Updated: Jun 10, 2019
From Driftland to Cabin Mountain Ski Area
The Ski Club of Washington DC (SCWDC) founded snow sports in West Virginia with Driftland in 1951 near present day Canaan Valley Resort. The SCWDC leased what was known as the Heitz Farm for a twelve-year period. The area expanded circa 1953 with a ten-year lease on the Mauzy Family property. By 1954, Driftland had evolved into Cabin Mountain Ski Area. Cabin Mountain Ski Area became the first (private) ski facility south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Customer services and conveniences were quickly added. The first ski tow was installed in the 1951/52 season. Lift prices were $1 for members and $1.50 for nonmembers. Other services followed such as the first ski school forming in the 1952/53 season. Ski patrol was established in 1954 and became affiliated with National Ski Patrol in 1956. The first Winter Carnival was held in 1955 with the debut of the film, Driftland.
By 1955, Canaan Valley was hosting a considerable amount of winter visitors. Bob Barton announced the opening of Weiss Knob Ski Area which was above and adjacent to Cabin Mountain. Weiss Knob officially opened during the 1956/57 season as first commericial ski facility south of the Mason-Dixon Line. (See the story about Weiss Knob for more information.)
Meanwhile, Cabin Mountain installed a third tow in 1957. By 1958/59, Cabin Mountain had a professional ski school and rental shop. Lift ticket prices had increased slightly to $1.50 for members and $2.75 for nonmembers. Snowsports in West Virginia was officially recognized by the state with Governor Underwood proclaiming Ski Week in West Virginia, January 28 – February 3, 1957.
In 1959, the state of West Virginia began purchasing property in the area for a future state park. As 1961 rolled around, the SCWDC discussed closing Cabin Mountain with the ski area closing in 1962/63. However, the mountain re-opened in 1971 as Canaan Valley Resort, part of the state-owned Canaan Valley Resort State Park.
Stories & Photos?
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