Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know for your next adventure

What is ASCI?

The Adventure Sports Center International – "ASCI" – was incorporated in Maryland as a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation in 1998, and currently oversees the commercial operation of the whitewater course and management of the Fork Run Recreation Area . The organization is run by the three person elected Board of Garrett County Commissioners and is managed by Operations Director, Joe Schroyer. ASCI has guided over 100,000 people down its mountaintop river, and continues to grow and innovate programs that bring families, beginners, enthusiasts and professionals together in celebration of adventure.

Where is ASCI?

The Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) sits on top of Wisp Mountain in McHenry, MD, about 3 hours from the Washington, DC area, 2 hours from Pittsburgh and within a 5 hour drive for over 26 million people. From I-68, ASCI is about 16 miles (same distance as Deep Creek Lake).

Driving Directions:

From MD 219 in McHenry, MD (traveling north, turn left on Sang Run Road; traveling south, turn right on Sang Run Road). Go ¼ mile and turn left onto Marsh Hill Road. Take Marsh Hill approximately 1 mile, turn right on Overlook Pass. At the top of the hill, turn right, ASCI will be about ¾ of mile on the left.

What is ASCI’s Mission?

ASCI’s Mission is to establish an International Adventure Sports Center that is recognized as a focal point in the emerging and expanding adventure sports industry worldwide. The Center will work to promote, educate and facilitate participation in a wide range of adventure-based recreational activities and competitions, thereby creating a unique destination that serves to support local economic development and is a model for communities wishing to capitalize on their intrinsic natural resource base while protecting its integrity.

What is a Whitewater Course?

Built to host Olympic caliber races and adjustable to comfortable accommodate beginners and families, the ASCI “whitewater course” is made of concrete and natural rock and is just over 1700 feet long. It drops 24 feet from the top to the bottom. Water pumped from the lower pond and shoots into the start pool at a speed of 5 feet per second. At six locations on the course are variable wave shapers that can adjust waves and hydraulics for different experiences – ranging from Olympic caliber whitewater to a flow that is comfortable for small children and beginners. Natural rocks dug up during excavation make up the river’s edge and main features on the course. This integration of large natural features and high technology and concrete is unique among the pump whitewater courses around the world.

What is a guided raft trip?

Guided rafting trips can include 4 to 6 runs down the course, amounting to a mile of continuous rapids. Rafters ride a conveyor from the finish pond back up to the start pool, and don’t have to leave their boat to start again. The trip begins with outfitting and a pre-trip orientation talk. Rafters can paddle up to 90 minutes on the course during their 2 hour session, depending on comfort level, group preferences, etc.

Can I paddle my own boat on the course?

Absolutely! Canoeists and kayakers can purchase a day or season pass to access the whitewater course. All paddlers must check-in and wear a ‘bib’ each time they paddle the course – even season pass holders.

Can beginners paddle the course?

For kayaking, a good roll is encouraged in order to feel comfortable on the upper sections of the whitewater course. However, the pond provides an exciting and safe beginner level exposure to whitewater, and the moving water from the course creates a 'lazy river' current where you can feel the thrill of paddling for the first time. The actual whitewater course can is designed to eliminate some of the natural hazards of rivers (such as strainers, foot entrapment, pin rocks, etc...). In general, whitewater beginners are encouraged to take an ASCI kayak or canoe clinic, develop a kayak roll, and/or experience the course first in either a raft or a duckie (an inflatable kayak).

What is a Duckie and why should I try it?

Duckies are inflatable kayaks (IK), and can be enjoyed by most anyone regardless of skill or experience level. No roll or previous experience is required, but your first ducky trip must be with instruction. After that, you ducky on your own at a considerable discount.

What can I climb at ASCI?

ASCI’s 35-50 foot tall rock climbing cliffs at Fork Run are real sandstone rocks with wild and interesting holds. There are climbs appropriate for beginners and world-class experts. The Bouldering cave and the 360 problem area present a suite of V1-V8 challenges (beginner to Spiderman). These venues are only 10 minutes from ASCI’s mountaintop campus, and represent the most accessible climbing in Western Maryland. Fork Run is a public recreation area protected by a conservation easement and managed by ASCI, and provides an excellent area for beginners to learn to climb and to improve their technical skills.

What about inclement weather?

ASCI leads trips regardless of the weather with the exception of weather conditions deemed dangerous by ASCI staff. Dangerous conditions include but are not limited to electrical storms, high winds, extremely cold temperatures and other severe weather conditions. Should severe weather conditions occur within the first hour of your trip, the trip may be delayed or rescheduled. Severe conditions occurring after the first hour will result in a delay and we will attempt to complete the full duration of your trip. If the severe weather occurs during the last 30 minutes of your scheduled trip, it will be considered a full trip. Sorry, refunds or rain checks are not offered for weather related events.

What time should I arrive for a rafting trip?

We ask all clients to arrive 30 minutes prior to trip start time – this is to ensure enough time to prepare for the trip. Any clients arriving late run the risk of being put on stand-by for the next available trip or missing their trip and losing deposit (see cancellations above).

What should I wear while rafting or climbing?

Rafting – be prepared to get wet (where a bathing suit and/or synthetic layers), and if it is windy you will need to wear a splash jacket or some kind of shell to stay warm. Comfort wear is available to rent for $12 – this includes neoprene booties, a wetsuit, and a splash jacket. All rafters must wear shoes – no crocs, open-toed sandals or flip flops.

Climbing – bring layers and a wind shell to stay warm (if weather is cool). Climbing requires that you wear a harness, and it works best with long pants. Climbing shoes are provided.