Telluride Gay Ski Week: 2018 Overview/Lineup

Telluride Gay Ski Week: 2018 Overview/Lineup

Longing for a podium placement in après ski? Telluride Gay Ski Week  offers up a pupu platter of hair-raising possibilities. The happening returns in 2018 with a schedule jam-packed with parties, events, dancing, entertainment  – and, of course, lots of fun on the mountain.

Telluride Gay Ski Week takes place Saturday February 24- Saturday, March 3, with events every day at venues in Telluride, Mountain Village and on the Telluride Ski Resort’s mountain. Show off your colors – 50 Shades of Gay? – and let the good times roll.

To access a schedule of up-to-the minute events, book lodging, and receive updates, go here.  For tickets, go here. For more information, contact Rosie Cusack, director, Telluride Gay Ski Week, at 970-729-0567. 

“…Whether you like to speed down double-diamond runs, booty-scoot down bunny slopes or simply wait for all the hot injured skiers who need comforting in the lodge with a hot toddy, funnel cake and a warm embrace, this is one of the ultimate LGBT winter escapes of the year..,” raved hesaidmag.

Feeling light and gay?

“Out” is trending big time.

And gender?

Well, that’s a many fluid thing. On Facebook alone, there are at least 51 new sexual identity options.

Coming out?

Why not?

Baby, the movement has come a long way.

How far?

Let’s skip hand in hand down memory lane all the way to Telluride’s front door, where the 16th Annual Telluride Gay Ski Week, Saturday, February 24 – Saturday, March 3 – brings a fun-filled week of dancing, fashion, late-night parties, plus lots of meetings and greetings to our mountain and, of course, skiing, all hosted by the Telluride Ski Resort and organizer/director Rosie Cusack. 

Rosie Cusack, Telluride Gay Ski Week director, with 2015 Guest of Honor Olympian Gus Kenworthy & his partner, Matthew Wilkas at Pool Party.

Cusack, who took over production of Gay Ski Week three years ago, say the annual event is shaping up to be one for the books.

“It’s going to be the best one ever.”


Because Telluride Gay Ski Week has lined up heavy-hitting celebrities2017 Miss Gay America, Suzy Wong; cabaret performer Frankie Grande; and comedian Leslie Jordan, to entertain the crowds this year. The shows will be sprinkled into a week that also features daily skiing excursions; après ski gatherings; dance parties; all-day spa and pool parties at the Peaks Resort & Spa; live music; and the annual rave, aka, the White Party.


Frankie Grande


Leslie Jordan

As always, Telluride Gay Ski Week takes place in the run-up to the Telluride AIDS Benefit (TAB), overlapping with several TAB events.



Fro a past TAB Fashion Show.

Cusack describes Gay Ski Week as “an open and accepting” celebration of diversity, expression and skiing in one of the most magical settings in America.

“The event,” she says, “is for anyone who enjoys celebrating community, meeting new people and participating in sports-centric events. You don’t even have to ski to have a good time. There is something at Gay Ski Week for everyone.”

Telluride Gay Ski Week’s profile is on the rise.

“Telluride has become known in the last couple years, across the board, as the best gay ski week in America,” Cusack adds. “One of the things I keep hearing from attendees is ‘It isn’t about quantity, it’s about the quality of the experience.’”

For a full schedule, ticket information, special offers, go here.

The following is a rundown of Gay Ski Week highlights:

Feb. 24, 9 p.m., Sheridan Opera House: Opening Night Drag Show: “Make Way for the Queens: A Drag Show Revue”

Kick off Gay Ski Week with a rousing and ribald evening of song, dance and humor. Featuring Miss Gay America 2017 Suzy Wong, along with former Miss Continental, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Former Miss Gay America, Aurora Sexton and Raja Gemini, winner of “Rupaul’s Drag Race Season Three.”

“These drag queens have huge star power in the community,” Cusack said.

A dance party follow: 21+ only.

