Throughout the rise of skiing, fun celebrity skiers have used the slopes as another venue to see and be seen. Now that our culture has become completely obsessed with fame, celebrity sightings happen even more often at ski resorts around the world. For Paris Hilton (pictured below), the opportunity to model fur coats and climb in and out of Escalades is enough to get her to head to Aspen or Chamonix a few times a year, even if she spends 99% of her time indoors tweeting.
But many others actually love the sport and life in the mountains. Let’s start with some of the big name celebrity skiers in Hollywood because if you are a huge celebrity, you probably have multiple homes and one of them is likely to be a ski chalet hideaway. For example, Tom Hanks and Kelsey Grammer frequent Beaver Creek, Colorado. Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise (pictured below), and Ralph Lauren have all had homes in Telluride, CO and these are not homes like you or I might have. Ralph Lauren’s ranch outside of Telluride is 17,000 acres! Jerry Seinfeld’s $18 million dollar home has 11 bedrooms and 14,000 square feet PLUS 5,500 square feet of deck to soak in the world-class view.
A little further north, Tiger Woods and his ex-wife Elin Nordegren had a home together in Jackson Hole, WY. They spent a lot of time skiing together before their very public divorce and Tiger got high marks from the locals on his skills keeping up with the Swedish ex-model who grew up skiing.
Another celebrity transplant from Europe is the ex-governator of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria and has skied his entire life.
Arnold spent a lot of down time in the 80’s and 90’s between movies in Sun Valley, Idaho, but once he became Governor of California, he tried to spend more time on the slopes of the Golden State. During his reign, he often could be found at Mammoth Mountain, California in the winter with his armed bodyguards skiing at his side, perhaps hoping to block any humans returning from the future to do him harm. Though we do not believe any killer robots were involved, Arnold did become just a bit more robot-like in December 2006 after he tripped over his ski pole in Sun Valley, Idaho and broke his right leg. Three days after the accident, doctors used cables and screws to wire the femur back together. Arnold continues to ski.
Mammoth is a popular place with many Hollywood celebs since it is the closest big mountain to Tinseltown. On any given Sunday in February you might run into Cameron Diaz snowboarding, Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, or Keifer Sutherland eating chicken fingers at the cafeteria at Mammoth and laughing it up with his pals.
The mountains are not just a place to be seen: they are a place to plan new blockbuster sequels. Young Hollywood royalty Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel got engaged on a snowboarding vacation to Wyoming in December 2011. According to US Weekly: “Justin knows how much she loves snowboarding and the mountains, so it was the perfect place.” And they didn’t just ride Big Sky and Jackson Hole – they also enjoyed time at the exclusive Yellowstone Club in Montana, a private club mountain frequented by internet moguls and billionaires arriving on private jets, located 20 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Must be nice!
My personal favorite celebrity sightings come from Deer Valley’s annual Celebrity SkiFest, which attracts all kinds of rich and famous people. The funniest celebs there must have been the kings of cable comedy, Larry David and J. B. Smoove (pictured below) from HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” I would start to laugh just seeing either one of them in ski gear.
Much bigger for Park City than Celebrity SkiFest is the Sundance Film Festival, where celebs are bursting out of every diner and ski shop in town for 2 weeks. And the founder of the Sundance Film Festival – two-time Oscar-winner Robert Redford – is in a very special category of celebrity skier: he owns his own ski resort! Sundance Resort near Park City was purchased by Redford in 1969 and though small, it is one of the top-rated resorts in Utah. You would assume only one movie star would own his own ski resort, but he is not alone: Bruce Willis owns Soldier Mountain in Idaho, near Sun Valley.
Finally, there is a whole world of skiing and celebrities across the pond and no one is bigger than Posh & Becks, oh, except the British Royal Family. The House of Windsor have always been avid skiers vacationing from Klosters in Switzerland to Chamonix, France, while commoners David and Victoria Beckham (Posh pictured below) also love skiing the best slopes in the Alps, especially Courchevel 1850 in France, just as much as any princess or duke. Though Prince Charles has been making skiing look awkward for 50 years, we are all lucky that Prince William and Kate Middleton have taken over the limelight and given royal skiing a boost of excitement. They even used the slopes to seal their royal relationship with a smooch: their first kiss in public was a huge media event in January 2006 at Klosters in Switzerland. Almost as big an event as Posh Spice showing her belly button.