Legal Marijuana Industry Helps Fuel Aspen Gay Ski Week

“Look at the butt on that,” said Harry.

“He must work out,” Lloyd replied.

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This iconic conversation from Dumb and Dumber marked the moment that Harry and Lloyd arrived in Aspen, but that might sound something more like “Look at the bud on that” during this week’s fun at Aspen Gay Ski Week.

Why the change in dialogue? The 2019 edition of AGSW has sizable support from Colorado’s cannabis industry.

This week marks the 42nd annual run of the extravaganza, making it the longest-running gay ski event in the country. It’s also one of the largest fundraising events of the year for organizer AspenOUT, an LGBT nonprofit that serves the Roaring Fork Valley, with around 5,000 people expected to attend over the course of the week.

Daytime and nighttime activities are scheduled all over town, which will be adorned with plenty of pot marketing.

Roots Rx, a Rocky Mountain dispensary chain with locations in Aspen, Basalt and four other locations in the high country, is sponsoring the event, and brought some friends along to help, too. The company convinced cannabis product vendors such as 1906 edibles, CBD cigarette brand Toast, Willie’s Reserve and LucidMood, a cannabis terpene vaporizing business, to sponsor AGSW.

“Whether it’s our staff members, or any member of our local communities, we want people to feel welcome, included and not judged. We are honored to participate in the largest fundraiser for AspenOUT,” says Roots RX general manager Brittany Centifano.

Other companies, such as 1906, saw it as an opportunity to branch out. Although the infused-chocolates company, which is based in Adams County, has a strong presence in the Denver area, it wanted a bigger profile in the mountains.

“What’s great about Aspen Gay Ski Week is that it’s the alignment of joyful fun and outdoors, and often, you’re leaning into one or the other,” notes 1906 chief marketing officer Heather Larimer. “We wanted to be a message of love and tolerance and acceptance…so we have created a campaign around this called ‘Love Harder,’ which is about being effusively loving in the world and embracing positivity and fun and connection.”

The edibles brand has five recipes catering to various needs of users, such as chocolate-covered espresso “Go” beans for the morning and “Midnight” edibles, infused with the Chinese herb corydalis, for nighttime. However, Larimer emphasizes that 1906 will be focusing on the “High Love” recipe, a chocolate edible intended to increase arousal, at the event this week.

For the downhill costume contest (hosted once again by Sister Helen Holy, a character played by comedian Paul J. Williams), 1906 called on the creative direction of former Denver-based fashion designer Mondo Guerra. “We are just trying to be a fun and loving presence there,” Larimer adds.

Willie’s Reserve, a wholesale flower and infused-product company owned by country-music legend Willie Nelson, is taking a similar route for exposure by placing thousands of coupons that resemble concert tickets in hospitality bags for attendees. The brand will also be present during Aspen’s Fashion & Art Night Out, handing out sugar cookies featuring a “WR.”

“When it comes to events like this, we tend to view ourselves as a culture brand, and this is a cultural event,” says Corrie Bonnar, sales director for CMH Brands, the Colorado franchisee for Willie’s Reserve products. “We are very proud and honored to be asked to participate.”

Aspen Gay Ski Week continues through Sunday, January 20. Learn more about this week’s fun at the event’s website.

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