Class of 2020
Innovator and Leader in West Virginia Snow Sports
Area Operations and/or Management or Development Competition
David Downs was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from the Greenbrier Military School in Lewisburg, West Virginia. He was a history major at American University in Washington DC. After college, he moved to Petersburg, West Virginia where he was a partner and real estate broker for Allegheny Properties, Inc. and developed and sold numerous properties in Grant, Hardy, and Pendleton counties.
In 1972, along with partners James Paul “Buck” Geary and R. Claiborne (Clay) Morris, purchased 1,700 acres, known as Jason Harman Farm in Canaan Valley. Later, the partners added additional 1,000 acres and 500 acres to the original farm.
In 1981, after selling several hundred lots, the northwest face of Cabin Mountain, part of the original purchase, was designed to
become Timberline Mountain Ski Area. Slopes were cleared, and a t-bar lift was built to the middle of the mountain. A ski lodge and snowmaking system were installed, and snow-cat skiing was available from the top of the White Lightening slope. In addition, the Northwoods condos were built next to the ski lodge.
Dr. Frederick Reichle and Rose Marie Herz bought the ski area in 1984 and reopened it as Timberline Four Seasons Resort.
Afterward, Downs developed Black Bear Woods on Cortland Road and Flat Ridge Farm on Back Hollow Road in Canaan Valley. He developed and restored properties in the Valley, including the oldest standing log home and barn in Canaan, known as the Cooper Homestead, in 2008.
Using his knowledge in real estate along with his love for history, David went on to save and restore four buildings in Thomas, West Virginia. The buildings are on the National Historic Register. These buildings include the Shilanski/Rubenstein building (1900), the Sportsman/Thayer building (1890), the American Legion (1945), and a 1916 Sears and Roebuck house.
Downs was named the “Business Person of the Year” in 1984 by the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce and “Community Champion” by West Virginia Living Magazine in 2021. He has served the community with his time on numerous boards and organizations in Tucker County. Including the Canaan Valley Zoning Board, New Historic Thomas, Cotrill’s Opera House, and now the Snow Sports Museum of West Virginia.