Category Archives: Gay Ski

GayTravel.com Crowns the next Gay Travel Guru Bryan Kosarek

 By Sophie Needelman

Traveling the world is the
dream of a lifetime. This dream is made even better when traveling is your job-
and when, as a member of the LGBT community, you get to represent a segment of
the population while exploring, demanding, and experience gay friendliness in
the destinations you visit. GayTravel.com’s (
Gaytravel.com)
Gay Travel Guru campaign made this dream a reality for one lucky winner, as
well as for the incredible finalists along the way. For Guru winner Bryan
Kosarek,
this dream will continue to be reality as he leaves last month’s Guru
finale at Aspen Gay Ski Week to begin his gay-traveling journey around the
country.

 

Not only is being the Gay
Travel Guru an absolute dream job, but also it is the ultimate way to serve the
gay community as its representative in travel. With its Guru campaign,
GayTravel.com (www.gaytravel.com) brought
to the attention of the LGBT community the importance in engaging in gay and
gay friendly travel- as well as the importance of engaging in specific LGBT
oriented travel while visiting any of the world’s incredible travel
destinations. 

GayTravel.com (www.gaytravel.com)
provided all of the Guru finalists with the opportunity to expose themselves to
the gay travel community which truly gave a voice to this progressive body of
travelers. The Guru campaign unfolded over the course of six months, where
applicants submitted various forms of travel content and social media engagement
to best advocate for their inner Gay Travel Guru. Some of these contributions
included photos, videos, blog articles, and more. Finalist Jared reflects on
his Guru experience: “The entire process, from start to finish, was an
amazing experience. I learned a lot about about myself by venturing out of my
comfort zone. Gaytravel.com expects a lot from the Gay Travel Guru, so you must
be willing to push your boundaries to generate interesting content for viewers.
I met a lot of amazing people on this journey and made memories that I will
carry with me for the rest of my life. It was a lot of work but it was more
than worth it!”

What began for Jarred,
Bryan, and all of the other finalists as simply pressing a button to submit an
application turned into the adventure of a lifetime as the finalist pool was
flown to Aspen Gay Ski Week where an epic finale took place to crown Bryan
Kosarek as the Gay Travel Guru. The incredible Guru finale was just icing on
the cake of a legendary campaign by GayTravel.com in the attempt to bring the
LGBT community together under the umbrella of the love of travel- as well as to
grant one lucky winner the chance of a lifetime!

Joey Konecek, GayTravel.com’s
Community Director who spearheaded the Gay Travel Guru campaign, reveals
essential details about the campaign, the finalists, and the grand finale at
last month’s Aspen Gay Ski Week:


SN: What were the main events held over the course of the Guru finale? (overview of events basically) 

 

JK: “The finalists were really put to the test throughout our time in Denver and Aspen. Aside from having only 1 day to create a video about the destination and hotel sponsors they were also asked to sell raffle tickets, do a modeling shoot, compete in the downhill costume contest and host parties. And if that wasn’t enough they were also being filmed throughout the week which meant doing confessionals and getting very little time to themselves. Aside from that each finalist was also doing a ton of social media and self promoting online and in person at Gay Ski Week.”

 

SN: What about Aspen made it a great place to hold the Guru finale? 

JK: “Winter in Aspen is magic! The city is clean and beautiful and all around a great place to film.”

 

SN: What other cities were involved in the Guru process? Why were they chosen and how did they contribute to the atmosphere of the entire Guru campaign? 

JK: “Aside from our sponsor destinations like Thailand, Dallas, and Key West we would really like to thank Denver, in particular the Hotel Curtis, The Westin Denver Downtown, and the arts community for being such gracious hosts.”

 

SN: How did Aspen Gay Ski Week set the stage for the finale? 

JK: “We really could not have asked for a better backdrop for the finale! Vegas was great last season, but Aspen was the perfect setting and being Gay Ski Week made it even better. Pamela Herr who manages the events really rolled out the red carpet for our finalists and the gaytravel.com team. We also had amazing participation from her staff and the board of directors such as Todd Heimel, President.”

