When Dave McCoy celebrated his 100th birthday
in August, he only had to look at the many photos of Mammoth Mountain lining the office walls at his Californian home to remind him of everything he has achieved during his full and eventful lifetime.
The photos bear witness to the remarkable story of a living legend without whose drive and determination Mammoth, as it is today, might not exist.
Dave’s achievements include opening Mammoth to skiing in 1941 before getting a permit for a permanent ski location there in 1948, allowing him to bring Alpine skiing to southern Californians.
In later years, he launched his Mammoth Lakes Foundation, helping the town grow around the resort.
Luckily for the millions of people who have enjoyed skiing and snowboarding there over the last 60+ years, he ignored the advice of locals who warned him the location was ‘too high, too windy, and too steep’.
Dave first saw Mammoth’s potential aged 21, while working as hydrographer. In 1935, he and some friends built his first rope tow out of an old truck frame and engine to haul skiers uphill; later, he even sold his beloved Harley-Davidson to raise funds for equipment.
Today, Mammoth Mountain is a sprawling resort that draws 1.3 million skiers and snowboarders annually, with outdoor adventurers and mountain bikers doubling that figure in summer.
Over the years, Dave declined many offers to work on other resorts for big money. “I was working to make things good at Mammoth Mountain,” he told his local paper, The Press
“I always looked at how tomorrow would be better. I never worried about money.”
Dave last put on his Salomon skis 10 years ago, but his unbridled enthusiasm for new projects continues. This year, after eight years of research, he licensed his latest venture, a new vehicle that runs on solar power.
There’s no doubt that Dave’s adventurous spirit combined with his vision has had spectacular results, but for him it’s fun, not business, that lies at the heart of his achievements – and his long life.
“Everyone has a different life, but longevity happens because you do something fun,” Dave said.
“I just wish I had a hundred more years. There are a hundred more things I want to do.”
Happy birthday Dave!