Thredbo and Perisher
The Southern Cross Outdoors Group has two ski events organised for this year -“ a Thredbo ski weekend from 31 July to 1 August, and a week-long Ski Free 2004 event from 15 August to 22 August.

The ski week at Perisher Blue is now in its ninth year. Last year the group stayed in Perisher at the Sonnenhof Chalet, just 200 metres from the Perisher Quad Express lift. It’s back to the Sonnenhof again this year, and this 42-bed chalet has been booked exclusively for the group. The price for the week is $1,380, which includes seven nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast, ski race day and apr?ski activities.

The Thredbo weekend costs $525, and covers two nights’ accommodation at Snowgoose Lodge, lift pass, breakfasts and a three-course dinner on Saturday night.

Skiers of all standards from first-day beginner are welcome and organisers say a fun time is guaranteed for all. For further info, visit SCOG’s Ski Free website at www.scog.asn.au/skifree2004.htm or email skifree@scog.asn.au. Alternatively, phone Noel on 9810 4947 or Bruce on 8399 1955.

Queenstown
What better place to stage a gay ski week than New Zealand’s Queenstown? Now in its second year, the Queenstown Gay Ski Week is set for 4-11 September, with packages starting at $1,549 for seven nights’ accommodation, return airfare ex Sydney, lift pass, and other goodies. Last year’s event featured a surprise guest appearance by Australian Idol diva and drag-around-town, Courtney Act.

Positioned on Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by craggy mountains, Queenstown provides a picture-perfect postcard image. It has maintained a warm small-town feel while successfully cultivating an international appeal, aided by pretty European backpackers happy to call Queenstown home for a season.

And if the thrills of the snow start to pale, visitors can always find plenty of other adrenaline-pumping options.
A short distance out of town is the original A.J. Hackett bungee jump site at Kawarau Suspension Bridge. Here you’ll see a stream of tourist buses, full of the elderly and Japanese, pull over to watch and scream in horror as 20-somethings queue up to take the plunge.

Not only did NZ give the world bungee jumping but it also developed the jet boat. The Shotover JetBoat takes you on a thrilling 30-minute ride through narrow canyons and past rocky outcrops with only centimetres to spare, and the excitement peaks when your driver executes a 360-degree spin.

For more details on the Queenstown Gay Ski Week, visit www.gayskiweeknz.com.

Mt Buller
Midsumma’s annual frolic in the snow, WhiteOUT, is scheduled for 9-12 September. WhiteOUT is organised by a small committee of volunteers who are committed to providing the gay and lesbian community with an annual friendly frolic in the snow, regardless of individual skiing ability. Full Mt Buller details and booking forms will be available shortly via the Midsumma website at
www.midsumma.org.au.

Whistler
Twenty years ago, Whistler was little more than a wintertime destination with a ski hill and a gas station. Today, this Canadian village becomes a gay and lesbian Mecca every January when the annual Altitude Gay and Lesbian Ski Week takes over town.

Set for 29 January to 7 February next year, Altitude is a candy store of fun on and off the mountains. There’s brilliant visibility during Wig ‘n’ Hat Day when the entire mountain community is encouraged to wear hats and wigs. It’s a fantastic spectacle of mountain magic where everyone is capped with beehives, Afros, blue bonnets and mop-tops.

There’s daily skiing and snowboarding hosted by gay volunteers every morning. Groups are divided according to ability and friendships are quickly formed as the groups meet for lunch or outdoor barbecues. Altitude also hosts numerous apr?ski events, offering the chance to relax on the patio with a cold one, meet new friends, and put your feet up: there’s a uniform night, a high-energy fashion show, a comedy night, jazz and cabaret shows, and even a beach party.

One of the most popular events is the T-Dance hosted at Pika’s Roundhouse, a restaurant perched atop Whistler Mountain over 6,000 feet above sea level. Access is by gondola only and guests are treated to top-notch music and epic night-time mountain vistas that cannot compare to any other dance party experience. Visit www.outontheslopes.com for more details.

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