 

SN: How did the finale contribute to the atmosphere at Aspen Gay Ski Week? 

JK: “The patrons and staff of Aspen Gay Ski could not have been more accommodating. Having the cameras around made our finalists very popular among the crowds and trust me; they ate it up.  Our team also had the opportunity to help in raising funds for amazing non profit organizations that Aspen Gay Ski Week supports.”

SN: What were some highlights from the finale? 

JK: “The finale was extremely emotional for everyone involved. We were all a family in Aspen; the staff, the finalists, and the camera crew all became very close over the duration of the trip and it showed at the finale event. I personally cried my eyes out, it was six months of hard work for everyone followed by a week of exhausting events, tasks, and challenges, it was the end and I couldn’t hold it back.  Some were happy and some were sad but for the most part they finalists really supported Bryan in his victory.

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Global Warming and Lack of Snow Could Cost BILLIONS to Travel Industry

A new analysis conducted for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Protect Our Winters (POW) will detail the devastating economic impact that climate change could have on the winter tourism industry in New York and the rest of the nation.

The analysis finds that the $12.2 billion ski and snowmobile industry
is dependent on heavy and predictable snowfall, and changes in the winter
season snowfall have already been felt across the nation and are likely to
become even more pronounced with climate change. A lot of winter sport enthusiasts
are planning their next wintervacation to Toronto or Montreal where the snow sticks the
entire winter. 

The NRDC/POW analysis covers all 38 states involved in the U.S. ski and snowmobile winter tourism industry. During the Thursday New York news event, experts will discuss the consequences nationwide and for New York, California, Colorado, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and Washington state.

The study aims to help policy makers understand both the ski and snowmobile industry’s current economic scale and the potential economic impacts that climate change may cause, as well as the effects the industry is already feeling in New York and the rest of the nation from reduced snowpack and rising winter temperatures over the last decade.

Just this past ski season, 50 percent of ski resorts opened late and 48 percent closed early with every region experiencing a decrease in the days of operation. Winter sports resorts are not the only ones affected by this shift; a reduced and shortened winter season will also hurt the secondary related industries of lodging, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and entertainment.

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Gay Travel to Vancouver Canada

The largest gay population in Western Canada lives in this ocean-wrapped and snow-capped city. 

Its gay community is centred around two distinctly different neighbourhoods – the West End and Commercial Drive, both of which enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, coffee shops, pubs and boutiques catering to gays and lesbians.
 Writer LAWRENCE FERBER just did an awesome article in the Oct. 2012 PASSPORT MAGAZINE discussing all the amazing places to dine in Vancouver!
February 2013 Gay Whistler will take place!  One of the most highly anticipated gay ski weeks in North America. 
 GayWhistler.com is
a year-round promoter of Whistler to the gay and lesbian community and
produces and promotes GayWhistler ski week, WinterPRIDE every year.
Alpenglow Productions Corporation (APC) is a gay and lesbian travel and
event company creating gay-welcoming destinations and events at partner
resorts. The GayWhistler/Alpenglow Team, in partnership, is dedicated to
bringing alternative vacation options to the gay and lesbian community
worldwide.

We have visited most of the gay resort destinations in the world and
nothing can compare to all Whistler has to offer. Though Whistler is
not a gay resort, it is gay friendly and your sexual orientation is not
an issue so we invite you to come and enjoy Whistler for one or multiple
seasons. GayWhistler officially invites you to come to Whistler, B.C
365 days a year.

Find out More about Whistler 2013

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Gay Ski Week in Colorado 2011 for Matthew Shepard Foundation

StraightOut Media & Marketing,
 the Matthew Shepard Foundation
and Crested Butte Mountain Resort

announced today the launch of “Butte 11: Matthew Shepard Foundation Gay Ski Week.”  The event will take place at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (“CBMR”) from March 19 – 26, 2011 with additional activities in the towns of Mt. Crested Butte and Crested Butte, Colo.

