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Braddock Heights Ski Way
Braddock Heights, Maryland
Old lift tower from Braddock Heights. Photo taken in June, 2004. Photo provided by Lou E. G. of Baltimore, MD.

Located a few miles west of Frederick, Maryland, the Braddock Heights Ski Area did not offer a great vertical - several DCSki readers remember the vertical being around 300 feet - but it offered a location very close to the Washington, D.C. region and many have fond memories of visiting the area. Jim Kenney estimates that the ski area shut down around 1985, although we don’t have a specific record of the final closing date.

In the DCSki Message Forums, Andy writes: “I remember having fun but I had wished my dad would have taken us to the BIG mountain at Liberty!”

Rich writes: “I went there for dinner one day and took a walk through the woods to look for the ‘lost ski slope.’ Found the cable and some ghostly deteriorated chairs. At the bottom was what looked like an early 50’s pickup with bare rims that looked like the power for the lift. Almost Blair Witch like.”

“TCS” wrote in to say that the name of the area was originally just “Ski Way,” changing to Braddock Heights Ski Way later on. According to a 1994 edition of the “Lost Colorado Ski Areas” newsletter, which included a section on mid-Atlantic areas, the name change occurred in 1966. TCS remembered an area called “Strudel Run,” and the newsletter also references an obscure area next to Braddock Heights with that name. The newsletter concluded it was probably the same area as Braddock Heights, as the two areas shared the same phone number.

In June, 2004, Lou E.G. from Baltimore hiked up to the top of Braddock Heights and took some photos, including the one above. The photo shows a rusting lift tower (with still-functional t-bars hanging from it), surrounded by encroaching vegetation. Lou couldn’t hike to the bottom of the lift - “too many bushes and weeds to get through,” he writes.

Lou has set up a web site at http://braddockheights.tripod.com/ to collect general memories related to the Braddock Heights area. Additional photos of the ski area from Lou are provided below.

Photo provided by Lou E.G., taken in June, 2004.
Photo provided by Lou E.G., taken in June, 2004.

In July, 2005, Lou provided the following updated photos to DCSki.

In December, 2005, Heidi Moynihan and her daughter visited the old site of Braddock Heights. Heidi took a number of photos; some of her photos are included below. For additional photos, visit Heidi’s web site here.

Compression wheels and cable in the motor shed. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
The top bullwheel looking down the lift line. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
Inside the motor shed. Mostly junk, but several of the T chairs were stored in here. The electric motor is still there. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
The motor shed at the bottom. Photo taken on the ski trail at the bottom. The trail wound around behind this shed on flat ground. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
Counterweight cables on the top turnaround. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
The only light fixture remaining on an upright pole along the ski trail. Photo provided by Heidi Moynihan.
A lift ticket from the late 1970s. Photo provided by Deb Summers.
Peter Helt
9 years ago
I skied there in about 1979. This was a upside down area with the lodge at the top. It was a nice little hill with at least 2 trails. The problem was they did not seem to care about real skiers only their bar business at the restaurant at the top. I remember buying a lift ticket an stopping to eat as the lift was not running even thought it should have been. When we got done my sister and I skied to the bottom and waited, 2 or 3 others did the same (This is all the skiers they had. As I recall this was over an hour after the lifts were supposed to start running, but they were not. After waiting a good long time at the bottom of the hill, finally we pushed the start button on the J-Bar (It may have been at T-Bar or Poma)and we all rode up. After one or two runs someone came out of the bar and pulled all our lift tickets for starting the lift and closed the slopes. They were obviously not interested in running a ski slope. They had no interest in operating the lift and had no employees to do it. I can see why they closed. I have a patch from the place and will scan it and pass it along.
Lou Gubernatis
9 years ago
If Peter Helt sees this, could you e-mail me a copy of the scan? It would be a great addition to my Braddock Heights web site.

louiseg@hotmail.com

Thanks
LOU
Lou Gubernatis
9 years ago
If Peter Helt sees this, could you e-mail me a copy of the scan? It would be a great addition to my Braddock Heights web site.

louiseg@hotmail.com

Thanks
LOU
Kevin Norris
8 years ago
Here is the link to the satalite photo of the place. There were 2 trails

http://terraserver.microsoft.com/image.aspx?T1&S10&Z18&X1424&Y21831&W1&qs%7cmiddletown%7cmaryland%7c
Chris Gilbertson
8 years ago
Pretty sure I learned to ski here. I remember both a rope tow and a T-bar lift. I would say there were at least 3 real trails and one “goat” trail that my brothers and I skied on.
Chris Gilbertson
8 years ago
Pretty sure I learned to ski here. I remember both a rope tow and a T-bar lift. I would say there were at least 3 real trails and one “goat” trail that my brothers and I skied on.
JohnyB
8 years ago
I always wanted to ski at the heights and called there and was told that is was ok and to go some where else. The pics online are great to see what once was in MD.

