Travel

A Gay Takeover at Mount Snow

by Dan Meyer
Contributor
Friday Feb 1, 2013
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Skiing and partying go hand in hand, but Mount Snow knows how to do it right.

While the southern Vermont resort is known more for attracting terrain park lovers and college co-eds, it was the LGBT members of The Welcoming Committee who took over the mountain this past weekend.

The Welcoming Committee (TWC) has traditionally been focused on Boston, taking over bars that cater to a straight crowd the first Friday of every month, a night they call Guerilla Queer Bar. In the past year, GQB rebranded itself as The Welcoming Committee and expanded to include sports, pub crawls, speed dating and weekend getaways.

"TWC Destination Takeovers are a natural extension of what we already do in Boston," said Daniel Heller, the founder of TWC. "We take iconic destinations and experiences that feel a bit homophobic and make them outrageously comfortable for one night or weekend. We’ve hit Foxwoods and, now, Mt. Snow, but we’re just getting started."

The $250 fee included transportation, two nights at the Snow Lake Lodge, breakfast at the hotel, nightclub cover charge and a survival kit made up of snacks, beer and itinerary. Lift tickets could be bought at a discounted price.


Hopping on the Party Bus

The revelry began Friday evening with two buses full of Bostonians. The buses, named Beyoncé and Sasha Fierce, were metaphorical bars on wheels from start to finish. TWC revelers started early by passing around beers and flasks, setting the tone for the whole weekend. We were there to party... and possibly ski or snowboard.

Before the buses had even pulled into the Snow Lake Lodge’s parking lot, men and women were getting down and dirty. Thanks to GroupMe, an app that allows groups like TWC to share messages and pictures in one thread instead of forcing members to text individually, an explicit crotch shot from the Sasha Fierce bus spread like wildfire. I’m glad I was riding on Beyoncé.

Not that it was tame. A dance party erupted on Beyoncé and lasted a few songs before the bus driver was forced to ask us to sit back down.


Welcome to Mount Snow

Upon arrival, Mount Snow welcomed us with open arms. The staff everywhere was kind and curious to learn more about The Welcoming Committee. Additionally, the nightclub events on both forthcoming evenings shed a lot of light for the patrons vacationing alongside us.

"Perhaps my favorite moment of the weekend was when I walked into the Snow Barn, Mt. Snow’s on-premises nightclub, and overheard one of our members explaining ’takeovers’ to a straight patron," said Daniel Heller, founder of The Welcoming Committee. "It warmed my heart that people on our trip were so mission focused and to see that the locals at the club were as interested in the mission as we are."

Both nightclub takeovers took place at the Snow Barn, conveniently located within a drunken stumble from our lodge.

Food at the Barn was cheap and inventive. I shared a honey mustard chicken pizza, a curious combination of sweet and salty, with at least three people. None of us went hungry thanks to the massive 22" pie. Drinks were appropriately priced for a ski resort, cheaper than the city but more expensive than a pub five miles down the street.

On Saturday night the live band Love in Stockholm played original music and covers. As the booze was free-flowing, I doubt that a single patron could remember the playlist, though several members of TWC were fawning over the lead singer, who blended in nicely with the attractive crowd.

Next page for more on the slopes and other upcoming LGBT ski weekends.


Hitting the Slopes

During the day, people went snowboarding, skiing or snow tubing. On the mountain, Mount Snow is stellar in its snow making abilities. While many east coast resorts coat their trails with ice, these trails were pure packed powder. Another standout is the Bluebird Express, a base-to-summit chair lift with a bubble that protects riders from the elements and has comfortable padded seats.

Unfortunately, there were a number of trails without snowmaking that should have been closed and this got me into some trouble. If you can see the grass, you cannot pass. That should be a motto somewhere.

Given my 20 years of skiing experience, I figured any trail that was open should be one I could attack. Enter me sliding down Ripcord, Mount Snow’s only double-black diamond trail. With a 37-degree pitch, it’s nearly impossible to see the bottom before you reach the top of the headwall.

What should have been a thrilling, adrenaline-pumping experience turned into a slow and torturous ride down, ending with me splattered on my face - one ski on and one ski off. The reason? Ice and a lack of snow. That trail should not have been open, and sure enough it was closed Sunday.

While the mountain was full of adventure, Snow Lake Lodge itself needs a major overhaul. The beds were uncomfortable; the showers had no pressure; and the free Saturday breakfast included surly staff members that seemed irritated even by the request for water.

TWC did deliver on its promise that Snow Lake Lodge had an indoor hot tub, although it wasn’t as much hot as lukewarm. According to several friends, I apparently missed out on the scalding water from the hot tub outside.

"This place must have looked so cool and modern, like in the 50s," said a new friend. We had a good laugh and it reminded me that one of the greatest things about ski trips in the amassing of new friends. I met countless interesting people, all of whom were having a great time culminating with a Saturday night hotel room party. "It was an epic night," I overheard the man behind me say on the way home. Indeed, it was an epic weekend.

The snow stayed fresh and white but after a night of heavy partying, the group started to melt. Messages on GroupMe inviting people to après quickly changed to silence Sunday afternoon, and messages such as "so long Beyoncé bus, hello struggle bus" buzzed my phone Monday morning.

All in all, the trip was well worth the few wipeouts along the way. "One of the things that I love about these trips is that they’re gender inclusive. It’s hard to build a space for both gays and lesbians, but the ’takeover’ is an activity that everyone can get behind," said Heller.


More LGBT Winter Fun

Winter Gay Pride at Killington
Feb. 1-3
Events include a welcome party, an on-mountain costume contest and a farewell brunch. The inaugural weekend is organized by Gay Network Alliance of Riders (G.N.A.R.). Pride Passes available online.
www.gnarwinterpride.com

OutRyders 3rd Annual White Out Weekend at Sunday River
Feb. 7-10
New England’s largest gay and lesbian ski and snowboard club hits the slopes with their third annual White Out Weekend at Sunday River.
SundayRiver.com

Telluride 10th Annual Gay Ski Week
Feb. 22-March 3
We all know size matters so Telluride decided to make theirs longer than anyone else’s. The Tenth Annual Telluride Gay Ski Week will now measures a full 10 days from start to finish.
www.telluridegayskiweek.com


Dan Meyer is a young professional whose stories have appeared in publications such as The Advocate online and UCLA’s LGBT magazine entitled "OutWrite." He is also a part-time ESL teacher in Boston.

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