Our gay couple travel diary of Whistler Pride 2018 Gay Ski Week in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Our second Gay Ski Week in Canada, to British Columbia’s Whistler, to be precise. Together with hundreds of gay men, lesbian women, and all members of the LGBTQ+ community, we spent a week on the slopes of the Canadian Ski Resort Whistler Blackcomb enjoying incredibly much Canadian powder snow. Besides the usual winter sports like skiing and snowboarding through the British Columbian dense forest, Gay Whistler offers several different winter sports like zip-lining and snowmobiling organized by The Adventure Group Whistler.
– in collaboration with Whistler Pride –
Next to all the sporting, a lot of LGBTQ+ events were on our list. Starting with the night of comedy with Margaret Cho, the LGBTQ+ Social Media Workshop and a special dinner evening at Bearfoot restaurant. After dinner, it was time to dress up for the famous Furocious Party, the Splash Pool Party, the Sip N’ Dip at the Scandinave Spa and the great closing event Snowball. The highlight of our week in Whistler was undoubtedly the gay pride parade with dozens of rainbow flags on the ski hill of Whistler and through Whistler Village kicking off gay pride season in Canada. Join us on our trip to the first Canadian gay pride together with hundreds of gay men and members of the LGBTQ+ community from all over the world. Experience the Whistler Pride & Ski Festival 2018 with our gay travel diary through a couple of men’s eyes.
Day 1: Arriving in the Winter Wonderland of Whistler, BC
But let’s go back to the beginning of our adventure. Before we hit the road to Whistler, we spent some delicious days in Vancouver, exploring the food scene, trying the international cuisine of these 13 awesome restaurants in Vancouver. As you can imagine, we couldn’t wait for our trip to the mountains north of Vancouver to begin. On Tuesday early in the morning, our day began with WESTCOAST Sightseeing Guided Tour picking us up near our hotel, The Douglas Vancouver. It was a pouring morning, but our guide of the day promised us a “white surprise”. The 1,5-hour road trip from Vancouver to Whistler brought us along the famous scenic Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) with a short stop at the Shannon Falls and the discovery center of Squamish. The higher our green tour bus climbed the mountains, the more rain mixed with heavy snowfall. Just like 20 minutes before we reached Whistler, we entered a true winter wonderland.
Staying at Aava Hotel Whistler
Our accommodation, the Aava Hotel Whistler, is located just a 5-min walk from the village center. Our room was on the 3rd floor, facing the entrance side of the building. Our room was equipped with a king size bed, TV, safe, coffee machine and a spacious bathroom with bath. On the backside of the hotel, an outdoor hot tub and pool gave us the opportunity to warm up and relax after a day on the slope of Whistler Blackcomb (beware of the “Bear Puddle” right before dinner). Good to know, the hotel offers free rental Go Pro for its guests. Book your Aava hotel stay in Whistler >
Zip Lining & Snowmobiling with TAG Whistler
You know it already, we love to try every adventure indoors and outdoors coming our way. Unsurprisingly, we put a Zip-Lining experience and a snowmobiling tour on our itinerary. What an incredible outdoor activity, flying 180 meters above the dense Canadian forest with around 100 km/h! Back on the ground, we jumped on a ski-doo riding through a magical world of ice and snow on a twilight snowmobiling tour. Read more about our Winter Adventure >
Dinner at Bearfoot Bistro Whistler
Our first day in Whistler couldn’t have been more exciting and adventurous. But, as you can imagine, a day full of excitement in nature made us hungry. Together with our friends Dean Nelson (aka Mr. Gay Whistler), Josh Rimer and his boyfriend Heath, we planned a dinner evening at Bearfoot Bistro restaurant, which is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Whistler. We decided to go for a tasting menu with wine pairing. Highlights of the dinner evening was a visit to the huge wine cellar where Karl was able to saber his first champagne bottle ever! The food was delicious, the wines matched perfectly to our menu and the staff was super friendly and on-point. The next time we are there, we have to put a visit to the Ketel One Vodka Ice Room on our list.