Feb. 26, 5 and 9 p.m., Sheridan Opera House: Drag Bingo/Livin’ La Vida Grande with Frankie Grande

This evening will kick off with Drag Bingo featuring Suzy Wong in the Show Bar. The action moves to the main theatre for a cabaret-style show featuring Frankie Grande. Grande is a singer, dancer, actor and social media mogul whose work on Broadway and television has earned him worldwide fame.

Feb. 28, 8 p.m., The Wood Ear Middlespoon

Austin, Texas-based Middlespoon is the gender-bending love child of DJ Jinx McGee and vocalist Alexander Beatz, who are steering pop music away from hetero-normative traditions. Middlespoon takes on issues like polyamory, patriarchy and transphobia, layering them over whimsical beats that’ll be sure to get bodies onto the dance floor.

March 1, 8 p.m., Sheridan Opera House: White Party

This longtime tradition, which follows the Telluride AIDS Benefit’s Sneak Peek Fashion Show, has a reputation as the best dance party of the Telluride year. The he kind that literally brings down the house.

March 2, 9 p.m., Nugget Theatre: Leslie Jordan’s “Exposed”

Jordan, who’s television appearances include NBC’s “Will and Grace” and the new television project “Cool Kids,”  presents his one-man show “Leslie Jordan: EXPOSED.” The show features an intimate peek into Jordan’s life, flamboyant youth, behind the scenes stories and hilarious anecdotes.

The Way It Was, a brief history of the LGBT movement in the U.S.:

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

For the LGBT community, it has not always been smooth sailing, errr, skiing. Historically, there have been lots of Volkswagen-sized moguls on the way to après.

Once upon a time, it was all about the “love that dare not speak its name.”

In 1895, on a grey rainy November day in London, one of history’s greatest playwrights and wits, Oscar Wilde (of the famous quote above), was arrested for “gross indecency with men” or sodomy, for which he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.

Fast forward to the 20th century – when things still took a long time to improve.

Prior to and throughout most of the 1900s, standard psychology viewed homosexuality in terms of pathological models as a mental illness.That classification began to be tested in research, which never ever produced strong empirical evidence that would define homosexuality as a disorder. Yet, in 1952, the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual listed homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance. One year later, in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order that banned homosexuals from working for the federal government, saying they would be a security risk.

Then, on a momentous day in June– June 28, 1969 –  to be exact, police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City, triggering protests and demonstrations. The gay civil rights movement in the United States had officially begun.

Since then, the world has become a much better place for the LGBTI community. Dignity and equality have become part of life’s regular hum.

Fast forward to June, 2013. The United States Supreme Court issued a critical decision declaring the part of the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act” denying same-sex married couples federal marriage benefits unconstitutional, a landmark decision, which immediately opened the door to over 1000 marriage benefits that married same-sex couples could now enjoy in full equality with their heterosexual counterparts.

Elsewhere in the world, countries made even greater strides. That same year, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, England, and Wales granted full legal recognition to same-sex marriages.

By 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that states cannot say that marriage is reserved for heterosexual couples.

“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

Also in 2015, even The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ended its ban on gay adult leaders.

Unlike in Wilde’s time, today openly gay writers, actors, and musicians, and artists of all stripes and persuasions, are prominently featured in popular art and entertainment venues and no one, well nearly no one, raises an eyebrow.

More and more, gay celebrities and celebrity hopefuls are proudly coming out of the closet much earlier in, or even at the very start of, their careers, proudly waving their Judy Garland flags on high.

And over the past few years in particular, an unprecedented number of athletes have also shared their sexual orientation publicly. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, there were a record 11 openly gay male Olympians and a grand total of 41 publicly out gay, lesbian, and bisexual jocks. The list of gay Olympians also includes freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who announced his homosexuality to the world in 2014 via a glossy ESPN magazine cover.

Gus is a homie, Made in Telluride. And he was a celebrity guest at the first revitalized Telluride Gay Ski Week in 2015, when Cusack took over the show. Since then, the remix in our home, Shangri-La 2.0, has been an eye-popping second act.

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