Red Card Roberts
December 6, 2011
The Sundance Film Festival is several weeks away, but celebrities still annexed Park City this weekend. And it was all for a good cause.
Deer Valley Resort hosted the 20th annual Celebrity SkiFest to benefit the Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting major watersheds around the world.
"We believe clean water is a fundamental right for everyone. We are committed to having fishable, swimmable and drinkable waterways worldwide," says Marc Yaggi, the executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. "We are indebted to Deer Valley and the entire Park City community for their support of this cause."
Speaking with Marc, I learned quite a lot about ecosystems and water sustainability, but the biggest take-away lesson for me was this: I need to watch a whole bunch more TV in order to understand what’s happening at the Celebrity Skifest.
There were dozens of skiing celebrities including Terrell Owens, Mary J. Blige, Cheryl Hines and a very forgiving woman named Perrey Reeves who was not at all offended when I asked her, "So, why are you famous?"
Though the singers, athletes and actors didn’t all necessarily master the skiing (one guy asked me if it was possible to actually break your butt), they did all agree the Waterkeeper Alliance is a cause worthy of falling down a hill for.
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"We take it for granted that we can just turn on the tap and drinkable water comes out," said actor and celebrity skier Jeremy Sisto. "But it takes groups like Waterkeeper to ensure that continues to be the case for us. Sadly, that doesn’t happen in many parts of the world, and Waterkeepers work to change that."
Waterkeepers are the individuals who work or volunteer for the Waterkeeper Alliance in communities around the world. There are about 200 chapters around the globe, with varying numbers of involved individuals.
"Waterkeepers are on the front lines advocating for their waterways, and the Waterkeeper Alliance connects all of them. They share best practices and empower others to fight for their right to clean water," said Sarah Douglis, a former Waterkeeper who worked to protect New York’s Hudson River.
According to Marc, the money raised from the event (which included a fundraiser Saturday night) will all go to further the group’s mission.
"Deer Valley Resort and Park City residents have always been so supportive of this cause. While we raise money at this event, it also brings tremendous awareness to what we do. As a grassroots effort, that exposure goes a long way. We couldn’t ask for a more gracious resort to help us further our cause," he said.
Marc said he hoped to raise over half a million dollars for the Waterkeeper Alliance over the weekend. And though the final numbers aren’t yet in, one thing is for sure clean water is a cause the stars could all align for.
To learn more about the Waterkeeper Alliance, visit http://www.waterkeeper.org .
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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.