Johny B.
ggnagy
8 years ago
there is a red shed betweeen the Inn and the pool, and next to the shed a pole with 4 rims on it.. perhaps the top of the rope tow?
TCS
8 years ago
It was a T-bar. Interestingly, they listed their annual snowfall as 20 inches. That’s about as small as it gets - at least among areas which admit it.
Heidi
7 years ago
The shed between the Inn and pool was the motor house for the bunny slope tow rope. If you follow the line down towards the pond (where the water was retrieved for snow making) you can see old poles for the rope tow. Also, below the main ski motor shed next to the pond is the pump shed. There are transformers and a huge pump in here used to pump water for snow making.
Jim Clarke
7 years ago
I collect ski patches from “closed” or “lost” areas and am interested in tracking down a patch from Braddock Heights if they ever made one. I’d also be interested in brochures etc. Willing to pay or trade other ski memoriabilia. You can contact me via e-mail at mountainlord@bigfoot.com. Thanks for any leads, help or info. Happy trails!
Richard Hays
7 years ago
When I was about 10 years old ( 1968 ) I remember a school-mate of mine talking about going skiing at Braddock Heights. Years later, I recall seeing it designated on a roadmap of maryland ( little red skier emblem ) and off of route 70 they used to have the snowflake emblem identifying the Braddock Heights ski area exit.
Yesterday, I dragged my wife and son up there to try and find it, after being intrigued by the photos found on this website. What I found was a wonderful Inn with new owners who were very happy to talk about the history of the site. I highly recommend anybody to go up there and enjoy the bar and restaurant. We walked the old trails which…were surprisingly clear of growth. I hope the new owners keep it free and clear, if anything for historical reference. The T-bar lift is there and in amazingly good condition with the exception of the shack at the bottom which is full of junk and deteriorating. As nice as the new owners are, I bet they’d allow some volunteer work to keep the slopes clear.
The slopes were short ( half the size of Oregon Ridge ) and relatively narrow. They arc down in a lazy “C” curve, and steep in the middle. I found trace of a third, narrow, very steep trail between the lift the the main ( center ) slope. The other slope/trail has more growth on it and some fallen trees, but still very identifiable. It appeard ( not ) to have been lighted or have snowmaking on it as the main-center slope did.
The beginner area is still quite evident in front of the Inn. The rope tow poles and shack are still there. Seems the snowmaking hoses are curled up in there too.
Overall, I was surpised at how small the area was, but also how intact everything was. I bet it was a hoot to ski in its day. Short and sweet. The new owner of the Inn said that the area opened in 1962 and closed in 1980. FYI: the food at the Inn is very good. Worth a return trip.

