PRESS

What the papers say

Posted by Planet Ski, Wednesday September 19th, 2018

This years roaming Gay Ski Holiday will be held in the French resort in March 2019 & bookings are now open.

The event, which claims to be often copied but never equalled, attracts more than 800 people from all over the world each year.

Pure Organisation, which runs the festival, says it will be the biggest and most spectacular the Alps has ever seen.

Pre-sales are already said have broken records.

As well as offering skiing and snowboarding across the vast Paradiski area, there will be cabarets, parties hosted by international clubs and DJs, fine dining, a pool party and the signature open air après-ski.

European Gay Ski Week is aimed at a global audience.

In 2017 it welcomed guests from 49 countries including New Zealand, USA, Canada, Russia and Japan.

It moves around resorts, though it has always been held in France.

Since its launch in 2008, it has been to Tignes, Alpe d'Huez, Avoriaz and Les Menuires, which hosted the 10th anniversary festival.

Posted by Tristan Barreiros Gueunier. 13 November 2017

C’est l’événement le plus attendu de chaque début d’année et il sera de retour des 17 au 24 mars prochain. Ski, snowboard, balades, spas, clubs et fêtes à gogo : c’est le programme de folie qui vous est proposé durant une semaine aux Menuires / Les 3 vallées… Tentés ?

La fin de l’été vous déprime en voyant le soleil se coucher ? Vous sentez même votre cœur se serrer à l’approche des derniers apéros et vous sanglotez presque quand vous entendez le mot « vacances » ? Rassurez-vous, comme chaque année depuis neuf ans, l’European Gay Ski Week (ou EGSW pour les intimes) aura au menu de quoi vous faire oublier votre mélancolie hivernale. Regardez plutôt : tous les matins, une jolie balade en ski vous est proposée, afin de découvrir les alentours de la station. Vous débutez ? Pas de panique, des cours sont également proposés pour les débutants.

Et ce n’est que le début d’une journée marathon. En effet, dès 16 h, place à la fête avec pas moins de 3 h de musique et de fun. Le tout accompagné par les plus sexys des performers ! La nuit se prolongera sur un rythme de dingues en boîte avec au moins une énorme fête par soirée. De quoi peut-être rencontrer l’amour de votre vie. Si vous souhaitez plutôt raviver la flamme dans votre couple, place au romantisme avec des spectacles incroyables proposés par de nombreux artistes de cabaret : burlesque, comédie, magie…

Vous allez en prendre plein les yeux ! Et surtout pour cette édition exceptionnelle car, oui, cela fait déjà 10 ans que la European Gay Ski Week fait vibrer vos vacances d’hiver. Pour l’occasion, le site web a fait peau neuve et le programme de la semaine sera enrichi en surprises !

VOUS ALLEZ EN PRENDRE PLEIN LES YEUX !

Vous hésitez encore ? Au cœur des 3 Vallées, le plus grand domaine skiable du monde au passage, la station de ski des Menuires offre à tous des vacances alliant les grands plaisirs de la montagne à la convivialité d’une station généreuse. Équipements de qualité, ensoleillement exceptionnel et neige garantie sur 600 km de pistes pour vivre un séjour en grand ! Encore un doute ?

N’oubliez pas que l’an dernier, c’est plus de 1 000 gays venant de plus de 50 pays qui ont participé aux différents séjours à travers l’Europe. Alors pourquoi pas vous ?

BPYZ article

Posted by Boyz Magazine on 11th October 2017

In March next year the gang from European Gay Ski Week are celebrating a decade of amazing events with what promises to be their biggest and best gay ski holiday so far. If you’ve never been on one of these popular holidays then this is the one for you. Dave Cross spoke to Event Director Kevin Millins about this unique and mix of world class skiing and brilliant gay entertainment.

Hi Kevin, how would you sum up the European Ski Week?

It’s a fabulous combination of world class skiing and the best in music, clubs, cabaret and dinning. The mix of guests is really good with ages ranging from 18 to some very active 70 somethings with people from many countries, cultures and backgrounds. Winter sports are an equaliser, so whether you’re a student or CEO of a multinational brand, once you are sliding down the side of a mountain, you’re mixing on an equal basis. Turning a small mountain hamlet into a gay village creates an amazing atmosphere, which is incredibly social, and everyone can bond over the shared interest of skiing. Over the week some real bonds and lifelong friends can be made.

