What's been a winter tradition for 45 years continues in 2022 as the Aspen Gay Ski Week (AGSW) event is happening from January 16 to January 22, 2022.
This will be a week of snow bunny in-person get-togethers on and off the slopes. Keep in mind, organizers are still finalizing all the details and protocols for crowd safety, but you can start planning for your trip, including purchasing your pass right now.
The history of the weekend goes back to the late 70s. A group of men who loved skiing decided they would band together with other ski clubs to create a celebration every winter. Back then each club would host a gathering where “let’s put on a show” was the common theme.
For many gay people back then this was their only escape away from the hustle and bustle of a prejudiced world. The events became quintessential to enthusiasts who enjoy snow sports and the socialization of like-minded adventurers.
"One party became many parties," reads the official events page. "Hot tub get-togethers became the Saturday night pool party. Spur of the moment “catch as catch can” drag shows became the downhill costume contest. Disco became house and then deep house, electronica, and dance. Well of course it began as a way to meet guys and have fun. But at its roots Aspen Gay Ski Week is also about politics and civil rights."
Even though the gay rights movement was making progress, some parts of the country considered liberal were still operating on cautious trepidation. Aspen was one of those places.
One of the founders of AGSW, Jon Busch, was arrested for dancing with a man in Aspen which began his fight for equality --- a fight he eventually won in the resort town in 1979. Boulder and Denver would eventually follow.
Then in 1992, "Amendment 2" was passed which stripped the LGBTQ community of everything they had fought so hard to get in Colorado.
"This constitutional amendment revoked and repealed all existing gay rights legislation such as Aspen’s and prevented any further gay rights legislation from being passed either at the local or state level. It was a blow and not the good kind. There was liberal outrage across Colorado and the United States to this effort to deny gays basic civil rights and liberties."
People started to effectively boycott Colorado which did a lot of damage to their tourism trade. And when Hollywood got involved the fate of a once-thriving tourist industry was buried beneath the cold.
Because of these setbacks and the increase in for-profit ski weeks. AGSW became incorporated in 1996 as a non-profit business.
Finally, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Amendment 2 was unconstitutional; a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. Eventually, the courts ruled in favor of gay civil rights, not just in Colorado, but the entire country, and LGBTQ tourism became a monetary force to be reckoned with.
Neither inequality nor Coronavirus can keep the community down for long. The AGSW event in 2022 is gearing up to be one of the best ever. Following safety guidelines and other protocols, skiing in Aspen is back.
With food gatherings, great entertainment, and of course plenty of schussing, AGSW is going to be a fun event that's been over four decades in the making.
For more information, including tickets and event details click HERE and get your gear together for a weeklong winter event.
*All photos courtesy of Aspen Gay Ski Week--Flickr.