THE SKI & SPORTS 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 (Kate) Hayes, long serving historian since 1983 and Howard Fisher, past president and author of the PDF articles that appear below.
New content for 2021 is a description of SCWDC's "Name Change" described on the web page above this one. The Board of Directors decided to increase our marketing outreach by adding a "Doing Business As" phrase in all of our public communications, so you will see our club advertised as the "Ski and Sports Club of Washington DC." This doesn't change our #1 purpose to promote skiing but for those who would be interested in our non-ski vacations and activities, this will give them a better sense of "Who We Are."
INTRODUCTION = STUFF FROM OUR FOUNDING
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 citations can be found in the PDF's below.
The fledgling West Virginia Snow Sports Museum at https://www.snowsportsmuseumwv.org/ has opened for visits. It is located at 466 William Avenue, Davis, WV. It's "open" hours can be found at the web site and mostly, it opens at 11am and closes at 5pm, Thursday to Sunday. Best to call ahead to make sure that it will be open. Because SCWDC built and ran a private ski slope called the "Drift" near Davis in the 1950's, we are closely connected to the museum. You can view a video about SCWDC's "Driftland" Ski Slope at the museum web site: Driftland Video at www.snowsportsmuseumwv.org) ALSO, see below for another source. SCWDC is respected and remembered for development of skiing in West Virginia. And "The Drift" was the first ski slope built south of the Mason-Dixon line. For more information, look up this web page in the SnowSports Museum web site Writeup of SCWDDC's creation of the first ski slope south of the Mason-Dixon line You can also navigate to the menu item, "Timeline of West Virginia Snow Sports Areas."
Below are articles about the establishment and changes to the Ski Club of Washington DC.
We also publish an 50th Anniversary Yearbook, "SCWDC 1936-1986" which describes our founding and several stages of growth. The last year of our detailed history is 1985-86.