I am an avid reader and love to read about the history of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. The best book I’ve ever read about Mammoth Mountain and Dave McCoy, the founder of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is “Tracks of Passion” by Robin Morning.
Tracks of Passion is a photo essay which chronicles the life of Dave McCoy after high school. How he used to ride his motorcycle, James Dean-style down Hwy 395 to the ski spots with his ski equipment lashed to his motorcycle. It was when he was riding up from Independence to the Mammoth area that he spotted who would later be his wife, Roma.
At one point, Dave bought the rope tows from the Eastern Sierra Ski Club and began placing them at McGee Mountain on the weekends where he would run the rope tow and let everyone ski for free. There’s a funny story about when the McCoy’s decided they had to start charging people to use the rope tow so they could feed their growing family that I will not spoil here.
I don’t want to ruin the stories for you, but this shows how when you put your intentions out there to the world, others will join you in your quest. There are many rare, classic photos of the Mammoth Mountain Ski area before it was developed, and as it was being developed. Tracks of Passion is an easy read because the stories and photos are so compelling, you just don’t want to put this book down. Even non-readers will love what they can learn by just glancing through this book filled with archival photos.
Tracks of Passion chronicles the stories of how Dave McCoy was chosen to develop Mammoth Mountain ski area after no one signed up to be considered. It tells the stories of how fervent Dave McCoy was about excellence, and how he personally trained the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team to be the largest part of the American Olympic ski team for years. It tells of Dave’s personal skiing competitions, the race and injury that almost caused his leg to be amputated, and how he saved his leg from amputation.
Tracks for Passion tells the stories of the difficulties they had building the lifts at Mammoth Mountain because they need the lifts to do things that lifts at resorts that get less snow do not have to do. It tells how they had to develop new equipment, and how those developments became improvements in the ski industry around the world.
Tracks of Passion covers the trajic fall in the Olympic trials of Jill Kinmont-Boote who was trained by Dave McCoy, her paralysis, and how Dave McCoy honored her when he installed the first chair at Mammoth Mountain, chair 1. Jill Kinmont-Boothe is the skier that the book and movie, “The Other Side of the Mountain” was written about. Jill Kinmont-Boothe is an amazing woman who has not let her ski accident hold her back. She is involved in many charitable causes, started a school for troubled youth, and is an amazingly accomplished watercolor painter. If you do not yet own a water color painting of Mammoth or the Sierra by Jill Kinmont-Boothe, you are missing out on true Mammoth Mountain history. Members of Mammoth Ski Club will be offered limited editions of Jill Kinmont-Boothe water colors after the members have chosen their favorite Mammoth Mountain photos for her to paint for our members exclusively.
When you read how Dave McCoy acquired the very first chair lift to fulfill his promise to the Forest Service, you’ll be amazed at his luck and fortuitous timing. Tracks of Passion has story after story that will amaze you and warm your heart. It even details current Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory’s strong contribution to building both the gondola and chair 23.
Robin Morning was a top skier on the Mammoth Mountain ski team that made it all the way to the Olympic Ski Team so she really knows the inside scoop when it come to Mammoth Mountain. Occaisonally, you can find signed editions with both Dave McCoy’s and Robin Morning’s signatures on the US Olympic team website.
I am planning to try to hold a book signing or make available signed editions to Mammoth Ski Club members. If you love Mammoth Mountain the way I do, then you need to get a copy of, “Tracks of Passion” by Robin Morning. It will deepen your understanding and enjoyment of our favorite ski area, Mammoth Mountain.