Skiing in the Winter wonderland of Whistler
Thanks to our Jetlag which made us get up very early in the morning, we had no problem to get up at 6 am to be among the first on the slopes of the Canadian Ski Resort Whistler Blackcomb. The so-called “Fresh Tracks Skiing” enables ski and snowboard fans to be the first on the slopes before the ski resort opens to the public. Combined with a rich breakfast of champions at the Roundhouse Lodge, a day in Whistler couldn’t start better. The Whistler Village Gondola is open from 7:15 am on which means we had enough time to enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet featuring eggs, bacon, pastries, yogurt, and fruits. Although we couldn’t see the sunrise while enjoying our coffee, it was a stunning view over the Peak2Peak gondola and the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb. Read more >
We are always excited to find a good and special spa and wellness facility during our travels. And guess what, we found a great place to relax and warm up just about 10 minutes by shuttle bus from Whistler Village. The Scandinave Spa is located just outside of Whistler nestled in the Canadian forest. Several heated and cold pools together with saunas and steam room on different levels are just made to forget about the muscle pain from skiing and snowboarding. There is a strict silence policy throughout the whole facility. Only Exception: during the Whistler Pride Sip N’ Dip Party with live DJ snacks and drinks. Don’t miss it during the next Whistler Pride 2019, it always gets hot and steamy in and around the pools. Read more >
Night of Comedy with 5 times Emmy nominee Margaret Cho
A fixed event during the annual Whistler Pride week is the night of comedy at Whistler Conference Center (WCC). Following the steps of last years comedy events with Bianco del Rio and Pam Ann as the main acts, the one and only Margaret Cho caused uncountable fits of laughter. If (!) you are wondering who Margaret Cho is, she is an American stand-up comedian, actress, fashion designer, author, and singer-songwriter who was recently named one of the TOP 50 standup Comics of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. But before Cho’s comedy show started, the honorable Nancy Wilhelm-Morden presented the official Pride Festival declaration. A night not to miss during Whistler Pride Week.
Day 3: Exploring Whistler Village with Olympic Plaza
Whistler Village, officially named Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), is a Canadian Resort town found in 1914 with a permanent population of almost 10.000 people. Additional to that, a large number of mainly young Australians and Europeans working in the winter sports business rotating from season to season. Heart of the municipality is a pedestrian zone with two rainbow crosswalks, several shops, bars, and restaurants which reminded us of Disney’s Main Street. In the center of Whistler Village, the Olympic Plaza with its Olympic rings and an ice-skating arena remains a steady reminder of the Olympic Winter Games in 2010, when Whistler was the hosting Mountain Resort of the Games. Do not forget to take a walk through Whistler Village by night. The colorful light installations in the center are a crazy but colorful add-on.
We took some time to explore Whistler. One of our highlights was the architectural landmark, the “Audain Art Museum“. The Audain’s permanent collection showcases the art of British Columbia from the late 18th century to present, the important collection of 19th and 20th century First Nations masks and works by Emily Carr, E.J. Hughes as well as Jeff Wall and Stan Douglas and consistently visiting exhibitions of art from Canada and around the world. Whistler has its charm, besides the multiple Après-Ski locations with non-stop party atmosphere, which is, of course, part of the ski vacation experience as well.
Splash Pool Party at Meadow Park Whistler
Talking about warming up and relax after winter sporting… Party Highlight of the Gay Ski Week was undoubtedly the Splash Pool Party at Meadow Park Whistler. Together with hundreds of gay men, we celebrated a wet and warm “après-ski” party in the aquatic facilities such as the lap pool, children’s pool, steam room, sauna and hot tub. DJ Rafael Calvente from Brazil and his music mix ensured a relaxed atmosphere indoors, while big snowflakes covered Whistler in fresh, white powder snow. Our tips: bring slippers, waterproof cameras, and a towel and don’t come too late as you may nog be able to get a locker and the party lasts “only” for 4 hours! A free shuttle connects Whistler with the sports center outside the village. That was seriously a fun time with our old and a lot of new friends! More Photos of the Splash Pool Party >
Day 4: Whistler Pride with Ski Parade & March
It is Friday, the fourth day of our Gay Ski Week and finally time to color the snow-white ski slopes of Whistler Blackcomb in dozens of rainbows. It was time for the Pride Parade starting from the Midstation on Whistler Mountain all the way to Olympic Plaza. LGBTQ+ skiers and snowboarders gathered on the ski hills equipped with rainbow flags, rainbow huts, and costumes. So did we, as we were dressed in our vintage ski-overalls in pink and green, wearing ear muffs and a huge rainbow flag. Unfortunately, the speed of the rainbow pride parade on the slopes was pretty high, especially for beginners. But Karl made it all the way down with his GoPro getting the whole parade on tape. After everyone arrived at the bottom of the ski hill, it was time to take photos, videos and prepare for the gay pride march through Whistler Village.
The parade was lead by the official representatives and ambassadors of the First Nations in Whistler and British Columbia singing traditional songs and playing traditional drums. A huge rainbow flag was carried by dozens of proud men, women, and queer members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the whole march all the way to the Olympic Plaza. After a short closing speech by Dean Nelson, aka Mr. Gay Whistler, everyone was happily hugging each other sending a strong signal to the world and encourage all the Gay Pride events in Canada, North America, and the whole world to celebrate our colors in 2018!
