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Gay Ski Week Returns to Colorado Resort Town

by John McDonald
Thursday Dec 12, 2013

It was once the epicenter of the counterculture movement. Now, Aspen, Colorado is a recognized week for gays to go outdoors.

Fabulously, of course.

But, remember, it is quite different climate than South Florida.

"It was 15 degrees here yesterday," said Aspen resident Jim Guttau.

Guttau works in public relations in Aspen. When he's not waking up to 10-feet of snow overnight, he is busy promoting the 37th Annual Gay Ski Week, a week filled with events for every taste - even those who do not ski.

"We have people who come here just to go out at night and party and they sleep all day," said Guttau.

Imagine that. Aspen is steeped in folklore and has long been a popular tourist destination. The city inspired songs by singer John Denver, was a silver boom town in the early 1900s and became the home of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who made an unsuccessful bid for county sheriff in 1970.

These days Aspen boasts world class spas, renowned restaurants, high end shopping and a wide variety of relatively tame winter activities from snowmobiling to horse drawn sleigh rides. The pace picks up next month for the 37th Annual Aspen Gay Ski Week, Jan. 12-19.

"I would absolutely recommend people to go," said Fort Lauderdale resident Frank Guglielmo. "It's sort the U.S. version of a cute Alps town."

Guglielmo and a group of friends were visiting the Stonewall Museum in Fort Lauderdale last week and while perusing the current exhibits, the group discussed travel hotspots.

During the peak winter season, Aspen's population swells from around 6,000 residents to just over 32,000. The city is about a four-hour trip by car from the Denver airport.

"World famous Aspen plays host to a week of epic skiing, après-ski events at The Limelight Hotel and exciting nightly events," remarked Kevin McManamon, co-chair of Aspen Gay Ski Week.

What started out as just a small group of friends on a winter retreat has ballooned into one of the must see events for the rich and famous.

"It's very well heeled," said Guglielmo, a CPA who summers in New Jersey. "The town is strikingly beautiful and the nature is beautiful. If you could just keep out the people from L.A., it would be great."

Comedian Mario Cantone (Sex and The City) headlines this year's lineup. Proceeds from nightly events - Film Night Gala, Testosterone Party and Trunk Show, and the local favorite, Downhill Costume Contest - benefit the Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund, an organization that has been building tolerance in this unique resort community since 1996.

All the fun and games takes place at elevations of 8,000 feet or more with Colorado's gorgeous Elk Mountains as your backdrop.

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