If Dave McCoy has his way, it may not be too long before skiers at Mammoth Mountain are able to ski from his popular Sierra Nevada resort across the San Joaquin Ridge to June Mountain, its neighbor to the north.
Such a development may be possible because McCoy, the entrepreneur who built the Mammoth ski area from scratch, is buying the June Mountain Ski Area, owned by Bud Hayward of Tustin, who has been developing ski facilities at June Mountain since 1960 under a lease from the U.S. Forest Service.
McCoy, who owns the private Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, has formally agreed to buy the ski facilities at June Mountain from Hayward for an undisclosed amount of cash. Six ski lifts and two chalets are included in the deal.
McCoy has applied to the U.S. Forest Service for the transfer of the June Mountain lease to his company. He plans to add two lifts at June Mountain and expects to have them in operation by this winter. June Mountain currently has facilities for about 3,000 skiers a day. John Ruopp, recreation staff officer at the Inyo National Forest, says McCoy hopes to eventually increase that to 7,000.
June Lake Village, 20 miles north of Mammoth along U.S. Highway 395, is a popular Sierra fishing spot and water ski area in summer, but its winter ski business has been uneven.
Ed Ransford, owner of Greenleaf Springs and Reverse Creek Lodge at June Lake and president of the June Lake Chamber of Commerce, said merchants there are happy about McCoy's plan to buy the June Mountain ski area. "Everybody has been looking forward to this," he said. "Now we can make some money during the week in the winter instead of just on the weekends."
McCoy's master plan for Mammoth has long included the eventual development of the San Joaquin Ridge to connect the Mammoth and June Mountain ski areas. The ridge area now can be reached only by helicopter.
McCoy, 70, had long been rumored to be interested in acquiring the June Mountain ski facilities. Last year he made an offer, according to Pam Murphy, a spokeswoman for McCoy, but Hayward was not interested in selling. "This year," she said, "Bud expressed an interest to sell."
In a telephone interview Tuesday, the 63-year-old Hayward said: "Dave and I have been friends for a long time. It seemed liked an appropriate time to make a change, specifically because June Lake is just on the threshold of what I think is explosive expansion. . . . I felt it would take a commitment of eight to 10 years of tender loving care." He added that he decided to devote his time to other interests.
At Mammoth, McCoy operates one of the nation's largest privately held ski resorts. He discovered the area as a young skier in the winter of 1935-36 and was the only applicant when the Forest Service offered a lease on it in 1953. Now he operates 32 lifts, three lodges and a complex that includes a motel, condos and two restaurants. About 1.45 million skiers visited the area during the 1985-86 season.