Canada's WinterPRIDE; Luge, Love, and Late Nights

WinterPRIDE in Whistler, B.C. is like no other global gay gathering, with thrills outside, inside, and a place in-between.

BY Neal Broverman

January 31 2013 12:43 PM ET

Since many take place in summer, Pride parties and events are often thought of as sweaty endeavors crammed with half-naked, inebriated attendees jockeying for space among hot dog vendors and cardboard garbage receptacles sponsored by lube companies. Well, WinterPRIDE in theWhistler Blackcomb Mountains of Whistler, British Columbia could not be more different. With an emphasis on physical activity and bonding with fellow LGBTs on slopes, ski lifts, and luge tracks, the event is thankfully less about booze and go-go boys than the summer parties in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

WinterPRIDE's 21st year kicks off on Sunday and lasts for a week, with closing festivities on February 10. Less than two hours from cosmopolitan and friendly Vancouver, Whistler is like a little pedestrian-only Swiss town where everyone speaks English. There are so many fun and singular aspects of celebrating Pride at Whistler, but we boiled down our favorite aspects to 10. See them below.

- Love Half-a-Mile Up
If you meet a special guy or gal at one of Whistler's many parties or mixers, you'll no doubt make a date to go skiiing or snowboarding the next day. Getting to know someone while serenly ascending a mountain, as snow flurries land on eyelashes, is much more romantic than screaming over a dance track. Just bring tissues for the inevitable nose runs.

- Hot and Cold
We're referring to a common pasttime for WinterPRIDE and all Whistler snow bunnies: taking a jacuzzi or hot tub dip outside (when it's probably in the 20s or 30s, degree-wise). The beautiful Fairmont Chateau Whistler hotel has an outdoor heated pool and spa that overlooks the slopes. It's a great way to kill a hangover.

- Snap Out of It
Speaking of overdoing it the night before, the cold weather will instantly wake you up and make you feel strangely refreshed. Just get a hot coffee to kill the headache. And when you're racing down a black diamond, puffy eyes will be the last thing on your mind. 

- Luge is Life
If you're into thrills, you must visit the Whistler Sliding Center, where you can take part in the public bobsleigh (racing down the luge course with two other people) or the public skeleton (you're on your own, going down head first). Try not to pee your ski pants as you go 60 mph down curves and drops, just like the Olympians in 2010. When you land safely (hopefully), you'll be walking on sunshine.

- Learning Something Knew
Whistler is the perfect place to try your hand at snowboarding, if you were raised a skiier, or vice versa. The rental shops are huge and many of the young people working there are ex-pats from Europe or Australia (cute and nice). While Whistler Blackcomb has over 200 marked runs, many are easy enough for ski/snowboarding beginners.

Tags: Travel

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