Tell us about when it started.

It started in 2009 with 50 guests and has grown year on year. We now have in excess of 1,000 guests coming from all over Europe and around the world. Last year we had guests from 49 different countries attend and we get lots returning again and again.

Where and when is the 2018 event?

For 2018, our 10th anniversary, we are in Les Menuires, Les 3 Vallées in France, from 17th to 24th March.

What is the resort like?

It’s brilliant, the best location, slap bang in the middle of Les 3 Vallées. It’s been described as the hidden jewel in Les 3 Vallées crown and it works perfectly for our event. There are loads of bars, a perfect cabaret space, a huge pool and sauna complex for our pool party, three great clubs and best of all the Mayor and tourist board fully embrace our community and support the event.

What can you tell us about the actual skiing? Is there something for beginners as well as more experienced skiers?

The location makes it the perfect location for us. For advanced skiers it’s possible to ski to every resort within Les 3 Vallées in a single day and in the centre of the resort are many gentle ‘green’ runs, which are ideal for people making their first tentative steps onto the slopes. We have our own private ski school with gay or gay-friendly ski instructors who provide classes for all. If you have never skied before, by the end of the week you will be progressing towards that goal of a black run. For more experienced skiers and boarders there are advanced on piste and off piste classes. For those who are above ski school level, we have our own ‘snow hosts’ taking groups around the entire ski area. The groups are divided into two categories, those who want to lunch well, who will stop at some of the best mountainside restaurants, and those who want to make the most of their ski time by quick stops at (considerably cheaper) self serve restaurants on the mountain.

What about the accommodation on offer?

To create a great mix of people at an event you have to cater for all budgets. Our packages start from €399, which includes your week’s accommodation, lift pass and event pass (all that’s left to pay for is your skis, your food and your drinks) through to full board in a 5-star spa hotel, starting at €3,000 per person. There is of course every standard of accommodation in-between.

What do we get in the package with the event pass?

The event pass is your passport to pleasure; it allows you access to every event that takes place throughout the week. The only exceptions are if the event has food, that has to be paid for and the pool party, which is only open to pass holders but a supplement has to be paid. You can ski all day then party from 4pm through till 5am every day, with a choice of at least four events every day. Plus it’s not just about access to all the events, you get discounted drinks in many of the bars, discounted meals in restaurants both on the mountain and in the village, discounted ski hire and many other offers from the various shops throughout the resort.

Can you tell us about the day time events?

Nothing beats our Aprés Ski Events. It’s the heartbeat of EGSW and always generates incredible atmospheres. All the hosted groups and the ski school classes finish their day just in time to deliver hundreds of thirsty skiers and boarders directly into the party.

And what about the night time events, parties and entertainment?

For our evening events we take over the resort clubs exclusively for our pass holders. We fly over DJs, dancers, cabaret acts and singers and install extensive production throughout. For hardcore partiers, there’s the after-hours parties and you can party on right through to 5am, giving you a couple of hours kip before the first lift opens. This year we’re excited to announce, alongside a whole host of other major European clubbing brands, one of the USA’s biggest gay event brands, Masterbeat. This is the first time they’ve ventured to European soil, so we’re pretty excited.

Can you book everything – flights, accommodation and passes – all in one go as a package on your website?

Our online system allows you to book everything in one go, paying only a small deposit and the balance closer to the event, or if you would prefer in monthly instalments. If you are undecided about something you can log into your account later and add various options to the booking at a later date. There are tons of extras and this gives you time to decide what you and your friends might want to do. The only aspect of your trip we don’t provide are flights.

What else do we need to know?

We’re excited to be working with Boyz magazine this year, meaning your readers benefit from a €40 discount on the cost of an event pass.

Event highlights

The European Ski Week is packed with loads of events every single day you are there with day time skiing and parties plus some brilliant club nights. Here’s just a few to whet your ski appetite.
The Welcome Party

Reunite with old friends and make a load of new ones at the first big club night party where the theme is to wear your national colours.

