Anthony Lakes legend Bert Vanderwall dies

By Baker City Herald March 14, 2014 09:45 am

Bert Vanderwall, one of the patriarchs of Anthony Lakes Ski Area, died Thursday at Settler’s Park assisted living facility in Baker City.

Vanderwall, a longtime Haines resident, was 86.

He and his wife, Betty, started the first ski shop at Anthony Lakes in 1962, and the first ski school in 1963. Bert was ski area manager from 1976-85.

A ski run at the resort — Bert’s Run — is named in his honor, and the daily snow report from the ski area is “Bert’s Snow Report."

Trish Brinton of Baker City credits Vanderwall for teaching her how to get off the double chairlift.

“Bert took me by the hand and ‘You can do this.’ ”

Vanderwall, a skier at heart, wanted everyone to enjoy the mountain as much as he did.

“He spread the joy of skiing to absolutely everyone,” Brinton said. “Bert knew how to show people how to have fun at Anthony Lakes. I don’t think there’s a piece of that mountain he didn’t know.”

Vanderwall also worked with Brinton’s father-in-law, By, when the ski area was being developed.

“He told me so many stories,” she said of Vanderwall. “He’s been a friend for a long time and I cherished his friendship. Bert will be missed by many, many people. He was truly a joy.”

Creston Shaw, 91, of La Grande, said he met Vanderwall about 45 years ago.

“He lived and breathed Anthony,” Shaw said. “He was just part of the area. I think everybody knew of Bert Vanderwall.”

Shaw said that in recent years Vanderwall was host at the mountain, which meant he helped skiers who were unfamiliar with the ski area. Many times Vanderwall took the newcomers skiing.

Shaw said Vanderwall was the one who envisioned a lift on the backside of the ski area. Although that never happened, Vanderwall did run cat tours to the backside for many years.

One time, he and Shaw skied back there to see where a lift could be built.

“We skied down that, then had to hike up,” Shaw said. “I couldn’t keep up — he was so strong. I had muscle cramps for days.”

Lisa Britton contributed to this story.