Monday, April 22, 2024

Ski Buddies and Wenatchee Pride carve paths of inclusivity at Stevens Pass Pride event

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SKYKOMISH –  Stevens Pass partnered with Wenatchee Pride and Seattle-based Ski Buddies to host its annual Pride event on Saturday, Feb. 24. The event commenced with an on mountain parade down Daisy, which was followed by après in the Pacific Crest Lodge. The après event had live music from DJ Myztic, and pride-themed food and drink. 

“We want to create a more welcoming community for folks who identify as LGBTQIA+, and so I'm happy that we can be part of this and promote it, and let people know that we are welcome in these spaces,” said Paula Arno Martinez, Wenatchee Pride Board Member.

For Wenatchee Pride, the event was an opportunity to bring people together from the East side who either already ski or may have always wanted to try, but faced barriers of access. The ski resort offered 30 passes for the nonprofit to share.

“It aligns with our goals of breaking down barriers and creating spaces that weren't necessarily meant for us, and then also just kind of inviting more people just to have fun together. It's bringing lots of different people together to have fun,” said Wenatchee Pride Events Chair Suzanne Nierra.

For Ski Buddies, a Pacific Northwest LGBTQIA+ winter sports club, the Pride event was a welcomed addition to an annual trip that has been happening for over 40 years. Every year, the group rents out a nearby lodge for a long weekend to connect with each other over a shared passion for skiing and snowboarding.

“You're skiing on the slopes and then afterwards, you can have dinner, and you can have conversations with people where you don't feel like you have to hide yourself,” said Ski Buddies President Nick Eckert.

The organization has members and meetups all over the world, but one of its most popular trips has been Stevens Pass, due to its affordability and proximity. Although the trip is continually booked out year after year, Eckert says the Pride event is a great way to build up a community of LGBTQIA+ skiers and snowboarders beyond the organization.

“It's really more of a co-marketing with Stevens Pass and Wenatchee Pride, and being able to bring more opportunities for gay and lesbian people to go up and ski. And really for us as a club, we're trying to focus on the next generation, the youth that are out there, we're talking 20-somethings 30-somethings that can come in and enjoy as well,” said Eckert. 

While the event was an opportunity to connect LGBTQIA+ skiers and snowboarders to the two organizations, it  was ultimately about coming together and experiencing unadulterated joy at the ski resort.

“I think it's especially important, and especially in this political climate, and just all the hateful rhetoric, and states that are passing these super dehumanizing laws, especially for trans folks, that we have to make queer joy whenever we can, and this is a perfect opportunity to do that,” said Arno Martinez.

More information about Wenatchee Pride and how to get involved in upcoming events can be found at wenatcheepride.org. Ski Buddies has members all over the state, country and even the world. Events range from potlucks to snowshoeing, to day and overnight ski trips. More information can be found at skibuddies.org.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media



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