Welcome to Whistler Pride 2019
Thinking of coming to Whistler but not sure the ski town has earned its inclusivity credentials? Think again. Whilst there are no gay bars in Whistler yet, this beautiful mountain town is a welcoming, safe and fun place for people who don’t adhere to heterosexual or cis-gender norms.
(That’s not to say that Canada is perfect. We at Forged feel that there is still room for improvement for welcoming LGBTQI communities everywhere. However, we believe Whistler has a great history of welcoming diversity and is continuously making strides with welcoming in everyone to the mountain lifestyle!)
Whistler has a unique and hugely dynamic demographic. With a residential population that is both international as well as young (the average age is 32), and with approximately three million visitors heading up to the town annually, the town is full of excited people there to get outside and have fun.
People arrive and thrive with different backgrounds and different passions. Diversity is celebrated in what has been described as the largest gay-friendly mountain resort in North America, whether you are coming for two days or two years, for the winter or the summer.
With early bird Whistler Pride 2019 tickets now on sale, it’s worth exploring what Whistler has to offer for LGBTQI communities from hotels, to Pride Festival, and to urban design improvements.
Whistler Pride 2019
Whistler has been hosting its own Pride and Ski Festival for almost 27 years. Whistler Pride 2019 is set to be the biggest yet, with a huge selection of entertainment and glorious mountain fun set up for what has been described as the number one gay winter event in the world. Between January 20th-27th expect men and women from across the world to descend upon Whistler.
Some of the entertainment on offer includes:
- Comedy and Game Nights: expect top comedians to get to the stage for the famous Wednesday comedy night and post-comedy lounge. Whistler Pride 2018 was graced with Emmy and Grammy-nominated comedian Margaret Cho. Game Nights, such as group games of Cards Against Humanity, are also features of this raucous weekend.
- Wellness: if you weren’t already familiar with the Scandinave Spa, Whistler Pride can introduce you to this beautiful get-away. At Pride 2018 visitors had the chance to relax to DJ music with a glass of wine or beer during an exclusive nighttime opening in the peaceful spa’s settings.
- Dance and Music: top DJs in some of Whistler’s best bars and clubs will provide night-time entertainment throughout the week. The Whistler Pride line-up will feature a highly anticipated Friday Furrocious Party and Saturday Snowball Party.
- Skiing and riding: ski and snowboard guiding will be offered to skiers and riders of all abilities, to be guided safely around the mountains. This is a complimentary service (but the lift ticket is not included) and gives you a chance to meet lots of new people.
A detailed program will be announced later this summer, but if you are interested in heading to one of the world’s biggest, most exciting, and most beautiful Pride festivals, early bird tickets are already on sale with prices ranging between $2,049.00 – $3,558.00 for seven-12 nights accommodation and entry to programmed events. Be aware that these tickets do not include ski tickets or travel insurance.
Check out the highlights from Whistler Pride 2018!
Where to stay?
If you are visiting Whistler and looking to treat yourself, there are a number of highly rated hotels in Whistler that have been approved by TAG (Travel Alternatives Group). This initiative approves hotels based on established gay-friendly criteria and standards. Employees will have been educated in sensitivity training, and high standards are held to ensure that the staff employed reflect the diversity of LGBTQI communities.
As the host hotel for Whistler Pride 2019, Aava is a superb choice of accommodation for your trip to Whistler. Located in the Village, Aava is decked with the standard trimmings of a luxurious Whistler hotel: pool, hot tub and sauna. The early bird tickets now available for Whistler Pride 2019 come with accommodation at this highly-rated hotel. A variety of room sizes- suitable for the needs of a single traveller, small families, and large groups- means that Aava can cater to the needs of all different group types.
Crystal Lodge and Suites
Also located in the Village and just steps away from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, Crystal Lodge and Suites offer an outdoor heated pool, hot tub, fitness centre amongst other features. For the visitors that are looking to spend some time on the beautiful golf courses of Whistler, this particular hotel has a unique partnership with its sister golf courses Nicklaus North and Furry Creek and therefore is a good option for a central accommodation choice.
