What do you get when you mix together a bunch of gay boys, a giant rainbow flag and a huge pile of Canadian snow? The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival of course!
We were very excited to attend the 26th annual Whistler Pride week in January 2018. We love skiing, especially gay ski festivals as they always have the best parties.
Where is Whistler?
Whistler is a small town north of Vancouver in the British Columbia province of Canada. It's famous for having one of the largest ski resorts in North America and for hosting some of the events of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Check out the Tourism Whistler website for more information.
The town is surrounded by two mountains: Whistler (2,184m/7,165ft) and Blackcomb (2,436m/7,992ft). There are over 200 marked ski trails in between the two mountains, catering to all difficulty levels: green for beginners, blue for intermediate, black for advanced and double blacks for people who are just plain mad!
The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival is one of the biggest and best LGBTQ ski events in North America. We absolutely loved it and highly recommend it to all gay travellers seeking out a gay ski event to attend. To show you just how awesome it was, here are our 5 amazing things to do during the Whistler Pride week.
#1 WHISTLER PRIDE PARADE: skiing with pride!
Let's start with the basics, the skiing. It's pretty damn awesome here. Why? Whistler boasts one of the best yearly snow conditions, receiving an annual average of 11.7m (
One of the best things about the Whistler Pride festival is the parade. We started at the top of a green slope, giant rainbow flags to hand, then skied all the way down, continuing through the centre of Whistler town, with a fun large crowd growing alongside us by the minute.
We've been to many pride parades during our travels, like the gay pride in Montreal and Puerto Vallarta to name a few, but never have we been in a gay pride parade which involved snow and skiing. It's unique, unreal, loads of fun and definitely worth checking out.
#2 WHISTLER PRIDE EVENTS: pool parties, après ski & more
There are many different Whistler Pride events taking place, which are reason alone to come. Every day we had a happy hour cocktail at the gay après ski with our group. Then after dinner, there was a large party taking place, which would go into the early hours of the next day.
The Whistler Pride pool party called Splash was our favourite. Imagine partying with a group of gay boys in Speedos, splashing about in a large pool, with live music, disco lights and of course, the obligatory pink flamingo floats.
Other fun Whistler Pride events we loved were the Furrocious fetish party, the Snowball closing party and the comedy night featuring the hilarious Margaret Cho. She was absolutely brilliant and completely brought the house down.
#3 SNOWMOBILE TOUR: feeling like Elsa on a motor sled
There are many activities you can do at Whistler alongside skiing and ogling speedo-clad guys at the pool party. One of our favourites was riding a snowmobile through thick piles of snow, in a scenery completely white, everything completely frozen over.
We rented a couple of snowmobiles and did a guided tour with Tag Whistler. We went away from all the crowds of skiers into untrodden paths, which you can only access with a snowmobile. It was just us powering through this white paradise – a truly unique feeling you can't beat.
And guess what happens when a group of gay boys get their hands on a few snowmobiles…
#4 LUXURIOUS SPAS: relax after skiing all day
If you're starting to get snow board and piste-off at all these skiers, you may just Après-ciate a dip in a nice luxurious spa. There's surely snow-thing else more relaxing than that…
After a full day of skiing, we were craving a spa session. We were recommended by many locals the divine Scandinave Spa. We can see why! It's stunning here, beautifully decorated with a mix of outdoor cold/hot baths, relaxation rooms, saunas and steam rooms. There's also a strict silence policy in place, so no chatting, and absolutely no phones allowed!
Definitely a place to check out in Whistler.
#5 PEAK 2 PEAK GONDOLA RIDE: cure your vertigo!
The Peak 2 Peak is a tri-cable gondola lift that links the two big mountains. It goes between the Roundhouse Lodge at Whistler Mountain to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb mountain. The cabins hang as high as 435m/1,427 ft, travelling nearly 3.2km/2miles without passing a single support tower. Not the place to come if you suffer from serious vertigo!
Skiers use it to access new trails across the two mountains. For non-skiers, the Peak 2 Peak Gondolas are a sightseeing highlight in Whistler. The views from above are just stunning – everything below you covered in a blanket of snow.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR WHISTLER PRIDE
- Whistler Pride 2019 dates: the 27th Whistler Pride week will take place on 20-27 January.
- How to buy tickets: book on the official website for the latest deals for hotel packages and more.
- Where to stay in Whistler: the Aava Whistler hotel is the official Whistler Pride hotel. For a more romantic experience, we recommend the Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel, which is where we stayed, and absolutely loved it.
- Whistler gay bars: there are no gay bars or clubs in Whistler. However, every place we visited was extremely gay friendly and welcoming to us.
- How to get to Whistler: Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the closest international airport, 135km/84m south. Driving time to Whistler from Vancouver is around 2-2.5 hours along the scenic Highway 99. You can also fly in to Seattle or Bellingham airports, then transfer to Whistler from there.
OUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL TIPS
⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.
⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers (gay or not) can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.
⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where gay dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.
⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.
⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.
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