SKI BUMS :: Gay & lesbian skiing and snowboarding club
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There are very few ski resorts in America where you can board a plane first thing in the morning, fly across two time zones, and be skiing on a mountain topping 10,000 feet by noon. The ski areas just above Salt Lake City -- Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton -- are part of that rare class. While the accessibility of the Utah resorts are continuing to win skiers and snowboarders who've grown tired of the traffic-clogged Colorado I-70 corridor, but first time visitors to Utah's resorts are wowed by something else: the snow.
That's one big reason why Outside Magazine recently named Alta / Snowbird America's #1 ski resort.
In Utah, there's 500 average bone-dry inches of it, and with altitudes this spectacular, it doesn't thaw-and-refreeze the way snow does at lower-lying areas. The result? A big, soft, fluffy playground that offers some of the world's very finest skiing and snowboarding well into March and April. And this playground is ready for exploring; with giant open bowls, smooth roller-coaster groomers and the 2002 Mens and Women's Olympic courses, you'll be kicking yourself that you hadn't come here sooner. We've got four nights here -- right at the base of the spectacular Snowbird resort -- and three days of skiing and riding through some of America's most highly-prized ski resorts. Join us as SKI BUMS returns to Utah!
One of the great things about SKI BUMS trips is the flexibility within our itinerary. We schedule social events, meet-ups, après ski afternoons and group dinner reservations, but you're always free to break away from the group and do your own thing if you like.
Wednesday, March 10
Travel day: see "Air | Ground Transfers" for more information. Participants will fly into Salt Lake City and join our ground transfer (provided)
Evening: meet & greet cocktail reception, followed by dinner at Snowbird. We'll get started around 7:00 PM.
Thursday, March 11
Early morning skill level grouping / meet up on the mountain at Snowbird to catch the lifts
Lunch and Après-ski meet ups
Group dinner reservation
Friday, March 12
Morning meet up to ski and ride Alta (which is only open to skiers) or Brighton (which is open to skiers and boarders)
Lunch and Après-ski meet ups
Free evening to spend as you like
Saturday, March 13
Morning bus pickup for daytrip to Snowbasin, about 80 minutes from Snowbird
Lunch meet ups, Après-ski and party bus home!
Evening dinner at Snowbird (provided) and after party
Sunday, March 14
Join our ground transfer (provided) to Salt Lake City International Airport
NOTE: Participants may add an additional day of lifts -- to ski / ride on Wednesday or Sunday.
*this itinerary is just an outline and is subject to change; our participants will receive a detailed itinerary in March.
With a combined ski area topping 4,700 acres, the inter-connected resorts of Snowbird and Alta have far more than the world's most famous snow -- they've also got some of the most exciting terrain in America. Consistently ranked #1 in Ski and Skiing magazine's annual rankings for challenge and terrain, it's natural to wonder why the crowds don't show up. Then -- when you finally visit -- you might see why. There's honestly not much to do up here but ski and board. Keep in mind, you've got a city of over a million people just twenty minutes down the canyon -- making the Salt Lake ski areas the only North American ski resorts within a quick drive of a dozen gay bars! -- but when you're up in the mountains, you're kickin' it old school.
Options for Day Two: Some participants may want to do two days at Snowbird, while others may want to focus on exploring Alta, next door. (And for a small upgrade, you can go back and forth between Alta and Snowbird on the same day). Boarders, take note: Alta is one of the handful of resorts that still doesn't allow snowboarding; you'd be wise to check out Brighton, a killer-fun mountain that's especially popular with the snowboard set. It's another option within our Salt Lake Super Pass, and you'll probably have some skiers who decide to join you!
Just over an hour away, Snowbasin is up to something quite different. A huge influx of development funding just before the 2002 Olympic Games led to the construction of some of America's most ornate, stunning lodges, an award-winning lift system, and a newly-expanded terrain that's yet to draw a major crowd. The men's and women's Olympic courses are here, but the thrills extend far beyond. With fantastic terrain for all skill levels -- and delicious food that puts other ski resorts to shame -- Snowbasin is an up-and-comer that's a perennial SKI BUMS favorite.
OPTIONAL ADD ON: For those who are arriving early on Wednesday or departing late on Sunday, you may add an additional 1-day lift ticket (good at Alta / Snowbird / Solitude / Brighton) for just an extra $53. The pass is valid for one day, at just one resort. (Those who want to visit both Snowbird and Alta may upgrade it to a "combo pass" for $32, payable at the mountain.) The deadline to add this discounted pass is February 24th. After this date, participants will need to pay full price for any extra lift tickets. Compare prices >
It's worth noting: the city of Salt Lake is working hard to extend a warm hand to the LGBT community. They've just elected an openly gay city council member, they're hosting an ever-expanding PRIDE celebration,and they even signed on a generous sponsor of the SKI BUMS fund-raiser for Lambda Legal, The Bums Rush. The LGBT community of Utah is vibrant, active and strong, and the ski industry in Utah is making a bold outreach to welcome travelers from all over the world. We can't wait to make our fourth trip to Utah in 2010.