Richard Hays
Scott
6 years ago
Hi from Braddock Heights. We live about two minutes away from the old ski lift, and I am going to try to back-country cross-country ski the trails this winter, if I can get permission from the inn. If anyone wants to join me, keep an eye on the weathermap and email me (scott.selle@yahoo.com) before the next big snow in 2007-2008 winter.
Neil Sandler
6 years ago
Back in May 1973, I had just graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park. My first job was at the Frederick daily newspaper. The only place I could afford to live was the Braddock Heights Skiway. Growing up near eastern Pennsylvania’s ski slopes, the idea of living in a ski lodge was too cool to pass up. Besides, it was $45 a month for a room on the second floor. When my folks came to visit for the first time, I showed off to them that I could hold my arms out and touch both walls of my room. My closet was several nails on the door. My mom cried.
I didn’t realize at the time that heat was NOT a part of the deal. When winter arrived, I moved slopeside into a block house efficiency. Ahh… it came with heat, a small frig and a hot plate. What luxury! School teachers from Baltimore rented neighboring units for the summer. They wiled away their summer reading novels, and picking berries in the vines slopeside and making homemade pies, that I got to enjoy after work.
I skied a bit that winter and it was fun. Just a couple runs on the weekends or during my day off mid-week. It wasn’t Camelback but it was waaaay cool. Skis were wood with metal edges, and the boots were leather of course.
My landlord back then was Pat Weed. When I moved back to Braddock two years ago after a 30 year hiatus (I always wanted to return) I rode my bicycle to the lodge one day only to find Pat Weed painting the side of the building. Turns out he still owns the place and was leasing it to the new operators of the restaurant (they hope to buy it this year, they tell me). Their restaurant is the finest the place has seen and is worth a visit. We all go there regularly and support their efforts to succeed.
Anyway, Pat let me take a look at my old digs. I think I’d cry too, knowing my proud new college graduate was living under such conditions. Ahhh youth…. Glad it’s not wasted on us geezers.
I have only the fondest memories of that place.
I could go on and on, but some of my tales are not printable (at least that’s what my editor told me back then, and I suspect it might still hold true for what on there, back then….)
Kevin
5 years ago
My mother and I took ski lessons there during the week in the evenings in approximately 1975. My mother had purchased property (as one of the first owners) in the Old Timberline housing area back in 1973 and was constructing one of the first two or three homes built there in the Fall of 1975. I have very fond memories of Braddock Heights and was very sorry to learn it was abandoned……. :(
DCSki Reader
5 years ago
In the late ‘60’s when I was attending North Bethesda Jr. High, I attended ski lessons every Friday night at Braddock Ski Way. We went up on the bus every week and I have fond memories of learning to ski there. I rented my equipment at Braddock which were lace up leather boots and wood skis with a cable wrapped around the back of the boot for bindings.
Susie Gilbertson Howard
5 years ago
My Dad Warren Gilbertson used to run the ski school at Braddock Heights. Prior to this, he opened the ski school at Wisp in Deep Creek Maryland.

He passed away in 2005 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He was the President of the Ski Club of Washington DC in the 50’s and worked for the Bureau of the Budget. Apparently it was one of the few times in history when the budget was balanced. He had a sign on his desk, “The Buck Stops Here”

As he would say, “Be of good cheer.”
fishnski
5 years ago
1st place that I ever skied in america…skied Morroco north Africa as a youngun.
Old Resident
5 years ago
I moved near Braddock in 1977 at the age of 5, and remember skiing there just a few times before it closed. There was a bunny slope right behind the lodge, going down only about 75 yards. I remember you had to learn to stop quickly or you ended up in the pond! There was a rope tow, and the “big” slope to the south/east of the lodge had a small lift. You really had to watch for rocks over there. I knew people who rented rooms in the lodge too.
A few months ago I ate at the (very good) Braddock Inn and afterwards hiked around the old slopes, and found them just as others here have described. Funny how tiny it seems now for a ski slope. My parents still live in the area, but almost never get any snow any more.
Lou E G
5 years ago
I’m surprised by the response to the pictures Heidi Moynihan and I sent. It’s been over a year since I last checked this site, and glad it was a pleasent reminder to you. There was a gap it the time I was last there as a kid, and a return visit. The ski way had come and gone between visits, and I stumbled on to it by accident wondering through the woods. There’s more of Braddock at http://bradockheights.tripod.com , but it needs to be upgraded. Been a while since I upgraded it. Enjoy.
Brandon
5 years ago
I actually grew up in Braddock Heights from ‘90-‘97 and didn’t get the chance to ski there, but I did enjoy the thrill I got from my inner tubes/sleds/shovels. The great thing about being a kid was I didn’t need a lift due to our high amounts of energy. We even built a jump out of snow towards the bottom. For safety’s sake, I’m glad it was around during my days, beats trying to sled down an icy Old Swimming Pool Road in the dead of winter.

I hope some of my old buds get a chance to post here.