Group Lunges/Mountain Lunches

Every morning at 9.15am the brilliant Lady Galore and her megaphone leads a group warm up that is both fun and essential to get the blood pumping. Plus EGSW works with 15 amazing mountain restaurants across the resort, perfect for lunch!

Snow Hosts and Ski School

From Sunday to Thursday the fabulous Snow Hosts will be taking groups on tours of Les 3 Vallées, the best way to learn your way around. Plus there’s a whole school of gay or gay friendly instructors all there to help you no matter what level.

Daily Après Ski

These daily open air parties from 4pm in the centre of Croisette draw huge crowds and are described as the heartbeat of EGSW, not to be missed.

Night time parties

This year there are too many to list here so full details are on the website but all of them come packed with big name DJs and performers. Just some of the club brands are Klub from the Ku Group London, Bear Necessity from Amsterdam, Masterbeat from the USA and Hustlaball, plus there’s daily cabaret and that infamous Pool Party.

Posted by The Telegraph, Travel. 08 Nov 2017

From pool parties to cabaret nights, we take a peek at what goes on at European Gay Ski Week - the biggest gay winter sports and music festival in the Alps.

The annual week-long festival celebrates all things LGBT in the French resort of Les Menuires with access to the giant Trois Vallées ski area.

The 2018 event, taking place from March 17 - 24 will double as a 10th birthday celebration for the festival. Ince its launch in 2008, EGSW has been held in Tignes, Alpe d'Huez, Avoriaz and now Les Menuires.

Over 1,000 winter sports fans from around the world head to the event - last year's guests came from the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Austria, Israel, Canada, the USA and Russia to name just a few.

Before the crowds take to the slopes each day, there are group warm-up sessions lead by Lady Galore, to help loosen up and get in the mood to party. And ski of course.

And then from 4pm the open-air aprés ski events kick off, featuring music from some of the best international clubs and dance djs. including Los Angeles based Masterbeat, one of the USA's biggest club brands, and Hustlaball, the famous erotic gay dance party.

There;s the chance to mix and mingle with dedicated Snow Hosts on the slopes of the Trois Vallées.

The festival's cabaret nights include some of Europe's top gay acts - La Diva Live, Nicollete Street and Patty Pam Pam. For those looking for a quieter time there are fondue and raclette evenings too.

The festival's pool party is an annual highlight for guests, featuring entertainment from the Go-Go Boys, inflatables, a laser and light show and - of course - wall to wall Speedos.

There are a number of gay ski weeks hosted around the world in resorts including Aspen, Colorado, Arosa in Switzerland, Park City, Utah and Solden in Austria.

GAY TIMES ARTICLE

Posted by Harry Clayton-Write. 9th March 2015.

We’ve always wanted to learn to ski. Ever since Steps released the Heartbeat video, we’ve imagined ourselves up a mountain, with dreadlocks akin to Faye Tozer’s, draped in fur, casually cruising our way down icy slopes and drinking hot chocolate in some little log cabin at the bottom. When presented with the opportunity to make this our reality at European Gay Ski Week – minus the fur, dreads and rescuing H from angry dwarves – we jumped at the chance. We’d just actually have to learn how to ski without killing ourselves in the process.

Making sure we had beyond adequate travel insurance in place – we were mildly terrified of ending up with plaster cast legs elevated in a sling for a month or two… steady – we packed our finest winter wardrobe for a week in Alpe d’Huez. A hop, skip and a short plane journey to France with a coach transfer ascending tiny, windy roads to a winter paradise and you’re there. The resort instantly made us feel like we were in a Christmas card, which obviously excited us greatly even though it wasn’t December, and made us realise we were on our very first winter break. Damn, we love snow.