If you are looking for a more laid back vibe, a hotel outside of the bustling Village may be a great option. In Creekside, a part of the Whistler municipality south of the Village and which still boasts a good variety of amenities, Evolution is a TAG approved and highly rated option. As well as an outdoor heated pool, Evolution has not just one but two hot tubs, a sauna, a eucalyptus steam room, and more.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Don’t let the name fool you- this grand hotel is not old-fashioned. In fact, the first same-sex wedding in Whistler happened in the Fairmont. On the hunt for a unique wedding venue? Their on-site wedding chapel is located on the rooftop, offering breath-taking views of the mountains. As part of the successful Fairmont hotel chain giant, you can expect top quality offerings from this hotel. A golf course, the Vida Spa, and slopeside whirlpools are just some of the features of this luxurious hotel.
Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa
At the foot of the mountains and in the heart of the Village, the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa offers its own Taman Sari Royal Spa, quick access to the mountains and a variety of room sizes to cater for the needs of different groups. There are even connecting room options for larger parties. Since Spa is in the name, you can expect a variety of elegant wellness options. Most rooms even have their own jetted soaker tubs.
Mountainside Lodge, located centrally in the Village, is a fantastic option for those who like a dine-in option during their vacations. All rooms are equipped with full kitchens, providing more culinary flexibility for the guests. Just in case cooking after a long day of adventuring isn’t a priority, one of Whistler’s best Italian restaurants- Trattoria di Umberto– is located within the lodge. If you are looking for a cosy and luxurious place to stay, this hotel treats its guests to fireplaces in every room, and some of the loft suites even have their own private saunas.
Whistler is Welcoming Even in It’s Urban Design
In celebration of the diverse LGBTQI communities of Whistler, inclusivity in general, and Whistler Pride’s 25th anniversary two Rainbow Crosswalks were installed in fall 2017. They can be found on Main Street in front of and near the library.
These brightly-coloured crosswalks were instigated by Whistler Pride’s executive director and CEO Dean Nelson who wanted people, and especially youth, to have a visual reminder that diversity is welcomed, is celebrated and is central to the community. When Nelson proposed the idea to Whistler’s municipal council it received unanimous support.
Whilst rainbow crosswalks can be found elsewhere in BC, for example along Davie Street in Vancouver, Whistler is the first ski resort in BC to feature such an urban design improvement.
For the opening of the crosswalks in September 2017, representatives from the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society performed a traditional Two Spirit First Nations down ceremony. This involved the releasing of handfuls of down feathers in a representation of peace, love and unity.
Two Spirit is a term used by some First Nations North Americans to describe people in their communities who occupy a third-gender or gender-variant role in their cultures. The Two-Spirit as a concept has a long history in both Canada and the States and has been gaining greater attention and acknowledgement in the last five years as greater media and political attention has focused on the rights of and acknowledgement of people who do not fit cis-gender roles.
Representatives from the RCMP, local politics and students from Whistler schools also spoke at the opening ceremony, praising the revealing of the Rainbow Crosswalks and celebrating inclusivity and equality in the Whistler community.
Whistler LGBTQI, We’d Love to Meet You at Whistler Pride 2019!
Whether you are coming to Whistler to live or to visit, for summer or for winter, for axe throwing, or for the sights, this beautiful mountain town is a welcoming, safe and fun place for LGBTQI communities. Whistler thrives off of its diversity. The dynamic migrations in and out of the town bring people from different cultural backgrounds together in a mission to live the good life.
While its true there are no designated gay bars in Whistler, it celebrates diversity in one of the biggest Pride festivals available, and has a very inclusive nightlife. Plus, there is a large selection of high-quality hotels that are recognized for adhering to the highest standards for LGBTQI inclusivity.
Pride for the LGBTQI community of Whistler is not limited to the week-long Pride Festival in winter. If you watch where you step, you may spot Whistler’s celebration of inclusivity, diversity and equality painted into the ground in the colours of the rainbow. Just as a crosswalk is an integral piece of urban infrastructure, Whistler recognizes the LGBTQI communities as central to its thriving community.