly complimenting you.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at

Special Sections Editor