Furrocious Party – Fetish, Uniform & Military Ball
The Pride event made us feel fantastic but seriously hungry. After our early dinner, or call it late lunch, we decided to take a rest before hitting the dance floor for Whistler Pride’s uniform and fetish party. Dressed in our Tom of Finland shirts, black leather shorts, and boots, we were ready to dance the night away together with our friends Barb, the Nomadic Boys and all the new friends we made in Whistler. DJ of the night was none other than superstar DJ/Producer GSP from Greece. For everyone who is new in traveling Canada, you should keep in mind, that bars and parties are closing their doors officially at 2 am in Canada. You do the math to be on time to actually have enough time to dance, flirt and to enjoy the sexy atmosphere of leather harnesses, sports outfits and anything from rubber to jockstraps.
Day 5: Sleep in and afternoon Skiing
Opening our sleepy eyes seeing heavy snowfall outside and temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius just made us wanna crawl back under the blankets but knowing it was our last day we got more excited to take our rental ski equipment from Summit Sports Ski Rental and jump in the next gondola to the Whistler or Blackcomb mountaintop. Although it took us more time to get out of our bed, get some breakfast and finally arrive at the ski hills, we have just been right on time to get some sunlight and cloud-free view opportunities. Since it would not have stopped snowing since we arrived, we caught some impressive moments while the sun made her way through the clouds bathing the slopes and the Canadian forest in mystical light. Not to mention the fluffy loads of snow. A perfect last day in British Columbia’s most famous ski resort Whistler.
Snowball26 – The Party Event with The Cube Boys
Finally, it was time for the mega event of Whistler Pride and Ski Festival 2018, the 26th edition of the snowball. The music of the night was brought to us by none other than The Cube Boys from Italy. And the music did exactly what it says on the tin. Combined with the laser show, a gigantic balloon iglu, dance shows and super hot gogo dancers made the Snowball26 the dignified final show of a week full of après-ski, winter sports as well as cold and hot fun. A special thank you goes out to Dean Nealson and his team of organizers, volunteers, and photographers who made our week in the mountains of British Columbia so super special. Thank you!
6: Check Out & Goodbye Whistler Pride 2018
The final party went on longer than expected until 5 am to be precise. That circumstance made it not that easy to check out by 11 am. But we managed on time taking the chance to jump on a shuttle bus heading towards Vancouver. But before our journey began, we had to say goodbye to Whistler, our friends and take the chance for a short photo shoot in our red Canadian onesies. Thank you, Dean Nelson, for organizing together with your team the best Gay Winter Event in the world! Thank you, Barb Snelgrove, for all the laughter and Gin nights! Thank you, Matt Skallerud, for organizing and hosting the social media workshop! Thank you, Josh Rimer and Heath, for being part of our outdoor adventure in the mountains around Whistler! Thank you, Stefan and Seby for all the naked moments you shared with us! We hope to see you all very soon again! Goodbye Whistler, it has been a real pleasure to be hosted by you!
Planning your Whistler Pride and Ski Festival in 2019
The dates for the 27th edition of the Gay Ski Week in Whistler have been announced already. The Whistler Pride and Ski Festival will be held from January 20th to January 27th, 2019. And there are already Super Early Bird Packages available for booking. Good to know if you are planning a gay ski event: come well rested (if you are planning to attend all après-ski events, parties, and guided ski tours), bring some friends to share the fun on the slopes and on the dance floor, don’t forget your swimwear, sun lotion, warm underwear, rainbow flags and, most important, come in a good mood to enjoy all the winter fun with all the other gay men and members of the LGBTQ+ community out there in Whistler, British Columbia. We will let you know if we will join again in 2019 as soon as possible! Until then, stay tuned to our blog and social media
Our Gay Couple Diary of Whistler Pride 2018 Gay Ski Week in Canada
Last year we attended our first Gay Ski Week in Jasper, Alberta. This year’s Ski Pride Event was a way bigger with more LGBTQ+ people attending. It truly was a worthy first Gay Pride of the year in Canada. Not only skier and snowboarder will love Whistler, the mountains and the people living and working here as everyone is very welcoming with diverse activities available for a perfect winter vacation. Additional to that, the combination of flying into Vancouver and enjoying some (jetlag) days in the city before hitting the mountains for the Gay Pride Event was just perfect for us. We definitely will come back to see all our friends again and to celebrate unity, equality, and respect for everyone in gay-friendly Whistler, BC.
Thank you to Tourism Whistler, Gay Whistler Pride, Delta Airlines, Aava Hotel and all the volunteers for making this wonderful trip possible. A special thanks go to Darnell Collins (Insta) and Steve Polyak (GayCalgary.com) for there beautiful photos supporting our blog article. Nevertheless, our opinion, our photos, our videos and our writings are our own, as always.