 

 “This new event provides the perfect vehicle for communicating the education, advocacy and awareness work of the Foundation,” said Jason Marsden, executive director of the Mathew Shepard Foundation. “This was a large scale opportunity to bring attention to our mission.”

 

Production of the event will be led by StraightOut Media (“SOMM”), well known for producing the top-ranked Telluride Gay Ski Week, and is being co-developed with CBMR and the Matthew Shepard Foundation (“MSF”), one of the leading GLBT education, advocacy and awareness organizations in the United States.

 

 “We are honored to be the home of the new Matthew Shepard Gay Ski Week,” said Ken Stone, chief operating officer of CBMR. “Crested Butte has so much to offer in terms of recreation, celebration and discovery – we know participants will be dazzled. And for us, Butte 11 will most certainly be a highlight of this year’s ski season.”

“We look forward to creating a signature event for the Matthew Shepard Foundation that raises not only awareness but also contributions to the organization,” said Scott Barretto, co-founder of SOMM. “Crested Butte is known for its superb spring skiing so the sun and the snow will make for a unique gay ski week experience like no other”.

 

Butte 11: Matthew Shepard Foundation Gay Ski Week will boast a full schedule of events in addition to renowned skiing. Planning activities are now underway and additional information will soon be available along with the launch of the official website.

        Event pricing, lodging and travel information to be announced.

New Gay Travel Guide

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Gay Ski Week in ANDORRA! Just Weeks Away!


The 2nd Annual Gay Ski Week in Andorra
is just a few weeks  away!

March 21-28, 2010.

Andorra is a small country nestled  between  Spain and France and offers some great skiing, shopping and one of the most amazing  Spa’s  I have ever seen! You have to fly into Barcelona, Spain  or Toulouse, France.  Then it’s a couple hours  away, up into the mountains of Andorra.

And March is a great time to go.  USUALLY, not too cold.  Last year when we were there, one day the air  was so warm, we actually  took off our coats and shirts for a bit and soaked up the sunshine and sipped a glass of wine on the slopes! Andorra has a high mountain climate with Mediterranean influences. Temperatures are low in the winter and mild in the summer, with significant variations depending on altitude and orientation.Andorra has a high percentage of sunshine and a generally dry climate.





Andorra truly has some breathtaking mountains!  We stood in awe at the Grand Valira ski resort/station, from the base of the mountains, looking towards the top, which must have stretched 2+ miles…skiers looked like ants moving down the hills!  Equally as beautiful, but much smaller was the Vallnord resort/station.

Even if you don’t ski, there is lots to do. Snow mobiling, sled rides, bike skis other fun activities. And when you are not on slopes, you might be shopping. 

Since there is no income  tax  and lots of duty free, Andorra is a great place to shop. Electronics, prestigious  fine jewelry and even fashion and perfumes, are much lowere than in some countries.  The products that can be imported into Spain or France are tax free up to certain limits and must be declared when they exceed a specific amount. For example, visitors over the age of 15 who buy durable products worth more than 525 € must pay duty before taking them to Spain or France.  



When you are done skiing and shopping, you need a  SPA! And one of the most beautiful spa’s I have ever seen is  here!  CALDEA SPA.  is AMAZING! It’s like something out of a Busby Berkeley movie!


Designed by the architect Jean-Michel Ruols – is fruit of the will of the community (town council) of Escaldes-Engordany to make use of the richness of the territory’s thermal water, with a philosophy different to that of traditional health resorts: thermoludism. The concept was entirely innovative and avoids use of the therapeutic properties of thermal water.

Thermoludism is the use of the properties and benefits of thermal water to rest, recuperate vitality and well-being. The water at different temperatures procures authentic gymnastic toning for the body, and the thermal water help psychic rebalance.




So what are you waiting for?!

You book a plane to Barcelona and ORIGINAL ANDORRA GAY TRAVEL SPECIALISTS will customize your gay week in Andorra!

Right now, they have  a  package  for  899 euros.

Hotel, meals, ski pass, ski school, rentals, transfer and parties included!

MENTION  NEW GAY TRAVEL  GUIDE and save 15%!


