This is Olympic and X Games medalist Gus Kenworthy’s first Gay Ski Week since publicly coming out last October. It’s fitting that it is in his home town of Telluride (where the 24 year old grew up from the age of two) crafted his skiing prowess, brought his Sochi pups home to and where his adorable mum, Pip, owns the local vintage fashion store.

But there was a moment that the 2016 Telluride Gay Ski Week may not have ever happened. After a decade plus of bringing gay pride and lots of pink dollars to the traditionally liberal remote ski town the week was in trouble after the key sponsors, the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association surprisingly withdrew their support from the event’s previous owners.

Enter a new entity with new founders, new financial support and a shiny new gay ski week schedule and here we are. Bang smack (no pun intended) in the middle of the new Telluride Gay Ski Week as I type. The slopes are filled with fluro onesies and the Madeline roof top pool has become a giant hot tub of sculpted bods.

Local property broker from Telluride Luxury Rentals, Rosie Cusack, has been a long time gay community member in town. There’s no one in this town she doesn’t know and no one who doesn’t know her. She is in her own words “a big ideas person with creative vision” and knew just the person to execute and enhance that vision.

Enter Wendy Hampton, the name behind Soiree Telluride, a local events company regularly featured in the likes of Vogue and the go to wedding company for big names including Ralph Lauren.

“My mother died two years ago and she had a 17 year relationship with a woman” explains Wendy of her deep connection to the LGBT community. “This week means a lot to me and I’m excited for what’s ahead and the years to come. We have some pretty big ideas that will come to fruition.”

“We’re also working closely with the annual Telluride Aids Benefit and have worked our schedule around their events so we can share the love and joy” adds Rosie. “Gay Ski Week is organising the post Gala party on the Saturday night and I’m proud to say we have DJ RUCKUS in the house.”

With only three months to create an entire week of events, partnerships with local businesses and value add elements for the LGBT community (that hadn’t already booked elsewhere with such short notice) coming to town they’ve ‘done good’ and pulled some seriously impressive rabbits out of their fascinator hats.

It was a no brainer to get Gus Kenworthy who brought his mammoth social media following and his boyfriend Matt (not necessarily in that order) for the first half of the week before hitting up Oslo for X Games. Word is he has big plans to be involved on a longer term basis. Could it become become Gus Ski Week?

Then came Grammy country music star Shawn Colvin for karaoke heaven. Add Sydney Mardi Gras favourite DJ team Bimbo Jones for the White Party, Sandra Bernhard performing her comedy gold and DJ RUCKUS for the closing party after the Telluride Aids Benefit Gala.

Two words? Bring vitamins.

The beauty of the revamped Gay Ski Week is that it is practically paper free. Thanks to the innovation of Scott Rogers the event has it’s own app with schedule and social portal where Gay Ski Week members can hook up, I mean chat, and stay in touch till next year. Members can also text 555 888 and have the daily schedule delivered to their smart phones.

There is talk of a year long schedule with pop up events in satellite locations and partnerships with already established Telluride summer festivals.

Three words? Watch this space.

For more information on Telluride Gay Ski Week visit

Read more: The tiny ski town fighting HIV/AIDS

Read more: Olympic medal skier Gus Kenworthy redefines gay

Photos credit: Telluride Gay Ski Week Facebook page



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here