Savage River State Forest Ski Resort

New Germany State Park, Maryland

Skiing as a winter recreation came to Maryland in 1940, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has published an extensive story describing the early history of skiing in the state, written by Francis “Champ” Zumbrun. The New Germany State Park and Savage River State Forest Ski Resort operated from 1940-1960 in western Maryland. It included a beginner’s slalom ski course, an expert’s alpine downhill ski trail, and an endurance-based cross-country ski course. The expert slope had a vertical of 800 feet and was 3,300 feet long.

The ski area opened on the first weekend of January 1940, and in 1941, the first ski race event held south of the Mason and Dixon line took place.

A rope tow was added to the beginner slope, and a car shuttle service was offered at the expert slope.

Ultimately, the ski area had about a 20-year run before falling victim to a number of factors. The slalom ski course was sliced in half by construction of the New Germany Road sometime between the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The nearest hotels were also 30 miles away. And strong competition arrived with the development of Wisp at Deep Creek Lake and ski areas in the Canaan Valley region.

Be sure to read Francis Zumbrun’s story as it includes a detailed history of Maryland’s first ski area, including lots of excellent photos.

Reader Comments

April 28, 2008
Drive through the parks on saturday, unfortuantely, there is very little to indicate that there was ever a ski area or race course. There are two farms next to New Germany Rd, bisected by Otto rd, but whether or not either of these were part of the old Otto farm ski area site is unable to be determined.

There is still a notation on the terraserver topo maps indicating that the race course was on the northward facing slope of Big Run. Driving along Big Run, you can see some possible locations, based on younger trees, but nothing substantial. The road to the summit now has a shooting range in the middle of it, so I was unable to explore the top of the mountain. If the map is correct, then the bottom of the course was extremely steep and had no runout unless the stream was covered over.
June 18, 2011
Check out the pictures of skiing at New Germany State Park

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