Submitted by Andy Snyder
The Snow Sports Museum of West Virginia (SSMWV) is now open Friday’s through Sunday’s at 466 William Avenue in Davis 11:00 to 6:00. Masks are required and social distancing is observed. The initial theme is ‘Cabin Mt – 6 Ski Areas from Driftland to Timberline’.
Seventy years ago this month, Ski Club of Washington, DC (SCWDC) President Gorman Young and member Hal Leich set out to discover the “Drift” on the Allegheny Front in West Virginia. The Winter of 1950-’51 the snowfall as limited at the Pennsylvania ski areas the SCWDC favored. Seems a couple airline pilots on the DC to Pittsburgh flight route noticed large patches of snow in Canaan Valley. When the two explorers reached that patch of snow in the southeast area of Canaan Valley they asked the owners, Hope and Irene
Maury, if they could ski on their farm. After climbing the hill a few times and skiing down they retired to the Worden’s Hotel in Davis. They returned on Sunday the 25th for more turns on the Big Drift and the rest, as they say, was history. The SCWDC struck a deal with the Mauzy’s to lease the land for their winter recreation and the tourism industry was born in West Virginia. In 1958 Bob Barton developed a ski area with 2 rope tows on the current location of the Meadows but soon moved, in1960, to a more sheltered area, the Reed Farm, which is now White Grass’ location. The state of West Virginia began developing Canaan Valley State Park and opened the Ski Area in 1971. Chip Chase and Winslow Ayer moved their Nordic Ski Area from Virginia to the Current White Grass location in the 70’s and Herz and Reichle bought Timberline from Developer David Downs in the mid 80’s to make the sixth Cabin Mt Ski Area.
The SSMWV first met in February of 2018 to discuss the possibility of organizing a ski museum in Davis or Canaan Valley to preserve snows sport’s history and were incorporated by June as a 501c3. The museum Board of Directors began with the announcement at a reception/fundraiser at Black Bear Woods Resort in August of ’18. The museum’s first Charter Members were Kathy and Larry Knight of Canaan Valley and the museum’s growth has increased steadily from then until March of 2020. Since the early days of COVID-19 the museum fundraising efforts slowed somewhat but determined to open their first physical location, individual and anonymous donors stepped up and saw to it that they opened to the public on a limited basis December 18, 2020.
The museum Board of Directors made the decision to become the title sponsor of this year’s 61st annual Governors Cup Ski Race at Canaan Valley Ski Area this weekend, March 6/7. “This decision was an easy one as we are
in the business of preserving the history of Snow Sports in West Virginia,” museum President Kim Williams said recently In addition to the origins of skiing on Cabin Mountain the SSMWV features other defunct areas including Chestnut Ridge at Coopers Rocks near Morgantown, Greg’s Knob and Alpine Lake near Terra Alta, Bald Knob near Beckley and Coonskin State Park near Charleston. The museum wants to include more artifacts and photographs from these ski areas in addition to the current resorts in WV; Ogleby Park, Snowshoe Resort and Winterplace Resort.
If you have a story, photograph or items you would like to donate or loan to the SSMWV please contact them at email@example.com or visit their website at www.snowsportsmuseumwv.org.