Skiing as a winter recreation came to Maryland in 1940, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has published an extensive story describing the early history of skiing in the state, written by Francis “Champ” Zumbrun. The New Germany State Park and Savage River State Forest Ski Resort operated from 1940-1960 in western Maryland. It included a beginner’s slalom ski course, an expert’s alpine downhill ski trail, and an endurance-based cross-country ski course. The expert slope had a vertical of 800 feet and was 3,300 feet long.
The ski area opened on the first weekend of January 1940, and in 1941, the first ski race event held south of the Mason and Dixon line took place.
A rope tow was added to the beginner slope, and a car shuttle service was offered at the expert slope.
Ultimately, the ski area had about a 20-year run before falling victim to a number of factors. The slalom ski course was sliced in half by construction of the New Germany Road sometime between the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The nearest hotels were also 30 miles away. And strong competition arrived with the development of Wisp at Deep Creek Lake and ski areas in the Canaan Valley region.
Be sure to read Francis Zumbrun’s story as it includes a detailed history of Maryland’s first ski area, including lots of excellent photos.