Hal Blittersdorf, ski resort illustrator

Passing Date: 
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Harold Edwin Blittersdorf, whose watercolor paintings of ski resorts graced the pages of SKI Magazine and of many resort brochures, passed away on June 1, 2017, at age 94.

Born in Hammonton, New Jersey, he graduated from Avon-Grove High School in West Grove, Pennsylvania in 1940. He won an art scholarship to the Wilmington (Delaware) Academy of Fine Arts and studied under the famous illustrators NC Wyeth and Frank Schoonover. Drafted in November, 1942, he trained in California as a topographical engineer – that is, a combat mapmaker. Before shipping out to Europe early in 1942, he married Lois Hofmann.

In 1946 Harold and Lois moved to Washington, D.C., where Harold worked as a commercial artist for the Washington Evening Star, and for the Kal, Ehrlich & Merry Advertising Agency. In 1948, after the death of Lois’ mother, the couple moved to Pittsford, Vermont to live with her father. 

That year, Harold founded the Vermont Art Studio, which he owned for more than 35 years. He became a charter member of the Pittsford Fire Department and a member of the Pittsford Congregational Church. He loved to hunt and fish, took his children skiing, and loved to visit all the Vermont State Parks. Later he enjoyed water skiing with his family at Lake Dunmore.

In 1961, Harold was a founding director of the Birdseye Mountain Ski Area and Camp Ground, and served as general manager (the resort closed in 1967). In 1973, Harold was commissioned by Bruce Belden of Pico Ski Area to do a water color painting of the ski area. After that he painted Okemo Mountain, then was commissioned by John Fry of Ski Magazine to do a series of paintings of ski areas around the country, including Mad River, Sugarbush, Glen Ellen, Stowe and Mt Ascutney in Vermont; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Park City, Utah; Grey Rocks and Mount Tremblant in Quebec; Sugarloaf, Maine; Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire; and Hunter Mountain, New York. These mountain paintings ran as two page spreads in the "Mountain Town" series in Ski Magazine. Harold’s painting of Whiteface Mountain and the town of Lake Placid, based on aerial photos he made from a Cessna piloted by his son John, was featured in the February 1980 issue of Ski Magazine for the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Later in life Harold moved back to West Grove , Pennsylvane and settled with his sister Roberta. He married Rose Marie Bloss, and became a parent to her three children. He launched a new business, HB Graphics and continued his commercial art. He enjoyed flying an ultralight plane, and traveling in the area where he grew up. 

Harold is survived by his children Bonnie Hawley, John Blittersdorf and his wife Marilyn, Jim Blittersdorf and his partner Katie, David Blittersdorf and his partner Deb Sachs, and Jeff Blittersdorf and his wife Melody;  grandchildren Eric Hawley and his wife Roz; Krista Alderdice and her husband Guy, Alyssa and Evan Blittersdorf, Karrie Blittersdorf, Zoey Blittersdorf, and Heidi Blittersdorf; and great-grandchildren Justin and Jase Alderdice.

Harold is survived by his wife Rose Marie, and her children Daisey, Andy, and Donald Bloss; and grandchildren Payton, Stephanie, Lily and Jameson. 

(Condensed from an article in the Burlington Free Press)

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