In 1942 Dave McCoy set up the original rope tow on Mammoth Mountain, CA. That was 73 years ago and today, the skiing legend turns 100 years old.
McCoy, who grew up in El Segundo, California moved to the Mammoth Lakes area and began skiing while working as a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It was during this time that McCoy gained an intimate knowledge of the Eastern Sierra.
A typical day of work for McCoy included 50 miles of skiing.
An enterprising young man, he decided to place a rope tow at the base of Mammoth Mountain in 1942 and although he wanted to develop a ski area, he had neither the funds nor credit to undertake such an endeavor. However, that did not stop Dave McCoy.
While the permit existed to operate the ski area , he could not afford to purchase the permit and instead waited for the Forest Service to grant him an allowance on the condition that he would develop the ski area. After winning the permit, McCoy once again headed to the bank to request a loan to construct an accessible chairlift. He was turned down.
Once again, that did not stop McCoy. He returned to Mammoth, purchased a used chair lift and employed the hands of willing workmen to install the new lift without the help of professional contractors. subsequently, they dug the holes, mixed concrete, and placed the chairlift terminals all by 1955.
In 1973, McCoy had grown the ski area to include 14 double chairs and a second lodge. Now the ski area has 28 lifts, including 3 high speed gondolas.
By 2005, the founder of Mammoth Ski Area founder retired and now takes photographs to raise money for the Mammoth Lakes Foundation.
“The family and the community were always a big part of our success, as they helped play in the big sandbox as well,” McCoy said. “It shows that no man does anything alone.”
Fun Facts About Mammoth Mountain
- Original bank loan was $135,000
- Now valued at $365,000,000
- Receives 400 inches of snow annually
- Retains the highest elevation of any ski area in California at 11,053 ft.