In March next year the gang from European Gay Ski Week are celebrating a decade of amazing events with what promises to be their biggest and best holiday so far. If you’ve never been on one of these popular holidays then this is the one for you. Dave Cross spoke to Event Director Kevin Millins about this unique and mix of world class skiing and brilliant gay entertainment.
Hi Kevin, how would you sum up the European Ski Week?
It’s a fabulous combination of world class skiing and the best in music, clubs, cabaret and dinning. The mix of guests is really good with ages ranging from 18 to some very active 70 somethings with people from many countries, cultures and backgrounds. Winter sports are an equaliser, so whether you’re a student or CEO of a multinational brand, once you are sliding down the side of a mountain, you’re mixing on an equal basis. Turning a small mountain hamlet into a gay village creates an amazing atmosphere, which is incredibly social, and everyone can bond over the shared interest of skiing. Over the week some real bonds and lifelong friends can be made.
Tell us about when it started.
It started in 2009 with 50 guests and has grown year on year. We now have in excess of 1,000 guests coming from all over Europe and around the world. Last year we had guests from 49 different countries attend and we get lots returning again and again.
Where and when is the 2018 event?
For 2018, our 10th anniversary, we are in Les Menuires, Les 3 Vallées in France, from 17th to 24th March.
What is the resort like?
It’s brilliant, the best location, slap bang in the middle of Les 3 Vallées. It’s been described as the hidden jewel in Les 3 Vallées crown and it works perfectly for our event. There are loads of bars, a perfect cabaret space, a huge pool and sauna complex for our pool party, three great clubs and best of all the Mayor and tourist board fully embrace our community and support the event.
What can you tell us about the actual skiing? Is there something for beginners as well as more experienced skiers?
The location makes it the perfect location for us. For advanced skiers it’s possible to ski to every resort within Les 3 Vallées in a single day and in the centre of the resort are many gentle ‘green’ runs, which are ideal for people making their first tentative steps onto the slopes. We have our own private ski school with gay or gay-friendly ski instructors who provide classes for all. If you have never skied before, by the end of the week you will be progressing towards that goal of a black run. For more experienced skiers and boarders there are advanced on piste and off piste classes. For those who are above ski school level, we have our own ‘snow hosts’ taking groups around the entire ski area. The groups are divided into two categories, those who want to lunch well, who will stop at some of the best mountainside restaurants, and those who want to make the most of their ski time by quick stops at (considerably cheaper) self serve restaurants on the mountain.
What about the accommodation on offer?
To create a great mix of people at an event you have to cater for all budgets. Our packages start from €399, which includes your week’s accommodation, lift pass and event pass (all that’s left to pay for is your skis, your food and your drinks) through to full board in a 5-star spa hotel, starting at €3,000 per person. There is of course every standard of accommodation in-between.
What do we get in the package with the event pass?
The event pass is your passport to pleasure; it allows you access to every event that takes place throughout the week. The only exceptions are if the event has food, that has to be paid for and the pool party, which is only open to pass holders but a supplement has to be paid. You can ski all day then party from 4pm through till 5am every day, with a choice of at least four events every day. Plus it’s not just about access to all the events, you get discounted drinks in many of the bars, discounted meals in restaurants both on the mountain and in the village, discounted ski hire and many other offers from the various shops throughout the resort.
Can you tell us about the day time events?
Nothing beats our Aprés Ski Events. It’s the heartbeat of EGSW and always generates incredible atmospheres. All the hosted groups and the ski school classes finish their day just in time to deliver hundreds of thirsty skiers and boarders directly into the party.
And what about the night time events, parties and entertainment?
For our evening events we take over the resort clubs exclusively for our pass holders. We fly over DJs, dancers, cabaret acts and singers and install extensive production throughout. For hardcore partiers, there’s the after-hours parties and you can party on right through to 5am, giving you a couple of hours kip before the first lift opens. This year we’re excited to announce, alongside a whole host of other major European clubbing brands, one of the USA’s biggest gay event brands, Masterbeat. This is the first time they’ve ventured to European soil, so we’re pretty excited.
Can you book everything – flights, accommodation and passes – all in one go as a package on your website?
Our online system allows you to book everything in one go, paying only a small deposit and the balance closer to the event, or if you would prefer in monthly instalments. If you are undecided about something you can log into your account later and add various options to the booking at a later date. There are tons of extras and this gives you time to decide what you and your friends might want to do. The only aspect of your trip we don’t provide are flights.
What else do we need to know?
We’re excited to be working with Boyz magazine this year, meaning your readers benefit from a €40 discount on the cost of an event pass.
The European Ski Week is packed with loads of events every single day you are there with day time skiing and parties plus some brilliant club nights. Here’s just a few to whet your ski appetite.
The Welcome Party
Reunite with old friends and make a load of new ones at the first big club night party where the theme is to wear your national colours.
Group Lunges/Mountain Lunches
Every morning at 9.15am the brilliant Lady Galore and her megaphone leads a group warm up that is both fun and essential to get the blood pumping. Plus EGSW works with 15 amazing mountain restaurants across the resort, perfect for lunch!
Snow Hosts and Ski School
From Sunday to Thursday the fabulous Snow Hosts will be taking groups on tours of Les 3 Vallées, the best way to learn your way around. Plus there’s a whole school of gay or gay friendly instructors all there to help you no matter what level.
Daily Après Ski
These daily open air parties from 4pm in the centre of Croisette draw huge crowds and are described as the heartbeat of EGSW, not to be missed.
Night time parties
This year there are too many to list here so full details are on the website but all of them come packed with big name DJs and performers. Just some of the club brands are Klub from the Ku Group London, Bear Necessity from Amsterdam, Masterbeat from the USA and Hustlaball, plus there’s daily cabaret and that infamous Pool Party.