Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« An Open Letter to an Organic B... | Gentian Violet, Ringworm, Aqua... »

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

No Longer the Only Gays in the Village

posted by on November 28 at 14:10 PM


This is as hard for me to admit as it will be for many of you to believe but… I’m a snowboarder. Dude, really, don’t laugh. I know it seems unlikely, considering my advanced age (34) and my taste in music (Sondheim, Gorme, Carr). But last fall I was ordered to attend three snowboarding classes at Snoqualmie Pass. Not only did I quickly learn to snowboard, I fell madly in love with the—what the hell is it anyway? A sport? Maybe when Sean White does it. For me it’s more of, oh I dunno, an activity?

I didn’t wanna learn—and that’s putting it mildly.

My boyfriend and our son, both of whom skateboard, started snowboarding together two years ago. (My boyfriend lied about our son’s age to get him into his a snowboarding class at the Pass.) Soon we were taking trips together, all three of us, to massive Canadian ski resorts near my boyfriend’s parent’s hilarious time-share/time-capsule condo. (It is always the early `70s at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.) On these trips, they would go off snowboarding while I sat around the lodge, drinking beer and reading. It was ideal, in my opinion, but my boyfriend insisted that I at least try to learn how snowboard. So that we could all do it together. You know, as a family.

So I learned—reluctantly. But I fell in love with it fast. So last year we went to Sunshine Village and Panorama in the Canadian Rockies; Silver Mountain in Idaho; Snoqualmie Pass (a dozen times), 49 Degrees North, Mount Baker in Washington. I bring to snowboarding the same reckless disregard for my safety that I’ve long brought to biking. Who knew that falling down a mountain could be so much damn fun?

Our first snowboarding trip this year was last weekend. We went to Crystal Mountain—that’s my son and boyfriend in the picture above; that’s Mount Rainier behind them. On Saturday we had tons of new snow and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Brilliant. On Sunday we had even more new snow, but with howling winds and near-blizzard conditions. Also brilliant.

But what we really liked about our visit to Crystal was discovering that, for what felt like the first time, we were not the only gays in the ski village. We haven’t run into many other queers in the ski resorts we’ve visited. Yes, yes: there’s some big annual gay ski thing/circuit party in Whistler. But we’re not interested in segregating ourselves, nor do we resent having to share mountains with straight people—like our son. We’ve just wondered, you know, where the other homo skiers and snowboarders are. Winter sports, it seems, aren’t big with queers. (Water sports on the other hand…)

So we were thrilled to discover a whole pack of hot, urban, snowboardin’ dykes up on Crystal last weekend. Friday night our waitress gave off a slightly dykey air. On Saturday night we noticed a whole table of slightly dykey looking 18-25 year-old women.

We were right: They were all dykes. And they’re all living and working on the mountain this season! And, man, can those girls drink! How did Crystal come to have a pack of resident dykes? Our waitress, we learned, worked at Crystal last year, and she was the loneliest lesbian in Washington State. This year talked a bunch of her snowboarding lesbian pals into applying for jobs, and she’s no longer lonely.

So if you’re a snowboarder too, head up to Crystal this year and say hello to Crystal’s resident dykes. And tell `em I said hello too.

We’re headed to Mt. Baker next. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find some fags up on that mountain…

RSS icon Comments



Posted by OldMan | November 28, 2006 2:28 PM

Hey, I'm younger at that altitude. Isn't everyone?

Posted by Dan Savage | November 28, 2006 2:30 PM

Dan has every right to be 34! That makes me what - 32? 33?

Why don't you try for 30, Dan?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | November 28, 2006 2:36 PM

I don't know... 30 seems bold, and slightly undignified. By 34, you've made peace with your 30s, you know? So I'll stick with 34—I have for, like, seven or eight years already.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 28, 2006 2:37 PM

How do you know your son is straight? Is he dating already?

Posted by Tiffany | November 28, 2006 2:52 PM

Shameless plug for:

Posted by defman23 | November 28, 2006 2:53 PM

Whenever I read about you and your family I get really happy. Like, teary-eyed happy. I'm really glad that we (people, not just gays) have such good role models as you and your family Dan. Thanks!

Posted by jenniferjane | November 28, 2006 3:01 PM

I usually feel like the loan mo skier but given the 'white party' feel of most gay ski events I'm usually okay with that.

Posted by monkey | November 28, 2006 3:03 PM

Try Red Mountain in Rossland, BC.