The Lodge and the Inn at Snowbirdare part of the Snowbird village complex, an homage to modern architecture with buildings comprised of strong angles, poured concrete, and signage steeped in Helvetica. The entire property was renovated in 2004, but don't think Martha Stewart, think Philip Johnson. Above all -- think convenient. We're located just across the street from the main Snowbird Center, so you'll enjoy a mere two minute walk to the entryway for the Snowbird tram. Super easy. Unlike villages in towns like Whistler, there isn't a whole lot of development at Snowbird; the village is pretty minimal. Thankfully, with a group like ours, a social evening is built in with the rest of the BUMS, and when we're in a place like Utah, we tend to get tuckered out pretty early in the evening. When it's time to relax, we'll enjoy great amenities like:
Slopeside access -- 2 minute walk to the lifts
Outdoor heated pool and hot tub, indoor steam room and dry sauna
Balconies with mountain views
Mini-fridge in all rooms; fireplaces and full kitchens in the single-occupancy rooms
High-speed internet throughout the property, on-site business center
On-site Lodge Bistro, with mountain views, apres ski and afternoon tea
Complimentary coffee, tea, cider and hot chocolate, newspapers and board games
In-room cable TV and OnCommand movies
Newly renovated workout / fitness room
Each morning, you're free to get breakfast wherever you like; the Snowbird base area offers everything from quick grab-n-go breakfast burritos to delicious sit-down breakfasts. Each day, SKI BUMS will name an official meet-up spot for lunch; it's a great way to re-connect with the BUMS, trade reports on the conditions, and mix it up to hit the hill in the afternoon. We've got group dinner plans for Wednesday and Thursday, but Friday night is a free evening to spend with new friends. The cost of these meals is not included, and you're free to opt out of them at any time if you like.
Saturday night's dinner is provided; we'll be enjoying the delicious culinary stylings of the Cliff Lodge's Aerie restaurant, serving up some of the best cooking in the Wasatch range.
Here's all the important information you'll need to plan your transportation to and from Salt Lake City.
Airfare is not included for this trip; when you're ready to purchase your ticket, select to fly to Salt Lake City (SLC) from whatever airport is convenient for you. Because SKI BUMS members live in many cities, we're happy to offer the following 5% OFF discount code from American Airlines LGBT travel desk, aa.com/rainbow:
To use this discount code, book your flight on aa.com/rainbow and enter the code in the Promotional Code field. Visit aa.com/rainbow >
Recommended travel times:
It's about a forty minute ride from the Salt Lake City International airport up to the base of Snowbird. Here are our recommendations to help coordinate ground transfers and give you a comfortable arrival and departure.
Arrival times for Wednesday, March 10
Ideal: Before 4:00 PM. Your room may not be available immediately upon check in (they're not guaranteed until 3:00 PM), but our lodging is happy to store luggage for you in the meantime. You'll have some time to kill upon arrival -- but it's a perfect time to grab some lunch, check out the Snowbird base area, and set up equipment rentals.
Good: Between 4:00 and 6:00 PM. This will give you enough time to make it to Snowbird and check into your room and catch the evening's festivities, which begin around 7 PM. If you're arriving during this time and you need to rent equipment, you'll probably have an early morning the next day to get your gear before our morning meet up, which happens when the lifts open.
Not recommended: after 7:00 PM. You're likely to miss our meet & greet cocktail reception and information session on the first evening -- something you'll want to attend if you can. Feel free to contact us or submit an inquiry (at right) if it seems like you might need to arrive later in the evening.
Departure times for Sunday, March 14
Ideal: After 10:00 AM. Although Sunday is yours to enjoy however you like, many will spend a relaxing morning enjoying breakfast, having our goodbyes, and sharing a shuttle with other BUMS from our hotel. Most participants will depart in late morning or early afternoon.
Later departure / optional add on: If you'd like to take a late afternoon or evening flight, you may want to add on a 4th day of skiing and riding for just an additional $53. You can use this 4th day lift ticket at Alta, Snowbird, Solitude or Brighton -- see "Resorts" to learn more.
SKI BUMS is providing ground transfer via shared shuttles from Canyon Transportation, the most popular transfer company serving Snowbird. These shuttle mini-buses will comfortably carry you (and your luggage / gear) to and from our hotel at Snowbird, which is about a 40 minute drive from the Salt Lake City airport. SKI BUMS will remind you when Canyon Transportation is ready to take your reservation for your ground transfer -- we don't recommend making a reservation more than 14 days in advance. If other SKI BUMS are on your flight (or are arriving at a similar time), it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll have other BUMS in your shuttle, but we may be sharing the space with other guests as well.
