Class of 2020
Innovator and Leader in West Virginia Snow Sports
Area Operations and/or Management or Development Competition
Snow Sports Industry - sales/rental and suppliers and organizers
Robert Barton, III & Anita Love Barton
Bob, 6'6" tall, lanky, stooped, bespectacled, ever friendly, was born January 10, 1928, in Richmond, Virginia. He prepared for college at Woodberry Fore. AT Princeton, he majored in psychology and was a Dial Lodge member. Following Princeton Class of 1949, he attended the University of Virginia Law School and served in the Air Force from 1950 to 1952. Back in civilian life, Bob turned away from law to become an entrepreneur, and today is widely known among skiers as the father of skiing south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Anita Love Barton was born in 1932 in Baltimore, MD. She was a graduate of the Greenwood School and presented to society at the Bachelor's Cotillion in 1951. Bob and Anita met skiing at Stowe, Vermont. Most believe Sepp Kober introduced the two (a long-time friend, first ski instructor at Weiss Knob, and founded the Homestead Ski School). Bob and Anita married in Williamsburg, VA, in 1959.
While the Ski Club of Washington, DC was on a mission to find an elusive ski drift in West Virginia, Bob was on a parallel mission. By 1955, Bob had installed a 1,200-foot rope tow next door to the Ski Club's Driftland. The original Weiss Knob Ski Area was on what is now the "Meadows" at Canaan Valley Resort. By 1958, Weiss Knob featured two rope tows and a T-bar lift.
In 1959, Bob moved Weiss Knob to the back of Bald Knob (out of the wind) on what is now White Grass Touring Center. In a letter from Bob to John Lutz, "We put in snowmaking that year. We ran the machine for two nights and couldn't find it again until April. By actual weather data, 452 inches of snow fell in Canaan from Thanksgiving 1959 until May 1960. It was a disaster."
Together Bob and Anita spent years and many dollars establishing the Weiss Knob Ski Area, pumping new economic life into a dying Appalachia area. Funds depleted, they worked as Ski instructors at Blair Mountain, Pennsylvania, and Magic Mountain, Vermont, etc., but always came back to Canaan Valley.
Anita was essential to development in Canaan Valley, Davis, and Tucker County. She was a founding member of the Alpine Festival Association and was the Executive Secretary for fifteen years. The Alpine Festival brought new life, money, and tourists to the area. It organized and sponsored a Winter Carnival, started the Blackwater 100 motorcycle race and the Canaan 50 rider and horse endurance race. Anita also devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to Tucker County Emergency Services. Additionally, Anita helped found the Tucker County Tourist and Information Center.
Later in life, Bob and Anita owned the Weiss Knob Ski Shop in Canaan Valley. Their home county and West Virginia State have recognized their contributions and annually present the Robert Thomas Barton III and Anita Love Barton Awards at the Governor's Cup ski races. Bob, himself, being the first recipient of the former. The town of Davis named the Bear Creek Bridge in honor of Anita.