Celebrity Skifest: Having fun for a good cause
For the 24th year in a row, the Deer Valley winter season kicked off with the Celebrity Skifest on Saturday and Sunday. The event, which benefits the Waterkeeper Alliance, draws actors, actresses, singers and fashion designers alike to the Birdseye run at Deer Valley for a ProAm event and a team race.
Former Olympians Phil and Steve Mahre, Heidi Voelker and Tommy Moe led teams of celebrities captained by JB Smoove, Rachael Harris, Amy Brenneman and Cheryl Hines.
Joining the celebrities was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a grassroots environmental movement that "helps to defend communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water — from law-breaking polluters to unresponsive government agencies."
JB Smoove, an actor who appeared in shows like "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Saturday Night Live," said supporting Kennedy’s charity is one of the biggest reasons many of the celebrities attend the Skifest.
"It’s a great cause, man," he said. "It’s very vital to the world. I love Bobby [Kennedy] — he’s my guy. I love being here with the celebrities. I love being able to network and reach out to people and put more faces to this great cause."
He added that clean water is something Americans often take for granted.
"The luxury we have of being able to turn water on in our houses and drink water, I think about the people around the world who don’t have the opportunity to have clean water at their disposal," he said. "They don’t have sewage-safe waterways and safe drinking water. This is a worldwide problem, not something we’re just dealing with here."
As for the event itself, though Smoove no longer skis during the slalom race on Sunday, he said it’s a great chance to relax and have fun.
"My first year here, I skied it and it was great," he said. "I’ve kind of retired from skiing. Now I’m just a motivator, a captain."
Smoove’s team advanced to the finals after taking down Cheryl Hines’ team in the semifinals. Smoove’s team was made up of Phil Mahre, "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks, actor Steven Weber, "Deadliest Catch" Captain Keith Colburn and Thomas Harman.
"The past five years, I’ve been a captain," Smoove said. "The past three years, I’ve been in the finals. The past three years, I have lost."
The losses in the finals haven’t discouraged Smoove yet, though. He plans on returning next year, his seventh in a row, to chase the elusive Celebrity Skifest title.
"I’m still a winner because I’ve met some amazing teammates and it’s an amazing event," he said. "It’s a win-win."
Sunday’s celebrity race will air on CBS on Sunday, Dec. 13, at approximately 3 p.m. mountain time. The event will be shown following the conclusion of the day’s slate of NFL games, so check local listings.
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