Remembering Dave McCoy, the Man Behind Mammoth Mountain

The skier and resort visionary died at age 104.

Dave McCoy, a former competitive skier who would go on to transform a Sierra peak into Mammoth Mountain, died at his home in Bishop.

A native of El Segundo, McCoy first became intrigued with the mountain in the late 1930s, around the time he worked as a snow surveyor for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. At a fee of 50 cents, he helped skiers ascend the mountain via a rope tow starting in the November snow season. During the ski boom that followed World War II, he helped to create the largest ski lift in California, ushering in a new era for Mammoth Mountain.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “In the adjacent community of Mammoth Lakes, McCoy and his staff launched a water district, volunteer fire department, regional hospital, high school, skiing museum and college.

“Untold numbers of people received employment, financial help, even property from McCoy over the years. But much of what the reserved ski operator did for others went unpublicized.

“’If he liked someone and felt they had a positive contribution to make, he’d help them out,’ said Benett Kessler, the late owner of Bishop’s Sierra Wave radio and television station, who often went to McCoy for advice and moral support over the years.”

You can read more about McCoy and his passion project here.

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