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Attendees at the 2011 WinterPride in Whistler, B.C. (TJ Ngan/GayWhistler.com/TJ Ngan/GayWhistler.com)
Attendees at the 2011 WinterPride in Whistler, B.C. (TJ Ngan/GayWhistler.com/TJ Ngan/GayWhistler.com)

Out There by Jennifer Van Evra

Hit Whistler's slopes for WinterPRIDE Add to ...

Break out your rainbow colours, head up to the slopes and join the 20th annual WinterPRIDE, an LGBT-friendly week of snowy fun in Whistler.

The fest’s myriad outdoor events include guided ski and snowboard tours, snowmobile excursions, a 5K run, a snowshoe adventure, inner tubing and a PRIDE Skeleton Slide Experience.

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Those who prefer the great indoors can enjoy dinners, tasting tours, comedy shows, live music, a Gender Bender Drag Ball, and plenty of late-night parties.

Later in the week, the mountain town will also host its first-ever Pride Ski Out and March through Whistler village.

The event, which saw a spike in attendance after the 2010 Olympics, now draws visitors from around the globe, including Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia, as well as from the U.S. and Canada – and not only because of the myriad events on offer.

“The freedom just to be yourself, and to walk down the village stroll holding your partner’s hand is really important – because some of our guests are coming from communities where they don’t have that freedom,” says Dean Nelson, CEO and executive producer of WinterPRIDE, who says that many gay men and women have also met their life partners at the fest, and return year after year with friends.

“So for them to be able to have that feeling of being an equal human being for that one week out of the year – that is really, really special.”

WinterPRIDE runs through Feb. 12. For info and a list of events, visit gaywhistler.com

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