Dave McCoy, one of the remaining legends from the early history of downhill skiing, and one of the biggest names in ski resort development through much of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 104.
Born in 1915, McCoy’s legend include the fact that he made his first skis himself whilst still at school, and then became Californian state skiing champion aged 22. He set up his first rudimentary ski area in 1938, before hitting on the more snowsure location for Mammoth Mountain in 1942.
Mammoth started with a simple home-made roadside rope tow, powered by an old truck engine, but over the next 63 years, McCoy and his wife Roma, whom he’d met in the late 1930s, grew one of the world’s great ski areas which today is one of the biggest and for many the best in North America, and boasts the world’s longest ski season many years, for a resort without a glacier, sometimes staying open for more than 260 days from November to August.
Whilst most of the bigger North American ski resorts were sold off to corporations in the latter half of the 20thcentury, Dave and Roma kept control of their baby and were instrumental in the development of Mammoth in to one of the world’s great resorts over more than six decades, with the town of Mammoth Lakes growing up alongside the resort. Dave finally retired, aged 90, in 2005 and the family then sold the resort to Starwood for $365 million.
In his later years Dave remained active, often out n the natural environment around his home taking photographs of the landscape, plants and wildlife that he loved.