Weekend Window: Mammoth, Calif.

A winter wonderland just hours from Southern California beaches.

ByABC News via GMA logo
January 9, 2009, 3:03 PM

Jan. 11, 2009— -- Less than six hours from Los Angeles in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mammoth, Calif., is a winter sports lover's paradise.

"Most people don't realize that California even has mountains or snow," said Rusty Gregory, chairman and CEO of Mammoth Resort. "And Mammoth, as the name implies, we get big weather here. We have big sunny days and tremendous skiing."

"Living here for a professional skier is basically the crème of the crop," said Chris Benchetler, professional skier and lifelong Mammoth resident. "There's really no place that compares. The weather is unbeatable. You are either going to get a lot of fresh powder or have a lot of really nice sun."

"The other wonderful winter sport here is cross-country skiing," said Pam Murphy, senior vice president of Mammoth Resort. "It's a beautiful opportunity to get out into the forest here at Mammoth. You can just go places where there is no one but you and it's so quiet and peaceful."

"Mammoth is a very small town. Seven thousand people on the weekends and holidays," said Gregory. "We get thirty-five thousand visitors that come up here and share this beautiful environment with us."

Located just 35 minutes from Yosemite National Park, Mammoth actually gets more visitors in the summer than in the winter. "There is some of the best fly-fishing literally in the world in Mammoth, " said Gregory. "People fly from all over the world to catch golden trout on the high Sierra."

For the first time in years, visitors can fly to Mammoth, Calif., from Los Angeles. What used to be a woolly five-hour-plus drive through wintry mountain passes from Los Angeles is now a daily, nonstop, hourlong flight out of LAX. Visit www.horizonair.com.

Mammoth fare is much more than burgers and fries now. The Yodler by the Main Lodge has been revamped into a wonderful new establishment from famed Chef Joachim Splichal and his Patina Restaurant Group, bringing high cuisine to the High Sierras. Click here for more on dining in Mammoth.