1983 started with a bang. The first day of the year was the completion date of the migration of the ARPNAET to TCP/IP – the beginning of the true Internet. Thirteen days into the year, The Pocahontas Times reported the announcement of a new ski resort – Silver Creek – which was planned to be in operation the following winter.
John Kruse, president of American Resorts Services, of Columbia, South Carolina, was the project developer, who said the resort was set to give some competition to Snowshoe Mountain Resort, which opened a decade earlier.
The initial lodge that was to open the same year was just the beginning. The nine-story building was to have wings built on to it and along with the ski slopes and lifts, the resort was to boast an indoor-outdoor pool, indoor ice skating rink, 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, horse stables, riding and hiking trails, playgrounds and game rooms.
Construction began in September and in just 90 days, the lodge was built and ready for dedication.
On December 19, 1983, the resort was dedicated, with Kruse presiding over the grand opening and then-Governor Jay Rockefeller in attendance.
As reported in The Pocahontas Times on December 22, 1983, “Governor Rockefeller welcomed the new resort to the growing West Virginia ski industry, saying we have over 300,000 skiers compared to a few thousand only a few years back. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the state, a $1.8 billion business. He pledged help in training programs and all the support he could give to this promising half-billion dollar investment in excellence.”
The resort opened that day with the core main building, ten slopes and three lifts in operation.
Again, the plan was to expand, but over the years, plans changed.
The resort changed hands several times. It was initially operated by Quality Hotels and Resorts, but in 1993, Tokyo Tower Development Company purchased the resort. At the time, the Japanese company was also operating Snowshoe.
Silver Creek still operated as a separate entity until 1999. Snowshoe and Silver Creek were both bought by Intrawest in 1995 and operations were combined four years later.
During the resort’s 30th anniversary, several members of the Homeowners Association shared the history of the resort as well as their personal histories there.
“The investors bought this property to compete with Snowshoe,” resort resident David Dragan said. “They planned a whole entity – a village with shops, a golf course, tennis courts. There were supposed to be additional wings built. Quite frankly, this was long before Intrawest brought the ‘village’ concept here. Local developers had that vision of creating a village here at Silver Creek. Then they lost all their funding.”
While the building never received its wings, the resort did get some additions, including more slopes and ski lifts, tubing hill and terrain park.
“Intrawest put in the tubing hill,” Dragan said. “The Ballhooter upgrade [at Snowshoe] is what resulted in Cub Run being built here and the quad that’s here now is the old Ballhooter lift.”
Along with the Coca Cola Tubing Hill with five lanes for tubing, the resort boasts 18 trails, six ski lifts, Kid’s World and three mountaineer parks.
Silver Creek is also home to the only night skiing on the mountain, with 12 trails open for starlit ventures.
In the lodge, visitors can enjoy meals at The Bear’s Den during ski season and The Locker Room Sports Bar year round. There is also retail shopping on the ground floor of the lodge.
Adjacent to the lodge is the Adaptive Sports Program, which was founded by Dave Begg in 1983. The program, now directed by Carol Woody after Begg’s passing in 2018, works with individuals with disabilities who wish to ski and mountain bike at the resort.
In 2017, Silver Creek and Snowshoe were purchased by Alterra Mountain Company and continue to operate together.
After 40 years of operation, the resort has seen a lot – and survived it all with the help of its people and its family-oriented appeal.
Dragan recently reflected on the longevity of the resort and said it remains a place for families to enjoy the winter season together.
“First off, there are some original owners who have been there since day one, and they still own the unit,” he said. “The other thing that comes to mind is it has a family atmosphere. I think that’s one of the things – generation after generation is there. It’s always been a great place for kids to learn to ski. And now, they’re bringing their kids.”
Dragan knows from experience. In the mid 80s, he brought his daughters to Silver Creek to learn to ski and now his grandchildren come to the same place for the same reason.
“At Silver Creek, you can turn your kids loose and no matter what chair they take back to the top of the mountain, they’re going to end up at the lodge,” he said. “It’s that family atmosphere.”
Even though some of the original plans for the resort were permanently scrapped, the Homeowners Association is always looking at ways to upgrade. The newest idea is to take a portion of the parking lot and build an outdoor ice skating rink.
Who knows what may happen in the next ten years. One thing is for sure, the resort will continue to be a family-friendly getaway for those who love the outdoors and adventure.
For more information on Silver Creek Resort and its programs, visit silvercreekwv.net