#114: Skiing Scans from the 1930s’ and Beyond…


Here are more of our scanned slides from the 1930s’ and 1940s’. Since Mammoth just opened and skiing is on everybody’s mind, lets go with the winter theme. Read along…


Above is a drawing made of the warming hut at McGee Mountain. It was drawn sometime in the 1940s’ to show what it would look like when done, and it ended up looking exactly the same. We lived, and ran the rope tow, from there until our son Gary had to go to school in Bishop in the mid-1950s’. At that point, we moved down to Bishop and commuted.

Below is a shot of me looking down at the Snake Pit, which is where Main Lodge is now. On the left is Rope Tow 1, which sat where Chair One is now. Inside the Snake Pit was a lunch stand, a wood-burning stove and storage for rope grippers, which most people used while riding the rope tow. We rented them for 50 cents a day. Some people didn’t need them-some people even made their own. A lot of people came up from Southern California every weekend. Highway 395 was only two lanes back then, and the road to the mountain was not paved.


Below is a shot from our rope tow at Crestview sometime in the 1930s. Crestview is near Deadman Summit, on Highway 395, just north of Mammoth.

That’s 395 in the background. See how narrow it was?

In the picture, I’m talking to Corty Hill and Frankie Stevens. Corty started some of the ski clubs around the Eastern Sierra, and he really helped launch skiing in this area. He was also an excellent skier, and helped us all improve. Frankie was one of the local boys that grew up skiing with us.

Roma is in the background, between Corty and me.

We put the rope tow there early in the season because it was the only place with snow you could get to at that time of year. After we put that one in, other rope tows started popping up all over Inyo and Mono counties. There were more than 50 at one point.


Below is a shot of me skiing Cornice Bowl. I used to climb and ski Cornice six or seven times a day.

Here is a shot of the Main Lodge area. This was probably taken in about 1955. The snake pit is the small building on the left, and that was right when we built the larger building. We called it the Warming Hut, but it became Main Lodge. The was also right when we built Chair 1. The big line is not for the chairlift. The big line was for the rope tow. The rope tow loaded a lot more people than the chairlift, so the line moved a lot faster. 
Here is an aerial shot of Mammoth Mountain. If you look closely, you’ll see that Chair 1 is the only lift on the mountain. This was 1955 or 1956. Chair 2 was built two years after Chair 1, and Chair 3 came a year later.

Look at the cars down by the Warming Hut.

Also, none of the runs are cut out, and there are trees all over Broadway. We pulled those trees out to give skiers more space. We skied a lot in the trees too. 

Here is another from a rope tow at Crestview and Deadman. This shack was run by Scotty, who ran the Crestview Lodge. The lodge had cabins and food service that was right on 395, but about a mile south of this rope tow. We’ve got some shots of that somewhere, and we’ll put them up when we find them.
This was a rope tow on Rattlesnake hill, just south of where the community of Crowley is now. Crowley Lake is just on the other side of that hill. This is probably before Crowley was dammed, though. The dam was finished in 1941. That’s when we moved to Crowley.


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CarloDecember 11, 2015 - 5:32 pm

Thkining like that shows an expert’s touch

tim walkerDecember 10, 2011 - 4:38 pm

Really enjoy all your photos dave brings back memorys thanks. Tim

Robin StaterDecember 1, 2011 - 8:22 pm

Isn’t that photo with “Rattlesnake Hill” is noted where Aspen Springs Ranch is now? The house below “Happy” Jack Partridges?

KevinNovember 19, 2010 - 8:58 am

I sure love the old ski photos. I know exactly where that photo is at rattlesnake hill. There’s a lot more trees there now. McGee mountain still has the motor at the top the old rope tow. Nice mammoth pics too. Thanks Dave

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