Celebs come out for 2003 Classic | VailDaily.com

Celebs come out for 2003 Classic

Andrew Harley
Actor John Lithgow poses for a picture with Vail resident Alexandra Slifer, 12, at the 2003 American Ski Classic.

The white slush on Golden Peak was transformed into a veritable red carpet as stars of the stage and screen tumbled down the racing course for charity at last year’s American Ski Classic Ford Cup Celebrity Race.

Many familiar faces attended the laid-back race, including John Lithgow, Gary Cole and David Alan-Grier, among many others.

The intensity of competition at the event varied, but never rose above smiling jibes and challenges.

“Of course I’m gonna win. I don’t say this out of hubris or ego. You know black people have accomplished a lot in the realm of skiing.” said Grier.

And Grier did win his two races of the day. But Paul Rudd of “Friends” and “The Cider House Rules” had a more difficult time on his couple of runs, which was expected considering Friday was only his third time skiing.

Before his runs he said: “I’m a little nervous, but I saw John Lithgow wipeout so that cooled my nerves a little. And I haven’t skied in a couple of years, so I just figured I’ve gotta get my snow legs back.”

Rudd, who was followed on his to runs by former pro Pam Fletcher, faceplanted and lost his skis on his first run. He missed a gate after another spill on his second run, but he was in good spirits after all was said and done, likening himself to the protagonist of Ivan Reitman’s film “Rudy.”

Danica McKellar of “The West Wing” and formerly of “The Wonder Years” also found entertainment value in dipping herself in the snow.

“The snow was fine; I just fell after the finish line (in her second race). The first one was so popular, so I thought I’d do it again,” McKellar said, “I’m not a skier. I’ve only been a couple of times. I hope they’re not expecting me to go too fast because the most important thing is the cause.”

Amy Tan, author of “The Joy Luck Club,” wasn’t afraid to speed down the course in her fifth-consecutive year at the event (second year racing).

“I’ve skied for 25 years poorly and 10 years well,” said Tan. “It’s so exciting up there; I’ve spent a lot of adrenaline.”

The crowd fluctuated throughout the day, and though the stands never completely filled, the reactions were constantly supportive. Bill and Mary Starke of New York have been in Vail for a week, and were taking a break from the physical rigors of the mountain.

“We came out today to see celebrities.” said Mary Starke, “We’ve never seen them live, always just on TV.”

However, some fans were more interested in the form and skill of the ski racing. Juliet Romero, 32, of Jupiter, Fla., has been stranded in Vail because her flight was canceled.

“This is my first time skiing, but what a beautiful place to be trapped inside,” said Romero, “I think the only person that I’d be able to compete against is Paul Rudd. He can’t ski, but he sure is cute.”

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