Vail a step behind on Gay Ski Week | AspenTimes.com

Vail a step behind on Gay Ski Week

Lauren Glendenning
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Aspen Times fileRainbow flags line Main Street in Aspen during last year's Gay Ski Week at the resort.

VAIL, Colo. – One Vail company is trying to hone in on a market that has brought business to other resorts for years – the gay and lesbian community.

Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals, a local vacation planning and concierge company, is hosting Vail Gay Ski Week Jan. 27 to 31, which will include parties, apres ski events, group skiing, restaurant and lodging deals and other festivities.

The company, which used to be Vail Ski Vacations, is hosting the event for the third time, though it has yet to take off, said Janyce Brandon, Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals spokeswoman.

“It’s never really been recognized or supported (in Vail) before,” she said.

Brandon hopes this year will be different. She’s been talking to local businesses in hopes of putting together a list of deals for the gay and lesbian community, and anyone else who wants to take advantage of the week. She said the company also plans to work with the town of Vail to gain support.

Lourdes Ferzacca, who owns La Tour and Zacca Za with her husband, Paul Ferzacca, said she’s thrilled to have such an event in Vail.

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The gay community is typically well-educated, well-traveled and they don’t always have the same financial constraints, like children, that straight couples have, Lourdes Ferzacca said.

Lourdes Ferzacca said she has a lot of gay friends back in Chicago and is especially receptive to accommodating the gay community. The Ferzaccas have hosted Latin-specific gay events at their restaurants, from wine tastings to drag queen parties. Lourdes Ferzacca said they’ve been huge successes.

The gay community extends throughout the world, meaning the event could help with international exposure, she said.

“We have a large gay community in Vail,” she said. “I think we cater to so many other groups that we forget about the gay community.”

Julie Niiro, of Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals, said it’s about time Vail jumped on board. Aspen’s Gay Ski Week, which is celebrating its 33rd year in January, is a huge event for the town and its businesses, she noted. Telluride, Park City, Mammoth, Whistler and Lake Tahoe resorts also host successful annual gay ski weeks.

Vail’s 2010 ski week begins on the day Aspen’s ends, Jan. 24, which could bring some of Aspen’s crowd to Vail, Niiro said.

“We just want to have fun this year,” Niiro said. “Why wouldn’t we – it’s a wonderful cause.”

Vail Resorts and the Aspen Gay and Lesbian Community Fund didn’t immediately return calls or e-mails for comment.

lglendenning@vaildaily.com