Last weekend, a group of gay men from around the world descended upon the quaint, yet lavish mountain town of Aspen for a new kind of summer event. Forfeiting the standard beachside party towns and metropolitan meccas for the sweeping mountain views and fresh evergreen air, we enjoyed some fashion, some outdoors and a queer escape from the typical summer circuit scene. With the decades of popularity surrounding Aspen Gay Ski Week, the city opened its doors to the LGBTQ community for a whole new season of celebration with Aspen Summer Holiday.
The weekend kicked off with the Singles + Couples Mixer at Aspen Kitchen, benefitting the Generations Project and their commitment to fostering dialogue and community over all generations of queer people. Specialty Tito’s cocktails flowed and delicious hors d’oeuvres circulated as a simple game of bingo got the room quickly bonding. It was the perfect event and mission to bring together a group of strangers ready for a weekend of queer celebration.
Following the mixer, everyone moved on to the Welcome to Colorado Party at Belly Up, hosted by One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization. A colorful and energetic set complete with a mini laser light show from DJ Kidd Madonny set the tone of the weekend as a group of adult strangers hit the dance floor like a middle school sock hop.
The next morning, we reconvened at the Limelight Hotel. Armed with sunscreen, water and extremely helpful altitude kits, we took a bus with Blazing Adventures to the Maroon Bells. One of the most beautifully scenic hikes in the world, it’s a must for any first-time visitor to the Aspen, no matter the experience level. The beautiful lake and calming streams with the sprawling mountainscapes make a perfect midday escape for city folk and anyone with an eye for the perfect Instagram shot.
Hiking through the Maroon Bells. (Photos by Glenn Garner)
As everyone turned to Limelight, we relaxed at the daily Tea Dance and Pool Party. With a quick dip in the hot tub, we enjoyed some more Tito’s cocktails before the main event of the evening.
After a chance to get spruced up, we went to the Grand Ballroom of the St. Regis for a champagne reception with a beautiful arrangement of sweets. After filling up on bubbles and confections, we moved into the next room where the main event of the weekend took place. Hosted by Men’s Vows and benefiting the LGBTQ National Task Force, Mr. Turk unveiled his latest resort wear collection, modeled by some handsome social media influencers for Marry the Man, the premiere runway show of Aspen Summer Holiday. It was one part Fashion Week and one part Magic Mike, befitting the queer, carefree mood of the weekend.
The models and designer take a bow at the end of the Mr. Turk show. (Photo by Igor Gevonshyr-Prokhorko)
The next day, a group (including Jonathan Skow aka Mr. Turk himself) joined Blazing Adventures yet again for a whitewater rafting excursion. The rest opted to stay behind and enjoy a relaxing day in Aspen.
We reconvened once more for the daily Tea Dance and Pool Party at Limelight Hotel. This time, Mr. Turk hosted a pop-up shop to help everyone get decked out in their own Mr. Turk swimwear for the afternoon. The stylishly inclined moved on to the Original Penguin in Downtown Aspen for another laidback celebration with Men’s Vows and One Colorado.
The weekend wrapped up at Escobar, an underground venue in the heart of downtown where the Finale Dance Party took place in honor of the LGBTQ National Task Force. The bunker-esque club was a perfect place to drink to friends made and an ideal weekend in the mountains.