Dave McCoy knew he could turn California’s Mammoth Mountain into a ski resort and he did. The ski pioneer has died peacefully at his home.


He was told it couldn’t be done.

But 67 years ago, Mammoth Mountain ski resort was born, and it was down to Dave McCoy’s vision.

He was working as a hydrographer in Los Angeles at the time.

Part of his job was to measure the snowpack to predict the following year’s water supply.

A member of the Eastern Sierra Ski Club who had been California State Ski Champion at the age of 22, he noticed that Mammoth consistently had more snow than other mountains.

“Nobody else even wanted to think about it because there was no road to it,” he said an interview when he was 98.

“There was too much snow, the winters were too long.  In those days, if you wanted to go and enjoy something you had to hike for it.”

Dave McCoy set up a basic rope tow at Mammoth in 1942.

The US Forest Service then invited tenders to operate a ski area on the mountain.

No-one bid, including Dave McCoy, who had no money.

In 1953, the Forest Service gave him the permit anyway, on condition he develop a ski resort.

He borrowed $135,000 to build the first lift.

In an interview with the Orange County Register to mark his 100th birthday, Dave McCoy said he was a “fun-loving man, not a businessman.”

He put his long life down to having fun.

“Longevity happens because you do something fun,” he said.

Mammoth today is a world-class resort.

It is now part of the Alterra Mountain Company stable of resorts.

It has one of the longest seasons in the world, usually opening in November and regularly staying open until the 4th July Independence Day celebrations or even later.

PlanetSKI started its season of 2017 in Mammoth Mountain.

Find out more about the Dave McCoy story in this film from Mammoth Mountain.

Dave McCoy ran Mammoth Mountain until he retired in 2005.

He sold the resort for $365 million.

He continued to ski until 2008.

He died at home in Bishop, California on Saturday 8th February.