JAPAN FOR SNOW LOVERS
The first ever Gay Ski Week in Japan is coming up in Hakuba in 2019.
HUSBANDS Justin and Greg are set to host Japan’s first gay ski week in March, 2019 – and it’s all happening because of their love of skiing and each other.
“We got married in Hakuba in a mountainside chapel in March. Everyone was dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos (pictured), which was fun and memorable,” says Justin. “It was not only the first foreign wedding in Hakuba but also the first gay wedding.
“We hosted friends and family from all over the world so they could experience part of our lives in the Japanese Alps, from skiing, onsens (hot springs), historic sites, cherry blossoms, amazing Japanese food and culture.
“The wedding was such a big hit with friends that many requested we do it again! So the idea of a gay ski week was born.”
The couple, a Canadian and an Australian, relocated to Japan nine years ago to pursue their love of skiing there. They opened the Penke Panke Lodge and then the Penke Bar And Bistro as the business grew.
Gay Ski Week Hakuba will be an intimate event where skiers and snowboards can experience the best skiing along with fully hosted nights in a safe environment. Imagine coming off the slopes, enjoying a mulled wine by the fire pit, dinner at a local Japanese restaurants and then hitting the hot-springs with a bunch of butt-naked fellow snow bunnies.
To its credit, Japan is increasingly encouraging LGBT visitors. The latest initiative, reported in the Japanese Times, hopes to attracted us to help rejuvenate some regions, with a government agency offering seminars “on how to create an appropriate environment to welcome LGBT travellers”, the report said.
Skiing in Japan is incredibly affordable with lift tickets in March at around $US50, and accommodation starting from $US60 per person, per night. With some of the best skiing in the world, it’s the perfect place to learn.
Gay Ski Week Hakuba is offering a prize –a free week’s stay, daily breakfast, rentals and a threeday ski pass for two people during the 2019 Gay Ski Week. For details, visit the website.
Justin and Greg are looking forward to hosting guests from all over the world in Japan.
WHAT: Gay Ski Week, Hakuba
WHERE: Hakuba, Japan
WHEN: March 8 to 17, 2019