Whistler Pride 2023: Canada’s Premier Queer Ski Festival
Whistler is famously known as a hub of activities, nature, world-class dining, and nightlife. While it may not be the first place that comes to mind as an LGBTQI+ destination, this small but mighty town is full of surprises, hosting the largest pride festival of its kind across Canada.
From what started out as a small weekend getaway for a group of gay ski enthusiasts, Whistler Pride has grown to include a multitude of events. Ranging from partnerships with the Squamish Lil’wat Culture Centre (SLCC), inviting guests to learn about the Squamish and Lil̓’watl nations, to dining establishments, hotels, spas, and the resort itself, festival-goers can expect Canadian hospitality at its finest during their week in Whistler.
Whistler Pride: When, Where, Tickets, and Passes
Celebrating its 30th year, Whistler Pride 2023 lands the week of January 22-29 and is an action-packed week of events both for members of the LGBTQI+ community and allies alike.
Located approximately a two-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler Pride has partnered with the Aava Hotel to negotiate excellent rates for festival-goers. As an alternative, accommodation can also be arranged through Whistler.com and Tourism Whistler.
With festival week fast approaching, there are a few options for joining in on the action. Attendees can choose from week passes, weekend passes, and individual event tickets available for purchase.
These passes include Express Entry to three festival après, three T-dances, and seven nightly events:
- Sunday: Welcome Party
- Monday: Après and LIT! at Vallea Lumina
- Tuesday: Après and Sip ‘N Dip at Scandinave Spa
- Wednesday: Après and Whistler Pride Comedy Night
- Thursday: T-Dance and Throwback Thursday
- Friday: T-Dance and Furrocious
- Saturday: T-Dance and Snowball (Main Event)
These passes include three nights of events from Thursday, January 26th, to Sunday, January 29th, three T-dances, and three nightly events:
- Thursday | T-Dance, Throwback Thursday
- Friday | T-Dance, Furrocious
- Saturday | T-Dance, Snowball (Main Event)
Lift tickets for access to ski/snowboard on the mountain, guide groups, EATS programming, and exclusive events such as the Comedy Night Meet & Greet and the SPLASH Indoor Pool Party are not included and can be purchased separately.
Whistler Pride 2023 Event Roundup
This year’s Whistler Pride is pulling out all the stops, boasting exciting events for festival-goers. From world-class guided ski and snowboard tours to the Sip ‘n Dip hosted by the Scandinave Spa, activities are lined up throughout the week. Some of the events you won’t want to miss include:
- An Evening with Bianca Del Rio: A night of comedy at Whistler’s conference centre, Bianca Del Rio is sure to bring the house down for Whistler Pride 23. An infamous drag queen and insult comic, Bianca Del Rio became a breakout star winning the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has continued on to headline a global stand-up tour, selling out venues such as Carnegie Hall and Wembley Arena.
- Whistler Pride Rainbow Ski-Out and Parade: An all-out vibrant parade down the mountain and through the village, participating skiers, snowboarders, and flag-bearers meet at the mid-point of Whistler Mountain and ski out together. Dressed to the nines, participants take their rainbow parade along the village stroll to the Olympic rings, celebrating diversity and inclusivity.
- Whistler Pride Charity Ski Race: An annual charity race, this year’s Whistler Pride is raising money for Whistler Animals Galore (WAG), a not-for-profit animal shelter and rehabilitation centre. Open to racers of all ages, there are prizes for the fastest, slowest, and those who can come closest to predicting their time. All for fun, racers are allowed to participate as many times as they’d like, with a recommended donation of $5 per run.
- Lit at Vallea Lumina: A multimedia night walk through an enchanted forest, Vallea Lumina is an outdoor experience like no other. Combined with beers by the fire, it will be a uniquely Whistler experience.
- Sip ‘n Dip at Scandinave Spa: Some relaxation to balance out days on the mountain; Whistler Pride attendees will enjoy wine, beer, and music at Scandinave Spa’s world-renowned pavilion.
- Snow Ball – The Main Event: The final event to close out Whistler Pride 23, the Snow Ball is spectacular! Your chance to dance the night away with lights, lasers, DJs, and friends, new and old.
Where to Apres During Whistler Pride 2023
With so many options to choose from, finding a great place to apres with friends during Whistler Pride might seem daunting. Luckily, in a town known for its food and beverage industry, there’s a venue for just about everyone. Here are a few you won’t want to miss:
- Forged Axe Throwing: A short venture south of the village, Forged Axe Throwing is a fantastic place to go with friends who want to mix things up! Maybe you’ve never thought of trying axe throwing, perhaps you’ve always wanted to, or maybe you’re a secret timber sports pro and want to show off your skills — Forged is your chance to add a little action to your apres. Now serving beer and other alcoholic beverages, Forged is your one-stop shop for a memorable apres in Whistler.
- Whistler Brewing Company: Around the corner from Forged Axe Throwing, Whistler Brewing is both a longstanding fixture of the community and a proud sponsor of Whistler Pride 23. Whether you’re looking to organise a brewery tour with friends or enjoy some of the best beer Whistler has to offer; Whistler Brewing has you covered.
- The Raven Room: Are you someone who loves a great cocktail? The Raven Room has you covered. With an extensive cocktail list and a locally sourced and globally inspired menu, the Raven Room is the go-to option for those who want to explore the elevated side of Apres.
- Cure Lounge & Patio: Whether your accommodation is in Creekside or you want to explore more of Whistler, the Cure Lounge & Patio located at Nita Lake Lodge is a cosy venue well worth the trip.
Remember to Sign Up for a Guided Ski Group!
Whistler Pride wouldn’t be complete without offering guided ski and snowboard groups; after all, you’re making the trip to one of North America’s premier resorts. A fantastic way to meet other attendees while honing your skills on the slopes, these volunteer-led groups range in ability from beginner to expert.
At the heart of Whistler Pride, taking in the mountains and spending time with friends is what makes the festival so special. So ski, ride, and make memories you won’t forget.
Join the Celebration at Whistler Pride 2023
A town full of adventurers, life-long travellers, artists, and athletes, Whistler is a unique community of individuals. With an average of three million people choosing Whistler as their vacation destination every year, this little mountain town is a beautiful bubble that makes space for people of all backgrounds, and demographics from around the world.
Often referred to as the friendliest gathering of its kind on the planet, Whistler Pride is an opportunity to come together. This January, join in on the festivities and take part in a celebration of community, culture, and diversity with one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world.