Whistler welcomed skiOUT, the gay and lesbian ski/snowboard club of Vancouver, for some summertime adventures this season.
SkiOUT is a social sports club that brings gays and lesbians together with sport and, of course, après "adventure" socials to recount the day's events. This summer was no exception, with two incredible activities.
First the group went out on the River of Golden Dreams tour, with 25 adventurers navigating the refreshing waters, followed by a barbecue at Wayside Park. The next adventure took to the sky as 50 hikers trekked the scenic High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain with stunning views of Cheakamus Lake and thousands of alpine flowers in full bloom. The group stopped at the top of Flute for a picnic, followed by après at Black's Pub.
Whistler also played host to the second North America Outgames, where 20 athletes competed in the Outgames Eco Challenge at Lost Lake.
The Eco Challenge was designed by the Coast Mountain Guides, which took the athletes on six challenges where they had to collect a colored ribbon after completing each of the various tasks. Once all the ribbons were collected and assembled in the correct order, they made a rainbow flag, the LGBT symbol of diversity, revealing the winners of the race.
The challenges included mountain biking, raft building and paddling, Tyrollean Traverse, repelling, swimming and orienteering. The fastest time was won by local Whistler residents Michael Frolick and Rohan Hare with a time of 1 hour, 45 minutes.
The Outgames medals, designed by Corrine Hunt, co-designer of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games medals, incorporated the Outgames theme of sea, land and sky with the orca, wolf's tail and raven. "The design of the Outgames medal incorporates the beauty of the West Coast environment," Hunt said.
The Outgames also included Whistler in the Flag Relay Race, which saw hundreds of runners dispatched from Vancouver's City Hall racing to the three points of the "Sea to Sky" and bring forth athletes and supporters to bear witness to the games that celebrated diversity, human rights and inclusivity.
One team raced to the University of B.C. over English Bay and to the Vancouver Art Gallery to represent the sea, another team raced to Simon Fraser University to Burnaby and to the art gallery to represent the land and the final team flew via helicopter to Whistler Mountain where the flag bearers raced through the Village and up Blackcomb, back to Whistler via the Peak 2 Peak and finally flying back to the art gallery to represent the sky.
The Outgames had a total of 12 sports, one of which was in Whistler, bringing in over 1,000 athletes from all over the world for the weeklong sporting and human rights event.
SkiOUT will resume monthly social events starting in November. For more information please visit skiOUT.com or visit Facebook and search skiOUT or GayWhistler.
And a reminder: WinterPRIDE is just six months away and we will be celebrating 20 years of OUT on the Slopes Feb. 5 to 12. For more information, visit gaywhistler.com.
Dean Nelson is CEO, community and media relations, for Alpenglow Productions, producers of WinterPRIDE. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.