Winter in Ontario can be cold, windy, snowy…and fun!  The 2nd annual Ontario Gay Ski Weekend at Blue Mountain Ski Resort just outside of Collingwood is sure to warm up winter skeptics. The (gay) village of Blue Mountain is draped in the rainbow colours and several events are planned both on and off the slopes. While other LGBT winter festivals happen across Canada, within the United States, and over in Europe, this is the first and only one in Ontario, and it’s an easy two hour commute from Toronto. This year there are several new activities for non-skiers/boarders, as well as women-only events.

Ski & Ride

With 42 runs spanning 250 acres of skiable terrain, Blue Mountain offers the largest ski area in Ontario.  There are opportunities to go skiing/snowboarding with guided ski groups by skill level, lesson packages for those who want to try it out, skill enhancement clinics for more experienced riders, and fun on slope social activities. Toronto Gay Ski and Snowboarding Club volunteers lead the Group Ski program daily, grouping people of similar skill level together for a fun morning shredding the slopes and making new friends.

Socials, Events & Parties

Group Lunch brings everyone together for a mid-day check-in, Apres-ski events every evening to socialize with friends, Dine OUT! tour to explore the culinary offerings of Blue Mountain, the Proud FM Family Dance Party, grooving out in the village square, and of course Avalanche After Dark, the nightly party series returns for any late night revelers. NEW for 2015, Saturday night you’ll have your choice of 2 different parties; the main event; Avalanche After Dark Saturday, or WoW (Women of Winter) as we launch our new Women’s specific party.

Canadian Pride

Pride Stage

The entertainment at the new Pride Stage showcases a lot of great talent from the GTA, however it is the organizer’s goal to incorporate much more local talent in future years. “A common vision for a 1’000 Villages Showcase is to really show off rural Ontario LGBTQ artists. It’s definitely the place OGSW wants to grow for next year”, states entertainment coordinator Michael Ain. So there’s your call to action northern peeps. Contact organizers if you’re a performer who’s up for the challenge. In the meantime, check out this great line up of talent who will be gracing the stage this year – Ryan Graham Hinds; Devine Darlin; Judy Virago & Scarlett Bobo; EASTBOROUGH (featuring Stefanie G-i), Thad Jackson, Sima xYn, and Thane Edm Vocalist. With appearances by Boa; a 103.9 PROUD FM Family Dance Party w/ Tyler Boyle; and epic DJs including Kevin Bailey; Sum Wong (Sumation); Gruvidru (Andrew Schofield); and Vancouver’s best-of-the-west Dj Smoothie.

Off-Slope Activities

Summberbound has partnered to develop organized off-slope activities, such as snowshoeing, local wine tastings, tobogganing, or spend an afternoon relaxing at the spa.


Official lodging partner is the Blue Mountain Village Suites.  Stay right in the heart of the vibrant Blue Mountain Village, steps away from the village lifts, and all the shops, restaurants and services the village has to offer. Stylish open concept suites range in size from studios to three bedrooms and all come completely furnished with full kitchens or kitchenettes, pull out sofa in the living room, and flat screen television. NEW for 2015.  Upgrade to a suite at the Westin Trillium House. More info here.

Hop on board the OGSW Bus that shuttles between the Church-Wellesley Village in downtown Toronto and Blue Mountain Village in Collingwood.

OGSW Festival Party Pass

While a number of the festival events are free to attend or participate in, the OGSW Festival Party Pass is your best value for throwing open the doors to all of the paid party and social events of the festival. The OGSW Festival Party Pass also gives you exclusive benefits while attending the festival, including discounts on lift tickets, and discounts on off-slope activity programming


The Fine Print

Ontario Gay Ski Weekend – January, 9 – 11, 2015. Avalanche Ontario Gay Ski Weekend festival combines’ sports, culinary, wellness, spectacular social, and cultural events, in celebration of Pride of Canada’s sexual diversity. Avalanche Events strives to create rural LGBT community programs, and raise funds, to support local LGBT youth in this area. Presented by Avalanche Events. in partnership with Blue Mountain Resort, and the Blue Mountain Village Association, and collaborations with Toronto PFLAG, OutSport Toronto, and The Collingwood Area Gays & Lesbians Association.

Visit Ontario Gay Ski Weekend for all the details, updates, booking links and festival passes/event tickets. or Facebook.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.