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Area History


Over the millennia, natural forces have raised and sculpted the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. During the ice age massive glaciers moved slowly downward, shaping granite peaks and carving out canyon valleys and lake basins. Volcanic forces were at work here as well. Today visitors to the Sierra Nevada's reap the benefits of these natural processes. Mammoth Mountain came into being about 200,000 years ago as the result of several volcanic eruptions, the most recent of which occurred 50,000 years ago.

The first inhabitants of the area were the Paiute and Shoshone Native Americans. In the 1800s, the gold rush brought a lot of excitement and mining activity. With that, the area experienced a huge population and economic boom. By 1879, there were two newspapers, several hotels, and saloons. But by 1888, only a few prospectors remained and mining slowly died out, due to a combination of fire, embezzlement, and severe winters.

The region was founded by Dave McCoy, a hydrographer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. As a member of the Eastern Sierra Ski Club, looking for winter skiing adventures, he helped build the club's first portable rope tow. In 1953, the U.S. Forest Service awarded a permit to McCoy to run the ski area. The first ski lift was built in 1955. Intrawest Corporation now owns the resort, one of the fastest growing year-round travel destinations in the world.

In August 1984, the Town of Mammoth Lakes was incorporated. Today, the Town of Mammoth Lakes is home to over 7,000 year-round residents, increases to nearly 35,000 on a busy weekend.

Some neighboring points of interest are Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Devils Postpile National Monument, Rainbow Falls and Reds Meadow Resort.


History of Mammoth Video