Rent one of the ski places.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 3:38 PM

Tons of gay friends living in SF that snowboard. So I'd presume Tahoe is gets a pretty mixed crowd.

Posted by Dougsf | November 28, 2006 3:45 PM

Those green pants are sooooo gay.

Posted by DOUG. | November 28, 2006 4:04 PM

Welcome to one of the best reasons for living in WA.

Snorting Elk Cellar is best drinking spot at Crystal.

Good bands also.

Posted by PeteNice | November 28, 2006 4:07 PM

Seriously, you three are so GODDAMNED CUTE.

Posted by Gloria | November 28, 2006 4:14 PM

dan IS 34...he counts his birth from the first time he heard his first Sondheim was Christmas Day, 1970, the tears ran down little Danny's ruddy cheeks as Dean Jones plaintive tenor sent shivers up young Savage's spine and he vowed on that glistening 'Company' album jacket, that THIS day would be the day of his spiritual 'birth'...

Posted by michael strangeways | November 28, 2006 4:21 PM

oh, wait that would make him 36...uh, then it was Christmas, 1972...little Danny is crying and clutching a copy of 'Follies' in his bemittened hand, vowing that THIS is the day....

Posted by michael strangeways | November 28, 2006 4:25 PM

Dude!! Way cool that you've discovered snowboarding. It's so much fun, and it puts a whole new spin on the winters here.

Your son is lucky to be growing up here, he'll be a wicked shredder in no time. Just make sure that once he starts to hit the backcountry he's had some avalanche awareness training and that he always wears a beacon.

I was at Crystal yesterday. 14 inches of fresh. It was on!!

Posted by Sean | November 28, 2006 4:30 PM

My son is a wicked shredder now -- he was boarding down double black diamonds at age seven. He's almost nine now. Does rails, boxes, 180s. He's a maniac.

Posted by Dan Savage | November 28, 2006 4:43 PM

I envy your son. After 5 years boarding, I just now am getting comfortable on the rails and boxes.

He is one lucky kid to have parents that snowboard with him.

And as a suggestion - try Steven's Pass. They always have nice powder, especially on the backside.

Posted by dkstar | November 28, 2006 6:40 PM

34? Try 44

Posted by SHARON NEADLES | November 28, 2006 6:45 PM

44? Try 42.

Posted by Stalker of Celery | November 28, 2006 6:59 PM

DKSTAR is right, the backside of Steven's Pass has the killer powder. It's opening day today for the backside, so it will be epic. Wish I could go.

If you're looking to step it up, you should try heli-boarding. North Cascades Heli-Ski in WA is awesome (, and they may have the best pilot in the business. Points North ( is probably the best operation in Alaska, and they handle all levels of experience, plus you get to hang out with Olympic medalists, pros, and film crews. You'd all have the time of your life.

Posted by Sean | November 29, 2006 7:22 AM

Ya I snowboard too I am gay and 51 but do not give a damn or make a big deal if there are gay guys or lesbians on the hill. I just go because I like it, just the same as a few other gay friends I have go. Actually we mostly avoid any gay organized ski/snowboarding events. It is just a great equalizer and nice just to hang out with people in general not just seek out or have to have a gay experience while snowboarding. In-fact it is great when I have a day where nothing has anything to do with my sexuality and no one is making about being gay.
Nice picture on the mountain

Posted by brian | November 29, 2006 11:40 AM

I've always gotten a good gay vibe at Crystal. My girlfriend and I were dyke skiers on Thanksgiving Day. We decided on Crystal because the thought of saying "no, one bed is fine" to the hotel at Crystal was much less frightening than "no,one bed is fine" to someone in Sultan or Skykomish near Stevens.

Posted by Dyke Skier | November 29, 2006 11:59 AM

Dan. At what point does the other father of your son become something more than a boyfriend? Partner seems too stodgy. Your task for 2007 is to come up with a new word for "spouse of the same sex." If you don't Stephen Colbert will.

Have fun at Mt. Baker!

Posted by elswinger | November 29, 2006 3:04 PM

I'm assuming that boy is wearing a helmet!! Especially if he's doing tricks.

Posted by skinny | November 29, 2006 5:43 PM

I agree with #24 ... there needs to be a term for that "more-than-boyfriend/girlfriend." I never liked "husband/wife" but I find "partner" too clinical ...

Posted by Gloria | November 30, 2006 4:54 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).