The Rainbow Connection: Aspen Gay Ski Week

A fabulous costume event, lots of après-ski mingling, and wildly creative nightly parties are a given. But there’s a lot more to Aspen Gay Ski Week (AGSW) than a jam-packed schedule of activities, dress-up, and merriment.

“It’s like the entire small town comes out to welcome us,” says Chicago-based Jim Guttau, about to return for his 11th year as a spokesperson for the event. “The first time I came to AGSW, I went by myself, and the next year I brought a friend. Now there are eight of us who come from all over.”

Guttau’s not alone in bringing a crowd. More than 5,000 guests flock to the Roaring Fork Valley to support the nation’s oldest annual gay ski week. Now in its 42nd year, AGSW attracts visitors from around the planet. Rainbow flags abound, and the community opens its arms to support the celebrations. AGSW attendees ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and hike by day, then attend parties by night. Among them are a fab Top-of-the-Mountain dance party on the sundeck at Aspen Mountain and a Winter Pool Party at the Aspen Recreation Center. The week’s highlights include a costume ski competition, which draws a crowd to the base of Aspen Mountain to see solo competitors and groups ski down in creative getups.

The money raised from AGSW, of which Douglas Elliman is a proud sponsor, supports the nonprofit AspenOUT, which provides grants to local and national organizations and scholarships to Valley youth. Ticket package prices start at $375 for the week.

“I love the feeling of community and the fun,” says Guttau, “but what touched me most was meeting a young person who told me that the week and the people made him feel less alone and gave him the courage to come out.”

—By Kate Meyers

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