It wasn’t a Va-Va Voom fashion show but if you’re partial to UGG boots, Cloudveil down jackets and a fair degree of Hollywood wattage—the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Sunshine Village Ski Resort was where you should have been from Jan. 12-15, 2012.
Hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin, the annual fundraiser for the Waterkeeper Alliance raised $885,000 and attracted marquee names as diverse as Matthew Gray Gubler, Marcia Gay Harden, Kevin Sorbo, Cheryl Hines, Peter Fonda, Mimi Rogers, Jennifer Heil, Sophie Trudeau and dozens more.
There to open their wallets—70 per cent of the Waterkeeper’s annual funds is drummed up at this one event—singers, hockey players and ex-Olympians took to the slopes where they snowshoed, tobogganed, skied, raced and roasted s’mores before attending cocktail parties, poker games and the red carpet gala-auction.
For environmental lawyer Kennedy Jr., also president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the weekend fundraiser always presents an opportunity to spark public debate on the protection of the 1.6 million square miles of waterways that span six continents. Whether that questions hot button topics like this year’s Northern Gateway Pipeline or fishing practices in the South Pacific, the man who spent 34 days in a Puerto Rican jail for this grassroots organization, stressed that the democratic process is very different in Canada than his U.S. homeland.
“I would not be invited to speak at any conference in the States that might have oil and gas executives present as I am here (Canada). The decision-makers’ ideological beliefs are so entrenched that as a nation Americans don’t encourage real debate that involves industry stakeholders as well as the general public,” Kennedy said.
"Most Canadians are very proud of their environmental ethic," added the father of five. "I think most Canadians have deep moral concerns for the future of our natural world. That’s one of the reasons I spend good chunks of my summers in Alberta and B.C. (last summer Kennedy and his children spent time in northern Alberta, digging for dinosaur bones while helping raise money for a new dino museum to be built in Grande Prairie).
up! didn’t wear out any stilettos chasing down some of the Hollywood hotshots who were in Banff last weekend but we did slide into a few. Here's what they had to say about the event:
Alec Baldwin, host of the Banff Springs Sports Invitational, Golden Globe winner and star of 30 Rock
Both Baldwin and Marcia Gay Harden each shelled out $50,000 at last Saturday’s auction for a two-night stay at the Fairmont Hotels in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. “We are bidding this item up to save the world,” said Baldwin, whose many film, stage and TV credits include 30 Rock on NBC. Upon arriving in Alberta, from his home in New York, Baldwin gave his 628,000 Twitter followers a collection of tweets that began before he landed with “Banff, baby. Pour la neige . . .” When he sighted the classic angle of Cascade Mountain, he wrote: “Holy s—t! I love Alberta!”
Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden, from Mystic River, Canvas, Pollock, Gaudi Afternoon
“I have been coming here for 14 years and it’s for more than just the swag bag (loaded with UGG Boots, Cloudveil jackets, Paul Mitchell shampoo and Patron tequila)! I love the skiing and this magnificent hotel but I’ve fallen in love with the cause. Now that I have three children one of my main missions is to protect the planet that is now in peril. And I’ve taken it to the kitchen. I’m vegetarian apart from Thanksgiving, we don’t buy bottled water, we recycle . . . ”
Jennifer Finnigan from Close to Home, Crossing Jordan, Committed, The Bold and the Beautiful. Photo by Roger Witney.
“I am Canadian so it’s wonderful to be back here supporting a charity that has made immense leaps for the environment. It’s only fitting that this event takes place in such a stunning spot as Banff . . . look at where we are! This beauty alone amps up the awareness that we need in order to take care of this beauty.”
Sophie Trudeau [wife of MP Justin Trudeau] and Jennifer Heil [2010 Olympic Silver Medalist skier]. Photo by Patti MacPhearson.
“We met at an event about a year ago,” said Trudeau, “and now that Jennifer lives in Montreal, where I live, we hang out a lot. We both love yoga (Sophie is working on becoming a certified teacher) and go to Strom which is a great yoga-spa spot.”
Ed Begley Jr. (from Spinal Tap, Six Feet Under, 7th Heaven, Gary Unmarried) with Rachelle Carson and Alec Baldwin.
“I’ve been coming to this conference on and off since 1970 . . . I think we can all do our part for organizations like the Waterkeepers. Start cheap and small. Recycle. Eat organic food. Buy a hybrid car. And keep having conversations and lobbying politicians. Environmental work is a big part of my life these days.”
Kevin Sorbo, from Soul Surfer, The Santa Suit, Hercules.
“Keep the battle for our planet going. And take time to look at where we are . . . few places on Earth are as beautiful and natural as Banff.”
Matthew Gray Gubler from Criminal Minds, RV, Alvin and the Chipmunks.
“This hotel (the Banff Springs) is fantastic and I’m sure it’s haunted. My glasses started moving across my night table at 12:45 a.m. Maybe it was Sam the Bellman (one of the hotel’s most enduring ghosts)?”