Entering its second decade in existence, Telluride’s Gay Ski Week is heading in a new direction.
After outside funding dried up, a group of locals took over the reins last year and have attracted some big-time sponsors for the 2017 edition Feb. 25-March 4.
Director Rosie Cusack explained sponsorship details were being finalized this week, but the yet-to-be-revealed sponsors are huge.
“This is exciting stuff,” she said.
The official unveiling of the 2017 sponsors can come as early as next week, and will include some special Telluride-exclusive news, she said without spilling the beans.
Current sponsors include Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride Luxury Rentals & Real Estate Inc. and U.S. Bank — which held an art contest through the end of last month in the wake of launching its brand new LGBT Pride card.
Cusack said the event receives no funding from local governments, and some of the monies come from the organizers’ own pockets.
“This is something so important to us,” she said.
She said local businesses have been supportive over the past year-plus, hosting events throughout the week and offering specials.
This year, events will include the opening day party, daily après ski and a late-night lounge as well as the signature White Party, which “literally brought the house down last year,” Cusack said, referencing the partial floor collapse at the former Hongas restaurant during last year’s White Party. The space is currently occupied by the recently opened RGB restaurant after a remodel.
“We are really excited about this year’s event; once again it is going to be an amazing week here in this beautiful community,” Cusack said. “It is incredibly important to me that we support this fabulous weeklong celebration, welcoming diversity here at home and throughout the country.”
The Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, longtime sponsors of the event, declined to support it last year. At the same time, the Dallas-based production company that had put the event on for the previous nine years looked for a way out.
“We have always wanted to see Gay Ski Week as a locally produced and run week of events, and this was our opportunity,” Cusack said in a previous interview with the Daily Planet. “Our excitement and commitment as a team to this is without question far beyond anything anyone from anywhere else in the country could have.”
Gay Ski Week coincides with the Telluride Aids Benefit Fashion Gala, which is “dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS by raising awareness and generating financial support for prevention programs and client care,” according to a news release.
The gala features local models in its fashion show.
“It’s the perfect addition to your week of celebration,” the release read.
For more information, visit the official website at www.telluridegayski.com or contact Cusack at 970-729-0567.
“I always tell my friends that (Gay Ski Week) is the social event of the winter. If you can only make one thing, it better be that week because it’s the best week of the year,” organizer Casey Nay previously told the Planet. “Hopefully, with the changes we’re bringing to the table, it’ll be an even better week.”