AT&T Celebrity Winterfest Raises Record Funds for Special Olympics

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Thanks to the generosity and efforts of influential business leaders, Special Olympic athletes, and a group of Hollywood celebrities, the annual AT&T Celebrity Winterfest last weekend at Heavenly Ski Resort raised more than $600,000 to support Special Olympics in Northern California and Nevada. All proceeds will support this week's Winter Games at Kirkwood Ski Resort March 10-13.

Thanks to the generosity and efforts of influential business leaders, Special Olympic athletes, and a group of Hollywood celebrities, the annual AT&T Celebrity Winterfest last weekend at Heavenly Ski Resort raised an unprecedented amount of money to support Special Olympics in Northern California and Nevada.

All proceeds from the weekend benefit Special Olympics Northern California and Nevada and support this week's Winter Games at Kirkwood Ski Resort March 10-13. Almost 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.

Funds raised also will support the training and competition program for 450 Special Olympic athletes who train during the winter season.

"We raised more than $600,000," stated Jill Osur, Special Olympics event creator and senior vice president of development. "We are just overwhelmed with gratitude, and touched that so many people give from their hearts despite the challenging economic times."

Now in its 12th year, the AT&T Celebrity Winterfest has become an annual tradition for many companies who buy a team slot for eight employees, clients or vendors and their guests. Paired with a Special Olympics ski athlete and a celebrity, teams competed in a giant slalom course culminating in an Awards Dinner at Harvey's Lake Tahoe Resort and Casino.

The Ericsson Team won the title of fastest team, with the California Police Youth Charities Team coming in for a close second place.

Participating celebrities included: Tim Abell (Breathe); Mike Buie (Mystery Alaska); Scott Michael Campbell (Brokeback Mountain); Rebecca Field (October Road); Josh Gomez (Chuck); Juliette Goodrich (anchor, CBS 5); 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 (director).

The 2008 AT&T Celebrity Winterfest included participants from co-sponsors Harvey's Lake Tahoe, Heavenly and MedeFinance to event sponsors Samsung, Continental Airlines, Enterprise, Pacific Color Graphics, and Ericsson.

Media sponsors included CBS Channel 5, Contra Costa Times, Comcast and Energy 92.7 FM.

About Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada

Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada is a free year-round sports training and competition program for children and adults with developmental disabilities. More than 16,000 athletes compete in 178 competitions throughout the region in 19 sports. This requires the extraordinary support and time of 12,700 volunteers and more than 4,600 volunteer coaches. Programs are free to all eligible athletes.

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