Talk to anyone who's been on a SKI BUMS trip and they'll tell you that the singular best reason to join a trip with us is simple: the people you'll meet. SKI BUMS attracts a fun-loving group of outdoorsy, laid-back, friendly and outgoing men and women who are chill and out, and SKI BUMS designs our trips to make it extra easy for you to get to know them.
Each trip begins with a hosted skill level grouping, to help you meet the other skiers and riders who enjoy the same type of terrain that you do. We know that a day on the hill is usually more fun when you're not feeling pushed beyond your comfort level, or being held back by others who aren't keeping up. So whether you're simply hoping to make it down a trail without a yard sale, or you're on the hunt for hidden deep pow in the gullies, SKI BUMS begins by helping you connect with those who want to get down the mountain the same way you do.Each morning, SKI BUMS hosts a morning meet up with simple announcements, advice and reminders -- giving you the chance to connect with your friends and the others in your skill level group. One of our mornings is set aside for you to spend as you like, in case you'd like to sleep in, do some shopping or hit up the spa!Daily lunches are an easy chance to reconnect with the whole group, trade stories on what you're finding on the mountain, and mix it up. SKI BUMS announces an official spot for lunch each day; you'll find the trip leaders on hand to answer questions or help with anything you might need. At the end of the day, the BUMS regroup for drinks and fun at the base of the mountain, for the daily tradition known as après-ski.On each SKI BUMS trip, the real focus is on the skiing and riding. That usually means that in the evenings, we're ready to relax! We make it easy for you by setting up dinner reservations each night at some of the tastiest restaurants around. One of our evenings is always a free night for you to make your own plans with new friends.You'll finish the trip with a whole group of new friends, but this trip won't be the last time you see them. Reconnect with the other BUMS from your trip at our cool social events like Avalanche, Pow Wow and our new house parties, and stay in touch through our Facebook page.
SKI BUMS makes pricing and payments easy; you can pay with any major credit card, cash or check. New for 2010, you may sign up for any western trip for a deposit of just $99 per person!
Space is limited.
SKI BUMS restricts the number of our participants for all our trips. In the event that this trip sells out, SKI BUMS members may add their name to our Wait List, but we cannot guarantee that wait list spots will become available.
You are not confirmed for this trip until you have provided your information and submitted your deposit. You must be a current SKI BUMS member to join any portion of a SKI BUMS trip. Tell me about SKI BUMS membership >
Signing up: provide your info and deposit:
First, click here to provide your information. After you've submitted your sign up form, you'll be directed to our payment page for your $99 deposit; we use PayPal, the internet's most trusted payment system. You do not need a PayPal account to make a payment, and if you prefer, you can pay with cash or a check.
Balance due February 24th:
Your balance of $800 is due on Wednesday, February 24. There is a 5% late fee for any late payments. Pay my balance >
Optional add ons:
Additional single-day lift ticket: If you'd like to ski / ride on Wednesday or Sunday, you may add an additional single-day, single-resort lift ticket for the discounted price of $53. See the Resorts tab to learn more.
Single occupancy: We have a limited number of single occupancy spots available for this trip for a supplemental charge; for pricing and availability, please contact us directly.
Equipment rental: Ski and snowboard rental is not included in the price of this trip. We will have a discounted rental available for trip participants; you should budget about $30 - 40 per day, depending on the performance level of the equipment you'd like to rent.
Instruction: Those who are participating in one of our skill programs will have the opportunity to take an advanced lesson during the course of our trip; we'll be arranging instructors and pricing with those who have enrolled in the program. You may also arrange your own lessons with the staff at any of the resorts we visit; visit their websites for more information on lessons.
Before February 17, 2009: $25 cancellation fee. From February 18 - 24: $99 fee. From February 24 - March 1, $600 fee. After March 2: no refund. SKI BUMS very strongly recommends the purchase of travel insurance to guard against unforeseen cancellations.
Q: How many people participate in each SKI BUMS trips?
A: Our Western and International trips have between 30 and 45 participants, depending on the destination. SKI BUMS limits the size of each trip to keep things fun, and to help cultivate a real sense that you're part of a great group of new friends -- not part of a crowd.
Q: Do I need to have a roommate lined up before I sign up for this trip?
A: Not at all; about half of our trip participants sign up without a roommate in mind. You can tell us about your roommate preferences during sign up, and we'll be happy to provide a roommate for you.
Q: What if something happens, and I need to cancel my spot on the trip?
A: See the "pricing" tab for the full cancellation policy. SKI BUMS highly recommends the purchase of travel insurance to assist you in case you need to cancel your booking.
Q: What if I'd like to arrive early, stay late, or purchase this trip without lift tickets.. can I do that?
A: SKI BUMS is happy to set up a custom trip for you; simply contact us to tell us what you'd like to do.
Q: Can you accommodate those with special dietary needs?
A: Sure thing. If you're a vegetarian / vegan, you keep Kosher, or you have any other special dietary needs, just tell us on the sign up page. We'll make sure our evening dinners are specially prepared for you.