Mammoth Mountain straddles the southwest rim of Long Valley Caldera. A caldera is a large volcanic crater, especially on formed by a major eruption leading to the collapse of the mouth of the volcano. It was formed through a series of approximately 25 separate volcanic eruptions between 100,000 and 51,000 years ago. While active, a series of effusive eruptions from vents in the west moat of Long Valley Caldera fed fluid, basaltic lava flows that covered the west moat. These lavas flowed around the caldera's resurgent dome into the north and south moat.
50,000 years later, there is legend that a few German miners found a slab of gold in 1857, and fifteen years later whispers of the discovery became known as the Lost Cement Mine.
General George Dodge bought a group of mining claims seeking the Lost Cement Mine and formed the Mammoth Mining Company. A town sprout seemingly overnight in 1877, crowned "Mammoth City," and 2 years later it hosted hotels, saloons, and a few town newspapers.
The town struggled, however, and it took nearly half a century for the town to be reborn thanks in large part to the automobile, but during the winter months remained an area of tough survival with most supplies and mail were transported by dogsled.
Along came Dave McCoy, who after selling his Harley motorcycle for $85 established a permanent tow rope on McGee Mountain. Drawn to Mammoth Mountain for the more consistent and pristine snowfall, in 1945 he obtained rights from the U.S. Forest Service to install the first "lift" on Mammoth Mountain. A tow rope. Within a decade Dave opened the first main lodge colloquially known as "The Pit," and the first actual chairlift was revealed with skiers waiting hours for the chance to ski Mammoth Mountain.
Mammoth Mountain is one of the great ski experiences in Western North America. And their state of the art gondolas and high-speed chairs rival any major mountain especially when you consider the terrain access from so many vantage points. A mountain that has consistently optimized the skier experience there have been multiple iterations and upgrades to the chairlifts since the first tow-rope secured by Mr. Dave McCoy that forever altered the alpine experience.
Ski Lift Designs was fortunate to come across one of the earliest iterations of the Gondola. In operation from 1968-1998, this classic Gondola is a rare and unique piece of history. For a link to purchase click here.