Adrian Grenier enjoys anonymity on empty slopes at Sundance
Jan. 27, 2015
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Stars are consistently swarmed by fans at the Sundance Film Festival, but there's one place they can find anonymity: On the slopes.
Wearing a helmet and goggles, "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier was just another snowboarder out having fun.
"I learned to board when I first came here for the festival," he said, strapping his boots into the bindings. "And I've been back every year for the past 10 years."
The actor-producer came to the festival to support his latest non-"Entourage" project, a documentary called "The Lonely Whale." He's meeting with potential investors and announced plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign next month to finance the film, which follows a solitary whale off the coast of California who has been singing for years without a response.
"We're looking to get as many friends around 'Lonely Whale' so we can try to understand the spirit of what he's trying to communicate," Grenier said, "about the plight of whales, about our own relationship to the ocean and ocean health in general."
But the 38-year-old made sure to set aside a day for snowboarding — a perfect, sunny Monday with no crowds or lift lines at Park City Mountain Resort. His first stop was the Neffland terrain park, where he attempted various jumps and tricks.
"I have no business doing this," he said before catching air.
Three ski resorts loom over Park City, and while most out-of-towners are holed up in movie theaters catching the Sundance offerings, local residents and the savviest visitors —including "Grenier — are out in the snow, catching some wide-open runs.
"Everyone's so caught up in the movies and the dinners and the parties and the gifting suites that I think the nature that surrounds the event — the snowboarding, the skiing — is kind of an afterthought," said Shaun Neff, founder of Neff active wear.
Neff sponsored his namesake terrain park as a tribute to the mountain where he built his brand, and continues to support aspiring snowboarders during the Sundance festival. Besides outfitting performers with snow-ready clothes and hats, he also invites celebrities to learn to ride with his team of professional boarders.
With all the crowds and business deals happening on Main Street, the slopes are a perfect escape.
"It's very peaceful — to be one with nature, to get up on the mountain and clear your head," Neff said, "and it's a fairly easy sport to pick up."
The anonymity for celebrities is an added bonus. Grenier said Park City is the only place he snowboards, and it's always during Sundance.
"It's great riding with people from around the world all gathering for the festival," he said. "And it's the only time I get to see certain friends."
After shredding the hill, Grenier swooped into the Stella Artois Cafe on Main Street for a quick lunch, then, minus the helmet and goggles, tried unsuccessfully to blend into the festival crowd, camera-wielding fans trailing behind.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .