Want to go downhill skiing less than 30 minutes from the heart of D.C.? Well, you can’t -; not anymore, at least. But in the 60’s, you could, at the Mattaponi Ski Area near Croom, Maryland. DCSki Reader Marvin Hass uncovered this lost ski area, and pointed us to an article written in the Washington Post by Ron Fett in 1967 providing some details about the area.
Mattaponi was less than 30 minutes from Washington, D.C., and had two tractor-powered rope tows that were 800 and 400 feet in length. According to Ron’s article, the area had “broad, gentle slopes” and billed itself as “The Place to Start,” targeting beginners.
Mattaponi had floodlights for night skiing, and used snowguns to make snow. During the summer of 1967, the ski area built a new warming hut, and dug out a small skating rink at the top of the slopes.
During its first two years, the area operated mainly on natural snow. The owner-developer was Elwood Sager, who learned to ski as an undergraduate in Hanover, N.H., according to Ron’s article.
The main house at Mattaponi was built in 1745 and owned by Robert Bowie, an early Maryland Governor.
During the summer, Mattaponi offered activities such as fishing, boating, horseback riding and tennis. During 1967, a nine-hole golf course was under construction. Ron also notes that several sky diving groups used a landing strip on the property.