European Gay Ski Week offer a fantastic range of activities, both to ease you into the experience and to help acquaint you with the friends you’ll be soon to make, and meeting our hot French ski instructor on the first day of ski school was a sure sign of a great week ahead. Starting off on the baby slopes and learning the basics: falling over for the first time, falling over on purpose to be helped up by the hot instructor, riding our first ski lift, skiing our first course with a level of control, going fast, not going arse over tit on a more regular basis, feeling the wind against you as learn to enjoy the speed, well, it was all pure exhilaration at its finest. Progressing through difficultly of slope on a daily basis and being pushed to do your best in a supportive environment was so much fun. In terms of physical activity, yes we certainly had our fair share of an aching body using muscles we didn’t know we had, but it was a rewarding ache. The long soaks in the bath in our lovely hotel at the end of the day was something to very much look forward to and completely deserved. Attending ski school every day was a routine we quickly got into and spending our lunch breaks in a restaurant halfway down a slope with the rest of the class is just brilliant fun. A shared experience such as learning to ski with the wonderful, likeminded company that being at EGSW offers is unadulterated joy. Plus, finishing each day at the Après-ski party to drink and dance with all ability skiers and boarders is a ridiculously fun way of meeting everyone, seeing faces you recognise from a certain gentleman’s application and winding down from your day…

Or more, winding up for the evening ahead.

One thing that the people at European Gay Ski Week know how to do is throw a party and every night you are offered the chance to hear fantastic DJs in action, see tremendous cabaret and be immersed in a top notch nightlife in this picturesque winter wonderland. We were mindful of not getting too messy, as we were enjoying the lessons so much and didn’t want to impact on the learning process, but we loved arranging to meet our new friends and go dancing in our newfound mountain home. It solidified the friendships made in the day, seeing everyone out at night, and made for so many ridiculous stories at ski school. Plus, doing the walk of shame in a mountainous, snowy paradise isn’t really that shameful.

With the week coming to an end and our final lessons of ski school over, we had a day to ourselves on the slopes. Deciding to brave the more advanced slopes with a snowboarder friend we’d made was our objective for our final day – a risky move, maybe, but we felt pretty confident with our newfound ability – and though we were slightly apprehensive of the unknown, we managed to achieve our goal of going from the green, beginners slopes at the start of the week to the more exciting red slopes by the end (it goes green, blue, red and black in terms of colour/difficulty). An achievement we made sure to tell everyone we’d met that week at the final afternoon Après-ski, where everyone congregated for one last snowy hurrah before all making our way down the mountain in one homogenous mass of half cut gays, skiing and boarding in harmony. Yes, it was certainly an experience we’ll never forget.

Our time at European Gay Ski Week over, numbers exchanged, new friends made, rented ski boots returned and our winter wardrobe packed away, we realised this is something we’d love to do again. We’d do it in a Heartbeat. If you’ve always fancied learning to ski but never felt like you’ve had an opportunity, we highly recommend a EGSW adventure. And if you already know how to ski and want to have a great time somewhere beautiful with people who know how to party; well you know what to do…

GT stayed at the Hôtel Alp’Azur in the Alpe d’Huez resort as part of European Gay Ski Week. For more information, visit europeangayskiweek.com

GAY BLOG

Anna Lawlor reports on how resorts are reaching out to a booming market.

Gripping the corner of a 40ft rainbow Pride flag, my gold-sequined tie and pink feather boa flapping in the alpine breeze, we are on the final descent into Whistler village. This isn't a typical ski holiday.

For many, skiing and snowboarding epitomises self-expression and feelings of freedom. For the gay community, where such liberties are not guaranteed during their international holidays, this is especially important. Over the past four decades, a quiet revolution has begun, inspired by Aspen's Gay Ski Week in 1977, and big-name mountain resorts around the world now compete to host gay ski weeks, from Whistler to Utah, Austria to France and Switzerland to New Zealand.

Whistler's WinterPRIDE is the longest-running event in the resort's calendar, attracting 3,000 gay and lesbian winter holidaymakers and generating C$9m (£5m) for the British Columbia economy. European Gay Ski Week reports that its 1,000 attendees spend 30 per cent more per head than average holidaymakers to Alpe d'Huez, while Sölden's Gay Snow Happening is smaller, attracting around 600 gay holidaymakers, but still draws €1m to the resort.

However, economic benefits aren't the whole story. Jim Guttau, spokesperson for Aspen Gay Ski Week (gayskiweek.com), a not-for-profit event that attracts five thousand people each year, says: "The mountain residents see the benefits, from promoting tolerance to the economic impact. Youth in the valley have thanked our foundation for hosting the event – it gave them a sense of belonging. Aspen, its residents and holidaymakers are extremely supportive of the event, as evidenced by the rainbow flags hanging from every lamp-post and the spectators – heterosexual and homosexual – that attend events like our Downhill Costume Contest."