Thanks for posting everyone, I love reading about all the comments from way back when. It real feels great to look back and say I lived in Braddock Heights!
John Patton
4 years ago
I worked at the ski slope one winter in the 60’s. I ran the rope tow and T Bar lift. Mr Fisher (an old german) ran things. He made home made strudle on a wood stove in the basement. I had to drag snow from the bottom to the top of the beginners slope with an automobile hood with a rope tied to it. We made our own snow from the pond at the bottom.
Sue Waters Kellam
4 years ago
I was a first year teacher at Albert Einstein H.S., Kensington, Md. in 1969 and took my first lessons at Braddock Heights. It may have been Friday nights. The instructor was a tall, outdoorsy man with glasses. He preferred lace-up boots, and clearly wanted to share his love of skiing. I may have signed-up through Montgomery County Recreation Dept., or may have seen lessons advertised in the Frederick Post. I loved learning at this small, safe ski area, and wish it were still here. I’ve lived on the Eastern Shore of Md. and Va.the last 34 years, but grew up in Clarksburg. I have wonderful childhood memories of Braddock Heights Amusement Park and swimming pool. I happened upon this site because my 19-year-old college son wants to learn to ski, and I thought of Braddock Heights. What good memories!!
Tracy Page
4 years ago
Hey John Patton!! I don’t know you but my grandmother was married to Herman Fischer. I have many childhood memories of Schley Inn, as it used to be called. I took lessons when I was very young and was terrified of crashing through the snowfence and drowning in the pond!! I raised my kids in CO for over 20 years and never once skiied…..was still a chicken…hahaha I remember Grandpa Fischer’s strudle too, and my brothers and I used to ride the dumb-waiter up and down from the Kitchen….and played in all the bottlecaps in the snack bar…
Harold Atterberry
4 years ago
I use to go there back in the mid 70’s and lived upstairs in one of the rooms during my stay. I was part of the band that use to play in the back room. We played darts there on many nights and had alot of fun.
Eric Johns
3 years ago
Did some skiing there in the 1970’s. Chris Gilbertson (do you vaguely remember staying on our farm Chris?) is right on the three slopes and a goat trail. The rope tow was a real challenge for us kids.

My mom, Tarun Johns worked for Gil Gilbertson; What a blast from the past. Live in Maine now and while we ski on the big slopes of Sugarloaf and Saddleback, we live close to Hermon Mountain where we can go put in a few quick hours about 25 minutes from our house. A lot more than Braddock - but for Maine, it’s the same concept!

Great memories; too bad the weather and economic climate failed to keep Braddock open.
brian
3 years ago
does anyone have a picture of this place while it was in action??
Nika
2 years ago
I visited the area a few days ago. Still looks very similar to these pictures from 2004/5, just a bit more overgrowth. Unfortunately the lift equipment you see stored in the motor shed has disappeared and been replaced by old furniture and beer bottles. I took a few pictures of everything seen above as well as what looks like part of the rope tow and and remains of a structure on the site. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to send you the pictures.
Alisa Blitz
one year ago
Hi Susie and Chris and Eric.

My parents, Bob and Vicky Blitz loved teaching skiing Braddock Heights and Wisp, with Tarun, Elaine, and Gil. I am sure I can find pics of this place (and of Susie and Chris - maybe not skiing, not sure about Eric) when I am back visiting Dad, Mom died this year.

I ski with the Cascade Backcountry Ski Patrol. If you ever get out to Seattle, look me up! We ski all year long here, though you may need to REALLY hike for it in September and October.
Merryman (Johns) Porter
one year ago
I learned to ski here with my brother and sister, Eric and Lass. As Eric has already posted, our mom taught at Braddock. I remember not being in much control once or twice and cruising through the middle of a class or two and coming to a quick stop at the bottom of the hill….good times! I was quite small.
Moved to Maine in ‘79 and skied Squaw and Sunday River. Currently I live in Prince Edward Island where there is one ski hill - no bigger than Braddock was. My son has become an avid skier at Broolvale; it is his second home in the winter.
Braddock holds many great memories! It’s fun to see the posts above from the past. :)
5 months ago

I still have the lift ticket from the first time and only time I skied at Braddock Heights. This was my first skiing experience. My cousins and I went to Liberty and waited a long time in line, only to find out that there were no more rental skis. It was a cold day. This was in Dec of 1976 and we remembered that Braddock was open. So, we headed to Frederick. We suited up with brown wooden skis that were REALLY long and leather tie up boots. I can’t remember what the cost was to rent skis and to get a lift ticket, but it was alot less than Liberty so we were pleased that we have saved money.  My older cousin had her own skis and knew what to do and was trying to instruct her sister and myself. What a trip. I remember the rope tow and falling alot from crossed skis. There were quite a few skiers there and we laughed and laughed when a lady came out of one of the “slopeside” buildings in tights and a fuzzy jacket of some sort. She looked like a chicken, really, and we dubbed her the chicken lady. She skied in that outfit! By the end of our adventure, we had alot of laughs, we were soaked, (blue jeans don’t work so well for the sport), and we were cranky and tired! I vowed I would never ski again. A few years later, I got hooked on the sport and now spend every chance I get on a slope. My cousins and I still laugh about the day we spent on the slopes at Braddock Heights! We have a funny picture of my cousin and I on the skis. (One of the few times we were standing). I will scan a pass along a picture of the lift ticket.

4 months ago

I have an old ski pin that says Gilbertson Ski School….anyone interested? Cliff218@gmail.com

Snowcat got your tongue?
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