THE SKI CLUB OF WASHINGTON, DC
GREAT SPORTS FOR ALL SEASONS
This page is devoted to describing how this club was formed and how it has changed through the years.
It is dedicated to our Katherine Hayes, long serving historian, and Howard Fisher, past president and author of the articles that appear below.
Over time, additional material will be added to this page, because we haven't been so good about describing the changes that have occurred after 2000.
When the Ski Club of Washington, D.C. was formed in 1936, the United States was in the seventh year of the Great Depression. However, the light was appearing at the end of the tunnel. Roosevelt's New Deal programs were beginning to work, and agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were providing both federal relief and jobs to millions. Although the CCC was to play an important role in the efforts of SCWDC before the end of the decade, it was the combination of unusual snow conditions and transplanted New England skiers brought to the Washington area by the New Deal agencies which begins our story.
These agencies, and the myriad offices designed to support them, helped Washington grow from a small, second-rate Capital city of just over 486,000 people to a population that would reach 663,000 by 1940, and started turning the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs into a true Washington metropolitan area. A large majority of the bright young people flocking to Washington was from the New England or Northwest states, where skiing was a major part of their social activity. In Washington, however, they found little snow and no organized skiing activity.
Skiing did exist. When Washington would receive its small annual allotment of snow, a handful of skiers could be seen on the area golf courses and in Rock Creek Park, performing what could only be considered a combined form of cross-country and downhill, depending on the nature of the terrain. But that was the extent of Washington skiing,
and there were no nearby ski resorts.
The winter of 1935-36 proved to be the catalyst that was to lead to the forming of a Washington ski club. Two critical elements came together to create the nucleus: a group of ski enthusiasts and snow — lots of snow. On January 12, 1936, an ad hoc group gathered at Union Station for the first ski trip of what was to become the Ski Club of Washington,
D.C. Twenty skiers boarded the Baltimore and Ohio train to travel to a small Pennsylvania town called Glencoe. More history citiations can be found in the PDF's below.
"Breaking News": The WV Snow Sports Museum at https://www.snowsportsmuseumwv.org/ is planning to open a physical location in the next few months. SCWDC built its own
ski slope in the early 1950's and was part of the development of skiing in West Virgiinia. More information will be added to this page at a later time.