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Anderson Is Fondly Recalled

March 07, 2003|Pete Thomas | Times Staff Writer

The snowboarding community is mourning the loss of another of its most popular stars.

Only a month after back-country legend Craig Kelly was killed in a British Columbia avalanche, rising star and rail-riding specialist Jeff Anderson died in an accident in a Japan hotel.

Anderson, like Kelly a Burton-sponsored pro, was attempting to slide five floors down the banister of the hotel's spiral staircase -- at 3:15 a.m. on Feb. 23, hours after a snowboarding competition kickoff party at the Nagano-area hotel.

He negotiated one floor, but lost his balance and fell 50 feet to his death. Police indicated that Anderson had been drinking but did not elaborate.

Services for the 23-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident were last weekend in the Eastern Sierra resort town. Anderson was remembered not only as a progressive rider but as one who had a positive influence on others.

"I think there were between 300 and 400 people and when you walked in the room it was just overwhelming with sadness and love," said Circe Wallace, a former pro snowboarder and one of Anderson's close friends. "We took the last gondola up and took a ride down for Jeffy and the sun came out and stayed out for the next day....

"What amazed me the most about Jeff was how much of himself he shared with others in his life. [Jeff's brother] Billy said that he and Jeff told each other all the time how much they loved each other, which is amazing for two snowboard tough brothers.

"In the service Billy said he felt so lucky to have a brother that told him he loved him the day he died."

Some of those emotions are sure to spill over to this weekend's Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding finale at Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake.

In lieu of flowers, Anderson's family has requested that donations be sent to the Mammoth Lakes Foundation for the Jeff Anderson Memorial Fund at P.O. Box 1815, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 93546. The money will contribute to the construction of a community skate park.

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