Mammoth Lakes was originally established as a gold mining town, but gained prominence for another kind of treasure, its incredible skiing terrain and the staggering beauty of the Eastern Sierra.
By the early twentieth century, Mammoth experienced a renaissance as a haven for fishing, camping, hiking, mountaineering and horseback riding. But it was die hard skiers with their portable rope tows that contributed most significantly to Mammoth's growth. Powered by Ford Model "A" truck motors, these rope tows allowed skiers to experience the rush of alpine skiing. Skiers could pull off Highway 395 and be propelled up McGee Mountain, Deadman Summit and Conway Summit.
In 1953, Dave McCoy, one of these dedicated rope tow operators and a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, obtained the rights from the Forest Service to build a permanent rope tow on Mammoth Mountain. Armed with his knowledge of snowpack and snowfall patterns, McCoy pledged to develop the mountain. Two years later, he installed the mountain's first chairlift. On Thanksgiving Day in 1955, Chair 1 opened with hundreds of eager skiers crowding in lift lines two to three hours long. The future of Mammoth was secure.
Mammoth evolved from these humble beginnings into a world-class mountain resort. Long lift lines are a thing of the past. 27 lifts, including the new 15-passenger Village Gondola, "six pack" Eagle Express, high speed quads and the Panorama Gondola, whisk visitors to their destinations. Summer brings mountain biking on Mammoth's extensive network of trails, including the world famous Kamikaze Downhill.