Breck Pride: A message that everyone is welcome here in the mountains | SummitDaily.com

Breck Pride: A message that everyone is welcome here in the mountains

This image from the Breckenridge Tourism Office was taken during last year’s inaugural Breck Pride events. The five-day festival returns to Breckenridge beginning with today's welcoming events.

Back for its second year, Breck Pride rolls into town today for a five-day, all-inclusive festival jam packed with live music, daily ski parties, gay trivia, drag bingo, a Color Run down the mountain and much more.

Breck Pride is being put on by Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Breckenridge Tourism Office. Guests are expected to start showing up today with the heaviest slate of events Thursday through Saturday. Most are completely free, but participants are being asked to register ahead of time for a number of them. For a full schedule, go to BreckPride.com.

More than anything, Breck Pride is “a week for everyone,” according to planners. It doesn’t matter whether partygoers identify as LGBTQ or straight, skier or snowboarder, beginner or expert, or just want to support their friends and community — everyone is going to be welcome here.

“I think that’s what’s important about it,” said John Pfeiffer, a prominent member of the local real estate community who’s openly gay and serves on the Breck Pride Committee, which helped organize the lineup of events.

Explaining why Breckenridge needs to host its own gay ski week, Pfeiffer referenced similar festivals in Aspen, Telluride, Vail, Steamboat Springs and Park City, Utah, all of which have been ongoing for some time now. Aspen’s gay ski week, for example, dates back more than four decades.

Going on only its second year, Breck Pride might be a little late to the party, but the more important thing, Pfeiffer said, is “sending a message to a large group of people that all are welcome, all are accepted, please come enjoy our community and ski resort.”

Having lived in Breckenridge for 16 years, Pfeiffer said that’s exactly the community he’s come to know here — one that’s open, welcoming and accepting of everyone. “It’s my favorite part of Breckenridge,” he said. “It’s all walks of life, and it’s comfortable.”

He also sees a rapidly growing LGBTQ community in the Denver area and along the Front Range. Many of these individuals are affluent and want second homes in the mountains, he added.

As the president and managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Pfeiffer knows a thing or two about the housing market in mountain communities. Additionally, an event like Breck Pride lets those individuals know they don’t have to go all the way to Vail, Steamboat Springs or Telluride to find what they’re looking for.

The event tells them, “Breckenridge wants us there, we’re welcome there, and we’re safe there,” Pfeiffer said. “They want us to be a part of this community.”

With his and his husband’s names being the first from a legally married gay couple added to the Summit County wedding registry, Pfeiffer is well aware of the national debate surrounding gay rights.

He acknowledged that some people might not support the town and ski resort coming together to host a festival like this, be it based in religious beliefs or in other reasons.

Still, like many others, Pfieffer strongly believes that Breckenridge shouldn’t ever shy away from events like Breck Pride out of fear one group of people might be turned off by the idea and exclude themselves. Doing that only perpetuates cycles of division, he said.

“I do feel that will exist,” he said of negative reactions to Pride Week, “but again that goes back to we as a community need to send a message that all are welcome here.”

Because Pfeiffer has such a prominent position in the local business community, he said that a lot of people have asked him if it concerns him being openly gay in his role.

His response: “It would make me sad if I needed to hide that.”

And Breck Pride isn’t about hiding at all. In fact, if the five-day festival itself isn’t enough, simply wearing a Breck Pride badge will come with “exclusive access to discounts and specials” at shops and restaurants around Breckenridge, according to a news release plugging the events.

Also, a First Tracks event on Friday welcomes Breck Pride guests to hit the mountain an hour before anyone else gets to, an opportunity experience “fresh corduroy” under an early morning light.

In addition to thanking the town and ski resort for hosting Breck Pride, Pfeiffer also wanted to draw attention to the Apres Ski Party from 3-6 p.m. Thursday at Pioneer Club, 505 S. Main St., sponsored by the Breckenridge Tourist office and Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate.

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