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KJ’s Rear View: A Look Back at Peak Pride @ RED

Cover Photo: Ashley Voykin | RED Mountain Resort

Peak Pride @ RED Mountain Resort broke down barriers and ushered in a new decade of possibilities…

It was the first Pride event in the entire world of the new decade, and it left an indelible mark on the hearts and in the minds of everyone in attendance. Peak Pride at RED Mountain Resort had me feeling like I had the least sleep possible, and yet somehow awoke feeling refreshed and having only dreamed the sweetest of dreams. Yep, I caught me some feels.

The energy was palpable from the moment we arrived. I instantly got the impression that ‘something special’ was about to happen. Not only were we less than 48 hours into the 2020s, but RED Mountain Resort had yet to host a pride event quite like this. A fascinating combination of excitement and trepidation seemed to emanate from the very ground upon which we stood: kind of like that first time you kiss someone…of the same sex.

DAY 1: THURSDAY

The festival began on a quiet yet impactful note with the screening of Alone In The Game, a documentary film that unpacks being LGBT+ in the sports world at an elite level. We hosted an impromptu Q&A session after the film, allowing for meaningful dialogue in a safe environment in which guests could ask questions, express opinions, and share stories of their own or people they know. Thank you once again to viaSport British Columbia for their support of this event.

DAY 2: FRI-YAY!

Friday’s Welcome Party at The Flying Steamshovel officially kicked off the weekend with the help of singer-songwriter Daniel Stubbs, followed by headliners Giant Water Bug. Both acts have a strong local following — there was no shortage of questionable (yet enthusiastic) dance moves, combined with a healthy buzz of activity around the Peak Pride photo booth. Visit the Peak Pride Facebook Page under ‘Photos’ and ‘Videos’ for the full collection. Suffice it to say, it was our friends from The Josie Hotel who had the best time of the night! The hospitality provided by The Shovel was next level.

DAY 3: SATURDAY

Saturday was jam-packed with activities beginning with the Mountain Pride Parade. The snow gods smiled upon us granting the opening of Red Chair and our intended route for the parade. The participation from RED Mountain Resort staff and guests, both from the LGBTQ2+ community and our cherished allies, made for some incredible images and memories. Orca queen Freida Whales and beloved Old Grandma Sophonda Dick were glam and on the lam, traipsing around the mountain and taking every opportunity to make love to the camera.

Après @ Rafters with Freida Whales and Sophonda Dick. Photo: Ashley Voykin | RED Mountain Resort

Après at Rafters allowed us all to unwind while cranking up the energy thanks to sick beats by DJ Soulman, leading us to the penultimate event of the weekend: wipeOUT.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

The term “epic” gets bandied about far too often, over time siphoning away the impact of the intended meaning. However, this is certainly a situation where “epic” is appropriate. Overheard the next day: “There has never been a party like that at Rafters. Ever.” So, ya, epic.  Both Freida and Sophonda were on-point with drag numbers that had the crowd thwarting snap fans, clapping hands, and begging for more.

Sophonda Dick, who grew up in the Slocan Valley, drew incredible applause and no shortage of tears as she expressed her experience growing up in the area during a time when being anything but cis-gender and/or hetero was completely abhorrent and grounds for ridicule, exile, physical harm, or worse. This was a defining moment for what Peak Pride is about: making true connections with humanity, changing hearts and minds and reminding us all that love is love. 

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This weekend was amazing. I got to stand on top of a big mountain with a giant rainbow flag, alongside some of my favourite people in the entire world, to celebrate love and acceptance and freedom. I was at the first PRIDE event of the decade @redresort in Rossland, BC. On Saturday afternoon, a crowd of people joined together for a rainbow ski parade. It was wonderful and heartwarming and joyous. Watching so many brightly coloured flags descend down a skiway is really quite special and made me quite emotional. This weekend made me feel incredibly privileged to live in a place where I can love freely and express myself openly; where I don't need to be scared of persecution for how I identify; and where I have an amazing and supportive community to draw strength from. Not everyone has that freedom or support, and I recognize that I am one of the lucky ones. I feel even more lucky, that I get the opportunity to celebrate PRIDE in the place where I feel most at home: in the mountains, on a snowboard. Thanks to @peakpride for such a great event. I hope there are many more to come. Love is love. People are people. No matter how you choose to identify and who you fall in love with, know that there is a community out there who get you and support you. If you ever need us we'll be here, without judgement, waiting to smother you with hugs and rainbows. Happy pride everyone. 🏔🌈💜 #pride #loveislove

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DAY 4: SUNDAY…AND GOODBYES

Capping everything off was the “I’m Never Drinking Again Brunch” at The Josie Hotel. A sumptuous Peak Pride Breakfast Feature with eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, toast, a mimosa AND coffee served as fuel for more skiing and medicine for those who lied through their teeth that they would, in fact, never be drinking again. This was declared whilst pounding back mimosas, of course.

As we pulled away from RED Mountain Resort with buckets of heavy snow falling, I was heavily reflective on what we collectively experienced at Peak Pride. I’ll say it again: I caught me some feels…and I know everyone else did, too. Thank you RED Mountain Resort, The Josie Hotel, RED Mountain Lodging, Western Diversification, viaSport British Columbia, Kootenay Pride, The Flying Steamshovel, By Jove Marketing Co., and all of the wonderful staff and participants. We simply cannot wait to see how the next Peak Pride at RED brings even more of our community and allies together in a true winter wonderland.

NOTE: This blog post is written from my perspective. We all experience reality in different ways; however, I’ve tried to capture and relate a transparent retelling of the events that were. I hope you enjoyed reading about “my experience” and sincerely hope to see you at our next Peak Pride at Sun Peaks from February 26-March 1, 2020. ~ KJ