Ski Destination Celebrates 30 Years Shredding With Pride

Can the outdoor community become more inclusive? Absolutely, and the Whistler Ski and Pride Festival has spent the last three decades demonstrating how.

Since its humble beginning as a small weekend gathering of gay ski enthusiasts in 1992, the Whistler Ski and Pride Festival has grown to become the largest 2SLGBTQ+ ski festival in the world.  This January 22-29, following two years of limited celebrations due to the pandemic combined with the festival’s upcoming 30-year jubilee, Whistler Ski and Pride Festival’s Head of Communications Tom Fedechko says the planning team is preparing for a serious boost due to pent-up demand:

“We hadn’t even announced the event schedule or headliners before we saw a huge surge in hotel bookings and interest.”

For those joining the festivities, there’s much to look forward to. Along with the traditional “ski the pride flag down the mountain parade,” the eight-day program is packed with activities like a charity ski race, daily après-ski, comedy nights and dance parties. But according to Tom Fedechko, one of the festival’s most popular activities is undoubtedly the free-to-join inclusive guided groups:

“The guided groups provide a safe and friendly way for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals to explore the stunning majesty of Whistler and Blackcomb whilst making connections with a community who are passionate about hitting the slopes feeling welcome and accepted for who they are. It can turn into life-long friendships and relationships. And our guides are the absolute best!”

Over the years, the Ski and Pride Festival has also become the official Pride Festival for the Whistler community, strengthening partnerships with the Resort Municipality, Tourism Whistler, and local businesses along the way. One of the newer partnerships, Tom Fedechko shares, is Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center:

“Since 2018, we have made sure to recognize that the festival takes place on the shared unceded territories of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations – who now participate in the festival every year to raise awareness of the rich history and traditions that started well before most of our ancestors arrived. Their deep connection to and reverence for nature is something we can and should learn from as we strive to preserve the beauty that surrounds us.”

Photo: Jonny Bierman

Johanna Frænkel

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