Aspen's event – along with that in Arosa, Switzerland (arosa-gayskiweek.com) – draws to a close this weekend. As greater acceptance of gay people around the world continues, why are gay-specific holidays important? Kevin Millins, head of Pure Organisation which operates European Gay Ski Week in Alpe d'Huez, explains: "While it's great that the world is far more accepting of the LGBT community, not everywhere you go to is guaranteed to be like this. It's simple: I want to be sure I'll enjoy my holidays, which in my opinion are about relaxing and socialising. It's about being able to go to a destination and participate in an activity you love, at an event where you can be yourself and have no concerns whatsoever."

For participants such as Skip Evans, a 44-year-old civil servant from Australia who has attended Whistler WinterPRIDE three years running, it's about community. He said: "Gay ski weeks provide an opportunity for like-minded people with similar interests, but who are often from often far-flung places, to get together and enjoy their sport, meet new friends and have some fun."

Contrary to some perceptions of gay ski weeks as mountain "gay ghettos", Evans says it's the inclusive LGBT-friendly but not exclusive nature of the events that are so attractive. Most gay ski weeks are delighted to welcome straight allies, who sometimes accompany LGBT attendees, especially during the free on-mountain guiding programmes that many gay ski weeks provide.

The guides are usually volunteers, such as Canadian airline employee Michael Muller. For him, the priorities are simple: "Ski terrain is number one; the parties are number two. The country and culture also factor, but it's fun to have different experiences and do this with ski buddies I've made at other gay ski weeks."

Aside from the outlandish, dazzling on-mountain costumes, one thing is a given: gay ski weeks sure know how to party, on-mountain and off: there are pool parties, comedy and burlesque shows, wine tastings and top club brands and DJ talent. This year London cabaret club Madame JoJo's will feature. "There is nothing quite like it anywhere in the Alps," says Millins.

Despite my two decades of snowboarding experience, taking part in WinterPRIDE's "SkiOUT" (named after the local gay ski club) is one of my most memorable descents. Surrounded by cheers, whooping and carnival whistles, bystander skiers stopped to serenade the mountain parade with an impromptu "ski-pole applause", the tap-tap-tap echoing around us. This is a world away from the homophobic "gays on trays" slur of the 1990s – and the mountains are all the better for it.

The alternatives

Winter Rendezvous, Stowe (Vermont, US): 22-26 January (mjwadventures.com/winterrendezvous_ index.php)

Whistler WinterPRIDE (Canada): 26 Jan-2 Feb (gaywhistler.com)

Elevation Utah: Gay Ski Week: 20-23 Feb (utahgayski.com)

Telluride Gay Ski Week (Colorado, US): 21 Feb-2 Mar (telluridegayskiweek.com)

European Gay Ski Week (Alpe d'Huez, France): 22-29 Mar (europeangayskiweek.com)

Gay Snow Happening, Solden (Austria): 22-29 Mar (gaysnowhappening.com)

European Snow Pride (Tignes, France): 22-29 Mar (europeansnowpride.com)

Gay Ski Week Queenstown (New Zealand): TBC (gayskiweekqt.com)

Gay Welcome

15 January, 2017. Posted by GayWelcome.com

9 years in the making, European Gay Ski Week 2017, Europe's No.1 Gay Winter Sports and Music Festival, will be hosted for the first time in LES MENUIRES, in the heart of the biggest ski area in the world, from March 18th to 25th 2017.

European Gay Ski Week is the first choice for gay people from all over the world who want to experience the perfect Winter Holiday in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Enjoy a week of skiing, snowboarding, parties, great food and spas, signature party nights, Erotica, Snowball, Wig Party, and the Pool Party. EGSW 2017 is joined by international club brands such as Brut (London), BearDrop (Paris), Salvaje (Madrid), hosting nights of their own: their decks will feature the best DJ’s from all over the world.

Les Menuires resort is located in the heart of Les 3 Vallees, the biggest ski area in the world, known by the most demanding skiers for its extensive domain (600km of pistes), the variety of its itineraries and the quality of its pistes.

European Gay Ski Week - Europe's No.1 Gay Winter Sports and Music Festival, the Original and the Biggest, Often copied NEVER equaled.

