‘Drag races’ highlight Blue Gay-La ski event | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Drag races’ highlight Blue Gay-La ski event

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneLisa Monrreal, left, and Nicole Cox of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority hold goodie bags that will be given to all participants in next week's Blue Gay-La ski event.

Grab a feather boa and a sassy hat as you hit the slopes next week: Blue Gay-La Ski Week is coming to town.

For the second year, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority will host the annual five-day gay and lesbian ski event.

The Blue Gay-La kicks off Jan. 23 with registration in the lobby of MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. The welcoming reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. at del Soul in MontBleu.

The event includes mountain tours, a chocolate and martini party, a pub crawl, snowmobile tours and an after-ski party. The festivities end Jan. 27.

The LTVA took over the event from the now-disbanded Lake Tahoe Gay Lesbian Foundation. The Blue Gay-La name subsequently replaced the original name, Ascent.

One of the most popular events is the Queen of the Mountain Drag Races, according to Nicole Cox, LTVA director of special events. It happens on Heavenly Mountain Resort’s World Cup ski run. There, spectators can watch from the bleachers.

Contestants in the competition ski down the slope dressed in costumes and to music they select, Cox said.

Howie Nave, host and manager of The Improv comedy club at Harveys Resort Casino, and comedians Chipper Lowell and Jason Stuart will judge the competition. Nave also will emcee.

Heavenly spokesman Russ Pecoraro said everyone has fun with the drag races.

“We’re happy to see that group come back for another year,” Pecoraro said.

The event had more spectators than participants last year; Cox hopes more people take part in the event this year. But even with few participants last year, spectators still were entertained.

“We had a woman dressed as a matador,” Cox said. “She was waving a red cloth and stopping all the way down the mountain.”

Cox added that props and costumes were purchased for those who decide to participate at the last minute.

The South Tahoe High School Ally Club will help organize race registration and recruit participants, said Alex Boyar, Ally Club president and co-founder.

“It’s a big event, and it just needs to be fun and amazing,” Boyar said.

The club helps schools and the community gain compassion for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Boyar said he was not planning to participate in the race, even though other members of the club were.

“I would fall flat on my face,” Boyar said. “I’ve never skied a day in my life.”

Community volunteers will offer other activities, such as mountain tours.

Lake Tahoe winter resident Tommy Todd said he’ll show people around Heavenly during the festivities. He said depending on the skill level of the skiers, he’ll take them to steep chutes or down intermediate slopes. Everyone’s invited, Todd said.

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