Beth Naylor has researched the history of ski areas in Garrett County, Maryland, and has put together a wonderful web page documenting the history. Her father, Howard Naylor, played a large role in starting ski areas in Garrett County, including Marsh Hill, which later became Marsh Mountain and, eventually, today’s Wisp Resort.
According to Beth’s research, some of the first skiing in Garrett County occurred in 1926, when her father Howard was 8. She describes how Howard would climb and ski down a hill named Crook’s Crest.
In the 1940’s, and after serving in the Navy during World War II, Howard installed a portable rope tow on Sweeney’s Hill, which had a vertical drop of 50 feet. According to Beth, “Howard could take [the] portable rope tow to any hill that had a patch of snow” and was “in business.”
The first commercial ski slope in Garrett County was the Deep Creek Ski Trail on Hoop Hole Ridge, according to Beth’s research. Two other ski slopes were in operation at the time as side attractions for restaurants. Howard installed a 1,000-foot long rope tow on Hoop Hole Ridge in 1947. This provided skiing on the Deep Creek Ski Trail, and was also lit for night skiing.
According to Beth, the Garrett County/Deep Creek Lake Promotion Council began the process of building a ski hill on Marsh Mountain around 1950. This area later became Wisp Resort, which continues to operate to this day.
Beth has amassed a wealth of useful information on the history of these ski areas, including vintage photos, so be sure to visit her web site.