GCN - Avoriaz

29 September, 2015. Posted by Peter Roche - GCN Magazine. 

“Hey, are you here for gay ski week? Where do we get the bus?” I sheepishly asked the cute guy I spied using Grindr in Geneva airport. There wasn’t any shortage of people to ask; the airport looked like the Folsom street fair with an abundance of rainbow flags and muscled men.

“Just over there, come on I’ll show you” he answered, with a warm friendliness that we would become accustomed to over the course of the week. The buses arrived and the airport was emptied of its mirth. I imagine it returned to its regular air of people rushing about their business.

We’d barely left the car park before a particularly rowdy group of beefy hunks (who it transpired were the performers for the weekend and, were staying in our apartment block ensuring there was never a dull moment) began to blare the Spice Girls and other such classics as they challenged one another to do somersault’s from the luggage racks of the bus.

People cracked open beers and passed around assorted duty free spirits. The party had begun in earnest. Talk quickly turned to what events were on that night, and people worried about having time to get showered and freshen up before hitting the welcome night parties, all four welcome parties in fact, and here we were thinking we were going on a ski break!

I was told it took 90 minutes to reach Avoriaz from Geneva Airport, although I could have sworn it was no more than half an hour with all the new friends we made on the bus. Upon arrival the professional staff were on hand to help everyone to their accommodation and get checked in promptly. Avoriaz is a stunning resort, high in the Portes du Soleil. Perhaps most magical about it is that it is a ski-in ski-out resort, meaning that there are no cars and all of the accommodation lets you leave your building in your skis and head straight to the slope.

Horse-drawn carts and sleighs are your only mode of taxi and the architecture is a bizarre but beautiful mix of classic alpine build with a futuristic twist. The ski pass gives holidaymakers access to a vast number of ski lifts and slopes of all difficulty. In our week I don’t believe we explored more than a fifth of the network. It was my first time skiing, and my partner wasn’t much better, but we found it a really gentle learning curve.

Outside our apartment was the ‘green’ baby slope where we found our snow legs like a pair of new born calves. When we felt comfortable there were the slightly more challenging ‘blue’ slope was just a minute away, where we practiced gaining some speed and even chanced the ski ramp or two. From there the sky’s the limit, but I can’t say we got very close to that limit. The more adventurous can attempt skiing to nearby villages such as Morzine or Les Prodains.

The particularly bold can attempt ‘the Swiss wall’, a steep and bumpy – yet wide – slope that leads down to Champéry. We learnt the first day to hit the slopes early and finish in time for the apres-ski, which kicks off around 4pm in the afternoon. The centre of the resort is transformed into a gay winter wonderland with drag queens and gogo boys on a huge stage alongside DJs spinning all the glorious dance and euro pop you could hope for.

From there people pile into the numerous quaint and tasty restaurants for a bite. For a tourist resort the food was really rather good, and for those on a budget there are two super markets including a ubiquitous Carrefour. After dinner the only questions is: ‘which party is that guy you’ve been eying up on the slopes going to? Some of the more memorable parties included the Pool Party in the water park (which my partner dubbed ‘Gay Soup’), and the Erotica party which was populated by men in harnesses, jockstraps and balaclavas.

I should also note that although the ski week consists manly of gay men, there were quite a few ladies in attendance too. A special programme of events caters for the ladies that ensures everyone is kept titillated and entertained; from the women’s sauna night to burlesque shows and even a sexy circus. Outside the cost of the event pass, which varies depending on the type of accommodation you settle on, we found we didn’t have very much expenses.

The pass gives you a significantly discounted lift pass, equipment rental, transfer to and from the airport, accommodation, and a free shot at all the parties. There are also free organised ski groups with hunky guides, a nice bonus and other people who are going solo on the holiday. The drinks aren’t much more expensive in Ireland, and a few places even gave discounts if you’re part of Gay Ski Week. We even met a few Canadians and American’s who came every year as it worked out cheaper than going skiing in their own countries!

Countless falls, bruises, laughs, drinks and dances later, and it was time to go home. I’d guess that eighty percent of the people we met on the trip weren’t Gay Ski Week virgins, and we could see why. It was the best holiday we have ever been on. Fact.