Every January for almost four decades, giant rainbow flags fly from lampposts all along Aspen’s Main Street to celebrate Gay Ski Week, with the whole town coming out (so to speak) for the party—and it is one hell of a party. Rainbow flags aside, it’s one of the most colorful weeks of the ski season by far. Now in its 41st year, this year’s event is bound to be great!
We caught up with our resident Aspen local for the inside line on the best parties, can’t-miss events, and how to pace yourself through a week of non-stop go-go-go (or just go-go if you want to jump on the tables and dance).
Here’s the lowdown:
1) Hydrate or Die
Not only is the altitude a killer (warning: 2 drinks = 4) but you’ll be sweating it out at the parties so you have to drink something besides, well, drinks. I tell all the flatlander boys to drink at least one large bottle of Evian per day, and not a bad idea to chase down a couple Ibuprofen with that while you’re at it (or what we mountain men like to refer to as “Vitamin I”) to mitigate altitude sickness. (By the by, you can blame almost anything on the altitude, from your less-than-stellar workout to the severity of your hangover).
2) Instead of “Can’t Miss Thursday TV” check out …
The most overlooked party by far is Bianca Del Rio’s Comedy Cabaret & Dance Party on Thursday night. It’s always the most fun but lots of people miss out. Another little fun Aspen fact: Thursday nights are traditionally a big party nigh in Aspen. I’m not sure if it’s because of the “work hard/play hard mentality” or the fact that (let’s be honest) our little Tinsel Town is overrun with trust funders who don’t really have to work, but it’s a great vibe regardless so you don’t want to miss out on Thursday night’s event if for no other reason than to be out on the town.
3) Don’t be a drag, go drag.
Hands down one of the best, can’t-miss events of the week is the Downhill Costume Party and Competition at the base of Aspen Mountain. The whole town comes out to celebrate and cheer on the competitors in this wild (and somewhat racy) race. I highly recommend buying a table for this. It’s always a blast and loads if fun, so you might as well have a front row seat. You’ll make loads of new friends and maybe even find your Friday night date!
4) Get wet and wild: saving the best for last.
The Saturday Night Pool Party is the big, er, climax of the week and should rquire a little primping. If you forgot your favorite Keihl’s or want to get a facial to look your finest, drop by the Cos Bar on Galena for all your beauty needs. The pool party is a must do but take as little as possible because locker space is at a minimum. Less is more: All you need is your swimsuit and a coat darling!
Here’s my personal lineup of can’t miss Aspen Gay Ski Week Events:
Thursday, January 18
Come for a very special night of comedy and raunchy entertainment at the Belly Ip Aspen. After the slopes, take in some comedy realness, with comedians and entertainers selected by Drag Queen royalty. Expect unexpected moments and some very special surprises. Comedians include Julie Goldman and Justin Sayre. Get your tickets now and be ahead of the game. $75 general admission and $95 for reserved seating for both shows, including a late-night dance party with DJ Guy Scheiman following the comedy show.
WHITE PARTY AT THE SUNDECK (TOP OF ASPEN MOUNTAIN)
Friday January 19
We are returning to the top of Aspen Mountain for our Friday Night Dance Party with DJ Dylan! Dress in your winter white, and enjoy complimentary cocktails starting at 9 p.m. from Budweiser and Woody Creek Vodka. Tickets are $150 in advance, and there is a special VIP section for Patrons and PatronsXL passholders.
DOWNHILL COSTUME CONTEST & PARTY
Saturday, January 20
The costume content will be hosted by Sister Helen Holy (Paul J. Williams) and will be judged by a “roster of personalities.” Tables for this event are sold out, but contestants are still needed! If you are interested in competing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to register. Prizes are First Place ($1000), Second Place ($500), and Third Place ($250).
GRAND FINALE POOL PARTY SATURDAY NIGHT
Saturday, January 20
We know that you wait for this all year! An indoor pool party extravaganza with dancing, DJ, hosted bar, food, drinks, two pools, water slide, fountains, lazy river and steam rooms and a VIP area for Patrons. Don’t miss the grand finale of Aspen Gay Ski Week at the pool. Towels and lockers are available and transportation is through RFTA or you can cab it or drive. Tickets are $135 in advance, but will be more expensive at the door. Hosted bar & snacks will be served for this event. This event, as is most AGSW events, is for ages 21 and older. NO EXCEPTIONS. All AGSW Passes honored.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Official Aspen Gay Ski Week web site.