This years host hotel is is the Hotel Rutllan. Other choices available as well. It will be a wonderful week, and very reasonably priced!



New Gay Travel Guide

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Gay Andorra! Skiing, Mountains, Spas, Shopping and More in the Pyrenees Mountains!

ANDORRA is NOT
the mother witch from Bewitched

That’s Endorra!  

Although I seem to remember Dr. Bombay up in the snowy mountains in one episode…that could have been Andorra.

If you have never heard of Andorra  it is an old,  small, beautiful  landlocked country in western Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. Just a 2 hour drive from Barcelona airport, or  slightly less if you drive in from the Toulouse airport in France.

It is currently a prosperous country mainly because of tourism (nearly 10 million people annually)and its status as a duty-free tax haven. The people of Andorra are currently listed as having the highest human life expectancy in the world, living to  an average of 85 years! And  Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe.



Andorra truly has some breathtaking mountains!  We stood in awe at the Grand Valira ski resort/station, from the base of the mountains, looking towards the top, which must have stretched 2+ miles…skiers looked like ants moving down the hills!  Equally as beautiful, but much smaller was the Vallnord resort/station.

Due to its location in the eastern Pyrenees mountain range, Andorra consists predominantly of rugged mountains of an average height of 1,996 metres (6,549 ft) with the highest being the Coma Pedrosa at 2,946 metres (9,665 ft). These are dissected by three narrow valleys in a Y shape that combine into one as the main stream, the Valira river, leaves the country for Spain (at Andorra’s lowest point of 870 m/2,854 ft). Andorra’s total surface area is only 468 square kilometres (181 sq mi).


Andorra’s climate is similar to that of its neighbours’ temperate climates, but its higher altitude means there is, on average, more snow in winter and it is slightly cooler in summer. Lots to see and do in either season!

We just got back from a wonderful Gay Ski Week there, organized by ORIGINAL ANDORRA, and they are now planning a Summer Gay Glamour Party Week for June 14 – 21. It’s VERY reasonable in Andorra. And the shopping is  big there, due to the tax situation.


Skiing is very big there, as you can imagine, surrounded by all the amazing mountains. I am NOT a skier, and there was lots to do and see in Andorra…both in the snow and out of the snow.  They have things like ski bikes, snow mobiles and Husky sleigh rides/dog sleds for non-skiers. And being up in the mountains surrounded by all the majestic beauty, was breathtaking!

This past ski season Andorra really raised the bar to compete in the skiing market. In addition to the inclusion of an ice hotel, Andorra hotels and resorts have made more than 20 million euros worth of upgrades to existing ski areas. Improvements and additions include low-cost helicopter sight-seeing flights, tubing slopes, new ice rinks and a snowmobile circuit.

An Ice Hotel is really something to see! The Grand Valira resort  unveiled its first icy accommodation for tourists this winter, when the Iglu-Dorf chain – which already runs igloo developments in five Swiss ski resorts – opened a snow palace to cater for up to 26 guests – complete with fur-covered beds and an après-ski bar.




All of the skiing pretty much wraps up this week in Andorra….until  the next season begins.  But it’s also a great summer vacation spot with hiking, dune buggies, golf, shopping, museums, barbeques and of course, the world famous CALDEA WELLNESS SPA! Next week we will cover all of this in a follow up article. 

While this isn’t  a  “gay city”,  it’s super laid back and welcoming and people like Original Andorra plan these great “gay weeks’ there, with the next one being  June 14 – 21st!

“Homosexual acts” are legal in Andorra. The age of consent is 16 for all. In 2005, they  legalized civil unions including having the right to adopt.

The official and historic language is Catalan. Because of immigration and close geographic proximity, other languages such as French, Portuguese and Spanish are also commonly spoken. Many people speak English, so it easy to communicate.

I say it’s a little bit of Spain, a little bit of France, a little bit of magic!

Discover Andorra Soon!  And watch for our follow up article next week, with more in depth coverage and specifics!

Gay Tourism in Andorra         Gay Andorra Online


New Gay Travel Guide and Best Gay Cities

 

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