AT&T Celebrity Winterfest sets stage for Special Olympics Winter Games at Heavenly today |

AT&T Celebrity Winterfest sets stage for Special Olympics Winter Games at Heavenly today

For the Tribune

Hollywood celebrities, top business leaders and Special Olympics athletes will compete today at Lake Tahoe’s Heavenly Mountain Resort for bragging rights while raising money for Special Olympics in a spectacular day of alpine racing.

Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. with the competition beginning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to come and watch.

“The athletes and celebrities have such a good time just hanging out,” said Scott Grimes, celebrity skier (Dr. Archie Morris on NBC’s ER). “Most people just don’t realize how hard these Special Olympics athletes work and how good they are.”

Sponsored by AT&T, the public is invited to watch the competition which features 16 corporate teams paired with a Special Olympics athlete and a celebrity skier. The two-day event will include a Welcome Reception, Ski Challenge and an Awards Dinner at Harveys/Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Resort and Casino with a silent and live auction. Results from the day will be announced at the awards dinner with categories that include Best-Dressed Team, Fastest Skier, Best Spill, and the top three winning teams. Companies donated $14,000 to participate in an event that is expected to raise more than $500,000.

All proceeds from the weekend benefit Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada and support the Winter Games at Kirkwood Ski Resort March 10-13. Some 200 athletes from throughout the region will compete in four different sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Winners can earn spots at the 2009 World Winter Games in Boise Idaho.

“For 10 years AT&T has partnered with Special Olympics to help make a difference to thousands of athletes and families in Northern California,” said Fred Devereux, vice president and general manager of AT&T’s wireless operations in Northern California and Reno. “Winterfest is one of the many ways that AT&T gives back to local communities ” giving our employees the opportunity to spend time with the athletes, share the friendly competitive spirit with other teams and raise funds necessary to pay for the cost of Winter Games and training programs.”

Participating celebrities include: Tim Abell (Breathe); Mike Buie (Mystery Alaska); Scott Michael Campbell (Brokeback Mountain); Rebecca Field (October Road); Josh Gomez (Chuck); Juliette Goodrich (anchor, CBS 5); Scott Grimes (ER); Sam Jaeger (Eli Stone); Andy Lauer (Jane Doe); Zachary Levi (Chuck); Thyme Lewis (Days of Our Lives); Justin Melvey (General Hospital, Complete Works of William Shakespeare); Ryan Merriman (Comanche Moon); Joel David Moore (Dodgeball); Amy Pietz (Aliens in America); Rick Ravanello (Hart’s War); John Sasaki (reporter, KTVU 2); Nicole Sullivan (Mad TV, Kim Possible); Jud Tyler (Charlie Wilson’s War); and John Vogel (producer).

The 2008 AT&T Celebrity Winterfest includes participants from co-sponsors Harveys/Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Heavenly and MedeFinance to event sponsors Samsung, Continental Airlines, Enterprise, Pacific Color Graphics, and Ericsson.

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